We all know that it’s best not to snack between meals. But having small, healthy snacks can absolutely be part of a balanced diet. Especially for your growing child.
- Fresh fruits
- Crunchy veggies: veggie chips, carrots or celery with ranch or hummus
- Healthy fats: nuts and seeds, trail mix
- Grains: popcorn or granola
- Dairy: yogurt, cheese and crackers, cottage cheese with fruit, mini Babybel cheese
- Healthy treats: homemade muffins with hidden veggies and fruit
Making tasty snacks doesn’t have to take up too much of your day. Here we’ll look at 20 different snacks that will only take a few minutes to prepare and will travel well.
Let’s start by looking at some tasty treats for your little one to enjoy at school! General guidelines are available at the end to help you make healthy choices when coming up with your own recipes!
Fresh Fruits: Nature’s Little Treats
There’s nothing better for a midday snack than a sweet piece of fresh fruit.
6 Suggestions: Apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, pears, peaches… you can’t go wrong!
These treats are not only packed with nutrients, but they come in their own biodegradable wrappers. They keep just fine all day long and are naturally sweet.
You can also go for frozen grapes! They end up tasting just like delicious hard candies after a few hours in the freezer (ditto for frozen berries).
Root for Roots
Something about a crunchy snack just feels right. If you’re looking to get some crunch in your munch, try root vegetables like carrots with dip or even veggie chips.
If you have the time, take any root veggie and slice them thin with a mandolin, and bake until they are crunchy.
These delicious veggie chips are much healthier than plain old potato chips!
Nuts about Nuts
Dry goods make for great snacks because they store easily in any old container (no refrigeration necessary). They are also a delicious heart-healthy energy source.
6 Suggestions: roasted peanuts, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or even trail mix
There are also plenty of seeds that make for tasty treats. If you’re looking to mix it up, take a sandwich bag and fill it with GORP (good old raisins and peanuts).
When packing these as a snack, make sure to check with the school that nuts are allowed on campus. Some schools or classrooms have policies in place if another child has a severe nut allergy.
Pop Some Popcorn
You can always prepare some popcorn for an excellent snack, too. Check out this article on How to Make Healthy Popcorn: Back to Basics for some great tips!
Be sure to pop your own, preferably with an air-popper, and go light on the salt/sugar, if you add in any at all.
Cheeses and yogurt can be a great way to provide your child with a tasty snack. Make up a little bag of cheese slices and crackers or some yogurt with fresh fruit.
Layer these two on top of one another in one cup for an excellent parfait on the go. One often forgotten snack is good ‘ol cottage cheese! Try mixing it with fresh or canned (natural juice or water) pineapple or peaches.
4 Suggestions: cheese and crackers, Greek yogurt cup, cottage cheese with peaches, or mini Babybel cheese
If you’re going with any dairy, be sure to pack it with an ice pack. Especially if there’s any chance it will be sitting around for an extended time.
And again, be sure to read the label with these products. Many brands of yogurt marketed towards children is packed with hidden sugar that doesn’t need to be there.
Roll with Granola
Another dry good that makes for a great snack is granola. You can make your own in the oven by merely mixing up oats, nuts, honey, and coconut oil.
However, if you don’t have time for that, there are plenty of store-bought options available. Just bear in mind that you don’t want to overload the little one with sugar. Do your best to read the label before picking one out.
Special Treats for Special Tikes
We’ve focused a lot on snacks that don’t take much time to prepare if any. Every once in a while, though, you may want to go all out with a fun presentation.
2 Suggestions: ants on a log or homemade muffins with hidden veggies and fiber
There’s the classic ants on a log made with peanut butter, celery and raisins, which is always a hit.
Try making tasty muffins that are filled with different types of fruit (apples, bananas, or berries) and veggies (shredded carrots or zucchini). The limit here is only your imagination, and of course, your child’s taste buds.
When you’re looking to put together a healthy snack on the run, keep a few guidelines in mind, and you’ll always end up with something tasty that will be good for your little one.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you want fresh ingredients and that you should be sure each part of your snack is healthy on its own. Stick to reduced-fat dairy products, and avoid anything with too much added sugar. Stay away from items that are fried or cooked with a lot of grease.
Try to ensure your child gets food from all the food groups each day.
If you know their lunch was light on fruit, then maybe their snack could hit that group.
With any snack, try to stick with items your child can easily eat without utensils. After all, this is supposed to be a quick treat and not another meal.
Finally, make sure you’re always talking with your child about what they like and don’t like. You don’t have to let their taste to reign supreme! However, making sure you’re meeting your child halfway will keep them eating up your snacks.
We all want to avoid the dreaded full lunch box! This typically means they were a bit distracted during snack and lunch time, but could be a sign they weren’t a fan of the options.
With these guidelines in mind, let’s take a look at several types of snacks that should be staples in your repertoire.
Have Fun and Get Creative!
The next time you’re looking to put together a nice snack for your little one, try one of these options. Your child will be sure to love it!
Plus, you’ll rest easy knowing you’ve given them a healthy source of energy and the nutrition they need to grow.