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Kids need a variety of different macro and micronutrients and proteins in their growing years. Even with a wholesome meal, they tend to get hungry. However, if you grab onto packaged snacks, they are often found unhealthy as they are made of refined flour, artificial ingredients, and added sugars.
Snack time is the golden opportunity to sneak in some extra nutrients into your child’s diet. Instead of highly processed packaged food items, use snack time as an opportunity to feed your child with whole foods that would give them any missing nutrients. Here’s the list of such whole foods that you can grab when your child is suddenly seeking some snack time.
30 ideas for best healthy snacks for kids to buy
Benefits: Yogurt is one of the best snacks of all time both for children and adults. It contains a high amount of protein and calcium which makes it an important snack for kids. Calcium is essential for a healthy bone structure. Some yogurts contain live bacteria which is beneficial for the digestive system.
Recipe: However, the yogurts that are usually marketed to kids are high in sugar. So you can make yours on your own by taking full-fat yogurt. You can further sweeten it by adding your favorite fruits or maybe a drizzle of honey. Be cautious if you are mixing honey as it should not be given to children under 12 months of age. Honey in children that young could cause botulism in them.
Benefits: Popcorn is actually a nutritious whole grain even though it is considered junk. Unhealthy toppings are what make popcorn junk food.
Recipe: Popcorn needs to be air-popped with a drizzle of butter. It could also be topped with grated parmesan cheese to up the taste level. One caution is to not feed young children as they could choke on it.
Benefits: Celery is rich in low glycemic index vitamins and minerals. Vitamins like A, K, and C and minerals like potassium and folate are abundant in them. Its low sodium levels indicate that it will prevent high blood pressure and eventual heart diseases.
Recipe: Celery with peanut butter and raisins is a healthy and tasty snack. Sometimes, called “ants on a log”, it’s a fun way to get your kids to get the vegetables. You can cut the celery into long strips of three or four, spread the peanut butter inside it, and arrange a few raisins on top of it. These three combinations of foods provide a mixture of carbs, protein, and fat. However, make sure the peanut butter is without added sugars or vegetable oils.
Benefits: Filled with healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants, nuts are yet another nutritious dietary option on the list of healthy snacks for kids. Usually, nuts are considered as an allergen but recent studies have shown that introducing nuts at a younger age can reduce the risk of allergy.
It must be noted, however, that nuts can be choked on so before you give them to your child, make sure he/she knows how to chew on them. If your child is too young avoid feeding nuts to them.
5. Trail Mix
Benefits: Trail mix is a no for kids who are allergic to nuts but for those who are not, it is a nutritious and viable snacking option. Most of the trail mix available in the market contains a high amount of added sugar so it’s better if you make it at home.
Recipe: Take a mix of nuts, dried fruits, and a bowl of whole-grain cereal and you have your own healthy homemade trail mix for your kid.
Benefits: A sweet treat for the little one, pears can supply your child with high fiber content and other beneficial plant nutrients.
Recipe: Spread each slice of pear with ricotta cheese and you’ll have a yummy healthy snack for kids.
7. Cottage Cheese
Benefits: One of the best ideas for healthy snacks for kids is cottage cheese as it can even be given to young children due to its soft texture. The fresh and creamy snack is rich in protein and filled with selenium, calcium, and vitamin B12. Proper growth and brain development are accelerated by the amount of vitamin B12.
Recipe: You can serve the cottage cheese either by itself or by topping it with fresh or dried fruits. Also, spread it on whole-wheat toast and have a healthy snack time.
Benefits: Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast as well as a healthy snack for kids. It is high in soluble fiber which increases the number of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Flavored packets available in the market come with added sugars so it’s better you make use of whole rolled oats to make breakfast or a snack.
Recipe: You could also add ⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon powder and some diced apples for added sweetness. Also, adding milk instead of water can increase the amount of additional protein and calcium.
Benefits: Cheese is mostly made of protein, calcium, and fat. Studies have shown that eating cheese or other dairy products will increase the overall diet quality. Full-fat dairy products will increase your child’s nutrition factor by contributing calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and D. The high-quality protein will ensure that your child feels full between meals. Also, studies show that children who eat cheese have fewer chances of getting cavities.
10. Veggie Pita Pocket
Benefits: Vegetables are loaded with important vitamins and minerals which children usually miss out on as they are more likely to create a fuss overeating them.
Recipe: If you make your veggie meals fun your child will definitely be eating them willfully. Take a whole-wheat pita pocket, spread some hummus on it, and fill it up with sliced veggies that are your child’s favorite. It could be carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers, etc. and there you have your healthy snack ready.
11. Fruit Smoothie
Benefits: A fruit smoothie is yet another healthy snack for kids. It’s an easier way to blend all the important nutrients into one snack. Always remember to use whole and fresh ingredients and to avoid fruits juices as they are high in added sugar.
Recipe: To a fruit smoothie, you can also add vegetables such as carrots or cucumbers. With the sweetness of the fruit, your child will not know that you have sneaked in some veggies.
12. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Benefits: Refrigerated hard-boiled eggs are a treat full of high protein, several vitamins, and minerals such as riboflavin, vitamin B12, and selenium. Lutein and zeaxanthin ate two other carotenoids that are present in hard-boiled eggs which are beneficial for the eyes. Choline is yet another vitamin that is present which promotes brain development.
13. Banana Oat Cookies
Benefits: Homemade banana cookies are an excellent choice for a healthy snack for kids. Mashed bananas provide the sweetness of added sugar without adding any sugar.
Recipe: Mix the mashed banana with rolled oats and coconut oil. You could also add dried fruits or chocolate chips for added flavor. Bake this mixture by placing it on a baking tray in spoonfuls at 350F (175C) for 15-20 minutes and you have your healthy snack ready.
14. Raisin Snack Packs
Benefits: Raisins are dried grapes that have high iron content, a nutrient that kids mostly miss out on. It is required to assist in transporting oxygen through the body. Snacking on raisins will supply your kid’s system with plant compounds like oleanolic acid which will prevent teeth cavities by preventing bacteria from sticking onto them. It’s also an easy grab and snack item that is much healthier than other foods.
15. Turkey And Avocado Roll-Up
Benefits: Turkey is an essential source of protein that builds up and repairs tissues in your body. It’s also a filling food and a great snack time item. Avocados on the other hand are full of heart-healthy fats, fiber, folate, pantothenic acid, antioxidants, potassium, and vitamins C, and K. Both come together and make magic nutrients for your kids’ diet.
Recipe: Cut, peel and slice the avocado into thin strips and drizzle a bit of lemon on top of it to prevent it from browning. Wrap each avocado slice with one piece of turkey and your snack is ready to eat.
16. Sweet Potato
Benefits: Sweet potatoes are filled with calories, healthy fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber. You tend to get around 400 percent of vitamin A from one sweet potato. It’s well for your body’s defense against germs and immune system.
Recipe: A mixture of sweet potato, olive oil, and sea salt is what you would need to prepare this snack. Peel and slice the sweet potato and drizzle it with olive and sprinkle some sea salt over it. Bake it in an oven for 20 minutes at 425F (220C).
Benefits: Pickles are vegetables that have fermented in water and salt. It is best for vitamin K and probiotic bacteria which are good for the digestive system. However, pickles with vinegar do not contain probiotics so always look for pickles with live culture. Also, remember to avoid sweet pickles as they are high in added sugar.
18. Kale Chips
Benefits: Kale is low in calories and high in nutrients making it a superfood. It is packed with vitamins such as A, C, and K. Children would less likely be excited to try kale as their snack but if you give them in the form of chips they’d be happy to try something new.
Recipe: Take a bunch of kale and tear them into small leaves. Wash and dry them and toss them in olive oil and seasonings. Bake it in a baking tray at 350F (175C) for about 10 minutes and the kale will come out crispy. It can easily burn so be on the lookout for it.
19. Carrot Sticks
Benefits: Kids love dips and what better than that when it comes to eating their veggies. Hummus is one great option for a dip. Hummus is made from chickpeas which contain folate, fiber, and antioxidants.
Recipe: You could cut slices of carrots and serve them with the hummus. It could be any other vegetable too.
20. Energy Balls
Benefits: Ground flaxseed or chia seeds make great energy balls that taste like cookie dough but are made with nutritious whole ingredients. Both the seeds are filled with antioxidants, fiber, and folate.
Recipe: Mix oats, unfiltered honey, almond butter, flax seeds, chia seeds, some vanilla, and dried fruits in a bowl and refrigerate in the form of balls.
21. Bell Peppers
Benefits: Bell peppers are filled with fiber, carotenoids, and vitamin C. They are also naturally sweet and highly nutritious. Carotenoids importantly support eye health.
Recipe: Bell peppers taste great with guacamole which is a spread made from mashed avocados.
22. Whole-Grain Crackers
Benefits: Remember to choose only those crackers that are made of whole grains and seeds which will have a perfect balance of proteins, carbs, and fat. Usual crackers come loaded with sugars, hydrogenated oils, and refined flour.
Recipe: Whole grain cracker sandwiches are another easy-to-make snack for your kids. Just spread some peanut butter on them and serve it in between meal times.
Benefits: Fruits contain fiber and important nutrients like potassium and vitamin A and C. A piece of fruit is an easy way of feeding your kid the essential nutrients and fiber. Bananas, apples, pears, grapes are some fruits that are grab-and-eat snacks. On the other hand, you can cut fruits like cantaloupe, mango, and pineapple into bite-sized pieces and store them to serve as convenient snacks.
24. Banana Quesadilla
Benefits: You can make a quesadilla with banana and peanut butter. Peanut butter contains a great number of healthy fats and proteins which is good for your kid. Bananas are a source of plenty of vitamin B6, fiber, and potassium.
Recipe: Take a whole wheat tortilla, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter which would be around 30 grams, half a banana, and ⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Spread the peanut butter over the tortilla and arrange the sliced bananas on half of the tortilla. Sprinkle some cinnamon over it and fold the tortilla in half. Serve it by cutting it into triangles.
Benefits: Olives are rich in antioxidants and packed with healthy fats. They protect the body from free radicals which are damaging molecules. Remember to purchase pitted ones for the kids as they are more naturally produced and remove the pit before serving it to your kids. They are soft and hence can easily be eaten. Different varieties of olives have different types of flavors. Always start feeding it to your child with the mild-flavored ones.
26. Frozen Fruit Popsicles
Recipe: The store-bought popsicles are full of refined sugar and artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup. So it’s healthy to make your own popsicles. Puree the frozen fruits or berries, add a small amount of fruit juice to it and mix it in the blender. Pour this mixture into popsicles molds and cover with foil. You could also use plastic cups instead. Insert popsicle sticks into them and freeze overnight. Next morning you have your own healthy snack ready for your kids.
Recipe: Sandwiches are a great option for in-between meal snacks apart from being a proper meal. Recipes of sandwiches are countless and can be customized as per your child’s liking. To begin with, you could start with whole wheat bread, a source of protein, and a fruit or a vegetable. Some healthy suggestions are,
- Cheddar cheese with thinly sliced apples
- Peanut butter and sliced banana
- Mozzarella cheese and tomato slices
- Ricotta cheese with finely chopped vegetables
- Some turkey, pickles, and swiss cheese
- Avocado, hard-boiled egg, and sliced tomatoes
- Cream cheese with sliced cucumbers
28. Cauliflower Tots
Benefits: Cauliflower is a great source of carbohydrates, fiber, and sodium among other varieties of nutrients. It is abundant in vitamins C and K. when you digest cauliflower, a group of substances called glucosinolates are broken down into compounds that protect cells from damage. It has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Recipe: Here’s a recipe for your to begin with.
- Steam the cauliflower until riced and drain the water.
- Mix an egg, cheddar cheese, parmesan, panko bread crumbs, and chives.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Roll a tablespoon of mixture into a tater-tot and place it onto a baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the tots are golden in color.
- Serve the tots with ketchup and sriracha.
29. Banana Sushi
Benefits: In a 100-gram banana, you can have 75 perfect water, carbs, proteins, fiber, and fats. Apart from that, it is abundant in potassium, vitamin B6 and C, and other plant compounds. The presence of potassium makes your heart healthy and reduces the risks of high blood pressure.
Recipe: You can easily slice bananas into sushi pieces and drizzle with some melted peanut butter. You could also top it with chopped strawberries or chocolate chips along with crushed graham crackers.
30. Zucchini Sushi
Benefits: Zucchini is rich in a great number of nutrients such as proteins, fat, carbs, sugar, and fiber. It is also filled with vitamin A, K, B6, and C, manganese, potassium, folate, copper, phosphorus, and thiamine. Antioxidants present in zucchini can protect your body from cell damage. Plus, carotenoids will benefit your eyes, heart, and skin.
Recipe: Using a peeler slice each zucchini into thin strips. Spread a combination of cream cheese, sriracha, and lime juice on one side of the thin slice and top the other side with a pinch of crab, avocado, carrot, and cucumber. Tightly roll up the zucchini and serve it with some sprinkled sesame seeds.
Best Healthy Snacks For Kids Final Conclusion
A healthy snack in between meals is a great way to sneak important nutrients into your child’s diet. It will provide them with energy and nutrients to help strengthen their system. Instead of pre-packaged foods offer your kids healthy homemade or naturally available snacks and fruits.