No matter what age the kids are, when they come home from school they’re almost always hungry. It’s a great idea to keep a bunch of healthy yet simple snacks available to them, especially during the school year when they need something to tide them over between coming home and dinnertime.
Snacks should be portioned specifically as snacks and not meals to keep your kids from eating too much and not wanting dinner. They should also be accessible enough for the kids to grab them to eat — think potato chip bag easy whenever possible. We want our kids to eat healthy, and making it convenient is a great way to encourage those habits.
10 Veggies And Dip
There’s nothing easier than slicing up some of your child’s favorite vegetables and storing them in a container alongside some delicious dip for serving, but you can make it much more fun by chopping veggies in different shapes and strips for little hands to play with as they eat. What’s more fun than bell pepper “hair” for a carrot creature snack?
You can get older kids more excited by making your own green goddess dressing or mixing in various spices with Greek yogurt or sour cream to create your own masterpiece. Even a simple homemade ranch dressing tastes much better than one from a bottle.
9 Berries And Cream
While berries are low on the sugar scale, they’re high in antioxidants and taste delicious, making them a fantastic snack. Blueberries are especially nutritious, but raspberries and strawberries are also a great snack that can easily be pre-portioned out into containers kids can grab and take with them. Whip up some heavy cream with stevia, monk fruit or honey, whichever works best for your lifestyle, and have it on the side for a more dessert-like feel.
To get more berries into your children’s diets during mealtime, try blending them in smoothies or tossing them in cereal or morning oatmeal.
8 Healthy Brownies
There are many recipes for better-for-you brownies using low-sugar ingredients, like almond flour, yogurt, coconut sugar and cocoa powder or dark chocolate. Experiment with different variations until you have one that your family likes best and make those every now and then for a special snack. They stand up well for travel snacks, too.
If you juice vegetables and fruits, use the pulp in your brownies for extra nutritional value. “Spiking” brownies with pumpkin, avocado, beets, sweet potatoes and even leafy greens can add veggies to your diet. Zucchini is an especially good addition since it adds moisture to the brownies without sacrificing flavor.
7 Nut Butter And Dark Chocolate
If the kids are hoping for a snack that’s a little more on the decadent, dessert-y side, adding a little bit of dark chocolate will work wonders. Store some nut butter with dark chocolate chips in a little two-section bento box for an adorable, nutritious and delicious snack.
Encourage older kids and teens to whip up a healthy shake with the same ingredients plus some yogurt and a banana. Kids will love to experiment with other ingredients, like cinnamon or strawberries. Some almond or coconut milk can also add good nutrition and flavor. Keep a cute diner-style fountain shoppe glass on hand if you want to really dress it up, which is great for days your kid would love to go out for a treat but you need to stay home.
6 Trail Mix
For students who are always on the run between piano, sports and student council, trail mix is a great snack because it’s so portable and simple. The trick is to ensure that it’s tasty and filled with healthy nutrition.
Nuts like almonds or seeds, such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds, pack a nice punch of protein, vitamins and minerals. If you add in dried fruit, do so sparingly since it can be high in sugar, but do include it for some flavor. Dark chocolate pieces are a great source to add for antioxidants. If you don’t have much on hand in terms of ingredients, some whole grain cereal or popcorn will work in a pinch.
5 Fruit And Veggie Chips
Kids will enjoy making their own chips out of everything from apple slices to kale. Getting kids involved in kitchen science is often a great way to get them to enjoy eating foods they normally don’t like, too.
Use a little melted coconut oil or avocado oil and a pinch of salt to mix with freshly-washed slices of fruit, kale leaves, eggplant slices or whatever else you want to try and spread out your snack on a cookie sheet to bake. You’ll have fresh DIY chips with a fraction of the calories and full flavor within half an hour. Look up some recipes together or experiment with different foods until you have a favorite.
4 Fancy Muffin Tins
Sometimes you have to dress up good food for kids to enjoy eating it, and one way that many parents like is to simply fill a muffin tin up with different snacks. Add in a few pretzels here, berries and veggies there and voila, you have a fun snacking tray that few kids can resist.
For older kids and teens, make it easy yet fancy with a charcuterie board with cheese, meat, pickled veggies and crackers. It’s fast and easy if you have the ingredients on hand and it will feel like a grown-up version of the muffin tin.
3 Cheesy Goodness
Speaking of cheese, what a wonderful snack a simple pack of string cheese can be. Increase your child’s protein and calcium intake with some, or be more adventurous and offer different flavors, both soft and hard, for them to try. Offer some sunflower seeds to roll the cheese in for an even more nutritious snack.
Older kids and teens can make themselves easy quesadillas with shredded cheese and whole grain tortillas, but supervise them as they learn how. Teach them how to grate cheese wedges for more flavor and less filler and help them experiment with spices, flavors and grilled veggies to include.
2 Pizza Bites
Skip the little bagels and cut up some quick and easy pizza bites the kids will enjoy topping and eating. Slice a zucchini into rounds and give the kids lots of veggies, cheese and sauce to top them before eating them. Some kids like these cold, like Lunchables, while others will prefer to bake them in the oven until they’re hot and the cheese is melted.
Larger pizzas can be made on whole wheat tortillas. Experiment with different sauces; some kids really enjoy a good Alfredo sauce while others might like some pesto or simple olive oil. Basil leaves add a fragrant, tasty touch to these, too.
1 Fruit Kabobs
What’s more fun than food on a stick? Dice up some apples, oranges, melon and other favorite fruits, add berries and slide them all on skewers so the kids can have quick and easy fruit kabobs to enjoy after school. This is a wonderful way to feed a crowd of hungry kids, too, especially if you have a lot of fruit about to expire that you need to cut up and get rid of quickly.
No skewers? Make a bowl of fruit salad and add a bit of honey lime dressing or vanilla yogurt. Mix in some mint leaves if your kids like mint, or toss in some dark chocolate chips for a bit of texture and flavor.