First, let me tell you something really interesting about healthy snacks for kids. You see, most adults will be of the opinion that snacking in between meals is a serious no-no.
However, according to the University of Illinois, snacks are not only okay for children, they are actually pretty important.
Yes, snaking is a good thing … as long as the snacks are made of healthy foods for kids.
However, creating healthy nutritious snack foods from scratch at home may seem like a challenging task to you.
But you’re not alone! I’m here to share all my quick healthy snacks and easy snack recipes with you.
On this page you’ll get the recipes for many, many simple-to-do homemade snacks as well as interesting science-based facts about snacks and healthy eating for kids.
If you’re eager to roll up your sleeves and get going right away, just follow one of the appetizing links below – if you’re hungry for all the info, just read on:
- Easy Snack Recipes for Kids: Curiously Crunchy Bananas, Fabulous Funny Face, Ant Logs and Cool Kiddie Kebabs.
- Snacks for Kids on the Move: Clever Kids Mix, Funky and Fancy Sandwiches and Roll up, Roll up.
- Terrific Toddler Snack Ideas: Appetizing Apple Crackers and Crunchy Kale Chips
- Ideas for Healthy Breakfast for Kids: Yummy Yoghurt and Cereal and Brainy Breakfast Taco
- Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids: Handy Hot Potato and Tasty Cheesy Apricots
- Easy Healthy Dinner Ideas for Kids: Good Old Fashioned Meatballs and Spaghetti.
Keep It Interesting – Freshen up That Look and Feel of the Food – It Means More than You Think
The easiest healthy snacks for kids, I have found, are those the kids find interesting and fun.
You don’t have to go overboard and make a full on salad every day, just a little thinking outside the box can make something out of the ordinary – extraordinary!
Fantastic Frozen Watermelon Lolly
This snack is soooo easy to do, kids love it and it really doesn’t get any healtier as it is pure fruit and nothing else. Just take a watermelon – any melon will do, really – and cut it into ice lolly sizes, stick a stick in them and throw them in the freezer.
Almondy Apple Boats
This snack so delicious and filled with both healthy carbs, fat and protein all in one go. You’ve the apple as carbs and almonds and peanut butter as both protein and fat.
Doing this is so easy. Cut your apple into boats. With a knife you smear peanut butter on one side of the boats. Chop up some almonds and dip the peanut butter side in the almonds. Finally stick a tooth pick in and voila.
Curiously Crunchy Cold Bananas as Fun Snacks for Kids
When it comes to easy snack recipes, they don’t get more easy than these crunchy cold bananas, which are actually fully endorsed by the American Dietetic Society.
Simply cover a peeled banana in low-fat yogurt before rolling in crunched up cereal and putting in the freezer for two to four hours.
A cool, healthy snacks your kids will love!
This home-made snack is an ideal substitute for fat-laden, sugar-filled alternatives such as ice cream and lollies that your kids may be asking for when the weather is warm.
Fabulous Funny Face as Raw Snacks
This is probably the oldest trick in the book when it comes to getting your children to eat healthily but they do say the oldies are the best and I tend to agree – this particular healthy snacks for kids trick introduced my toddler to the joy of grapes.
Simply select a variety of raw fruits and vegetables and arrange them into the face of your choice, if your kids are old enough, ask them to do it themselves and see what they come up with.
I have found grapes make excellent eyes, banana sliced in two makes a lovely mouth, bell pepper for ears and some shredded carrot for some OTT hair.
This may be one of the oldest healthy snacks for kids around but it really does work – every time!
Swap around the fruit and vegetable combinations regularly to prevent the kids getting bored and to encourage them to get more creative with their faces.
Sultanas, sliced pear, radish, cucumber, tomato, and celery are all excellent for this type of snack.
Obviously, the best part is the kids do all the hard work themselves. 😉
The Sweetest Yet Healthiest Banana Pancakes – no Sugar and No Flour
The recipe for these banana pancakes were given to me by a dear friend of mine. And the recipe is the easiest to remember ever. One egg for one banana … and that’s it. Nothing else. When it comes to snacks for kids it really doesn’t get any easier than that.
Just put it all in a bowl and mix it together. 4 bananas and 4 eggs make about 12 small to medium sized pancakes.
Ants? On a Log You Say? Great Healthy Snacks Ideas
This ants on a log recipe is ideal for older kids, who can create their own or at least know to go in the fridge to help themselves after school.
Simply cover celery sticks with low-fat cream cheese and pop a few raisins on the top. My kid loves it!
If your toddler struggles to eat the celery try making her a watered down version.
Chop your celery into bite size pieces, a tiny bit of cheese and a raisin and you are good to go.
Most certainly more nutritional value than a packet of chips or a plate of cookies.
Cool Kiddie Kebabs – Healthy Recipes for Kids
Of all the healthy snacks for kids I have come across, this one is the most popular – with my husband!
Don’t get me wrong, my kid loves them too, it is just the other half loves to steal them when he sees them out.
Proof if ever I needed it that the easy snack recipes I have been using are tasty, as well as good for you.
For this recipe, I use pretzel sticks so the whole thing is edible. However, if you don’t have any and your kids are old enough you could use cocktail sticks.
Add cubes of low fat cheese and grapes, alternating to make it interesting, to your pretzel or cocktail sticks to make funky kebabs.
This easy home-made recipe can easily be switched up to involve other things, such as bell peppers, tofu, pickled onions or carrots.
An easy healthy dinner for kids is a more involved take on the kiddie kebabs recipe.
Simply add bell pepper chunks, courgette chunks, mushrooms and tofu pieces to a kebab skew and brush lightly with low fat cooking spray or oil. Pop them into an oven on medium heat for around 12 to 16 minutes or until they have begun to brown.
My kid loves these with rice and peas, which altogether makes for a healthy dinner for everyone.
Are we there yet? I’m hungry!
Most parents can relate to being stuck in a car, or worse public transport, with their children when hunger strikes.
According to the Kids Health website, children requesting food while out and about are more likely to be given fast food or some other junk food snack in a bid to keep them happy as quickly as possible.
However, with a little organization and forethought it is possible for you to create healthy snacks for kids that are easy to transport where ever your child is going.
Clever Kid’s Mix as Quick Healthy Snacks on the Go
An easy healthy snack recipe for kids requires nothing more than dried sultanas and cranberries, almonds and walnuts thrown together in a sandwich bag.
This simple snack can be prepared literally minutes before you hit the road, making it ideal for parents who have little spare time.
Funky and Fancy Sandwiches – Homemade Snacks Ideal for the Lunch Box
It is amazing what you can do with a couple of slices of wholegrain bread, a lean piece of meat and a sharp knife, or even better, a cookie cutter.
Healthy snacks for kids should be creative and what is more creative than a sandwich shaped like a dinosaur, or a star. Or just another funny shape coupled with a funky pair eyes, like you see in the picture above.
Simply make the sandwiches as you normally would and then press the cookie cutter in to the sandwich to get the shape – or you can just use a sharp knife – that worked for me.
You can use sandwich bags to keep them fresh or better still, use a packed lunch box and add slices of apple and a drink.
A quick, easy snack idea that will cover all the bases.
Don’t forget!! Keep the drinks healthy too – replace sodas and other sugary drinks with naturally sweetened fruit juices, or even better, just water.
Roll up, Roll up – Healthy Eating for Kids Wherever Whenever
This healthy snacks for kids idea is one of my kid’s favorite and ideal for children who may be gluten intolerant and therefore looking for alternatives to bread.
Simply cover a medium-sized lettuce leaf with peanut butter or cream cheese, add a celery stick, a couple of sultanas or raisins and wrap up neatly.
These taste lovely, and my kid actually requests these for his school dinner meaning it is also a healthy lunch idea for kids too.
Of course, you can mix up what you put inside the lettuce leaf, depending on your child’s favorite foods and tastes.
Toddlers are, by their very nature, strong willed, stubborn and determined to be independent. This means, that even the best intentions when it comes to their diet can be thwarted.
How many of us can relate to giving in to a screaming toddler who isn’t interested in the apple pieces but instead wants the cookies.
Top children’s hospital, The Westmead believes parents should listen to their toddlers when it comes to WHEN they are hungry and HOW MUCH they want to eat but when it comes to a nutritious diet we really shouldn’t let them dictate to us.
Fortunately, there are strategies you can try with your toddler that will not only help introduce new foods into their diet but it will also help them select the healthier options too.
Appeal to not only a toddler’s sense of fun but also their sense of growing independence by making creative snacks they can feed themselves.
Appetizing Apple Crackers – Fabulous Finger Food Snacks for Toddlers
This healthy snack for kids recipe is easy and works well with crackers or bread sticks, whichever you think your child will prefer.
Simply lay out a couple of crackers with a small tub of apple sauce for dipping. Not only will this healthy toddler snack be a tasty treat, it will also improve their cognitive development by helping to develop the all important “pincer” grip and hand-eye coordination.
Crunchy Kale or Sweet Potato Chips as Fun Snacks
All children like chips, sadly these are a prime example of empty calories as they are so laden in fat they offer no nutrients whatsoever and eaten in large amounts will only lead to weight gain.
The sodium content is also high in chips, which is worrying for children – small children in particular.
Kale, a form of cabbage, is rich in nutrients and is commonly referred to by dieticians as a super food. Simply place several leaves on a baking sheet, cover with olive oil and bake in your oven, on 250 degrees, for around 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them all the time because all of a sudden they just turn black.
The result, beautiful kale chips your kids will love, especially the younger ones who will marvel at the green chips.
This healthy snack also works with sweet potato if you want to offer some variety.
Cabbage and sweet potato all ready to go in the oven. Be sure that you cut the sweet potato in relatively even slices so they go crisp at the same time.
And voila! Nice hey! In my family we particularly liked the sweet potatoes. They were just delicious 🙂
Healthy Kids Meals Ideas: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Input
Meal Time Madness – How to Satisfy them All
Coming up with creative healthy snacks may be relatively easy but what about healthy meals, how can a parent come up with a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas that all their children will enjoy.
As well as healthy recipes, what is the recommended daily fruit and vegetable allowances and how can you incorporate these into your children’s menus?
Yummy Yoghurt and Cereal
A simple yogurt and nutty fruit mix can add an appealing spark to a normally boring breakfast. Below you’ll see a healthy colorful yoghurt (plain, no sugar) mix with chopped up almonds and blueberries. I also added a bit of honey as a natural healthy sweetener.
Add a small glass of fruit juice and you have one of your child’s recommended fruit allowances in the first meal of the day.
Brainy Breakfast Taco
Appeal to your kid’s natural love of tacos by filling one with scrambled egg, chopped tomato, a bit of chorizo sausage and topping it with low-fat cheese.
- First chop up the chorizo in tiny bits and then fry them until they become a bit like bacon.
- Then add the chopped up tomato and the eggs and and perhaps a bit of cream if you like.
- Put it all in the tacos, sprinkling the top with grated cheeze
- Put the tacos with their content in a preheated oven – don’t leave them there for more than a few minutes tops. And then, that’s it!
I’ll admit they do look kind of ‘fat’ but they are really deliciuos and have lots of healthy proteins. My son loves them and the tomatos just give them that bit of freshness needed.
This breakfast is better for older children, who are able to feed themselves appropriately. Not only is this a healthy breakfast, egg is one of the recognized “brain foods” – ideal for little people heading out to school.
While the scrambled eggs do take time to make, if your children are old enough encourage them to make their own, as I do with my own son.
According to the University of Illinois, most children are ready for a snack around 11.00am.
This means, ideally you should aim to give your children lunch around 1pm.
Use the healthy snacks for kids recipes to ensure their mid-morning snacks contains some of their daily vegetable allowance and you will have a little more leeway when it comes to healthy lunch ideas.
Hot Potato Halves- Healthy Lunch Recipes for Kids
A simple, medium-sized potato baked in the microwave or oven depending on your time allowance and top with creme fraiche and salsa. Yum!
You can choose to cut them in half before or after they go in the oven. The advantage of doing it after is that it will be easier for your kids to press down the spoon into the potato – the downside, well, it takes longer to bake in the oven.
This snack was surprinsingly delicious. My son said they looked sort of okay, but tasted MUCH better than they looked. We used a medium hot salsa which worked fine because of the creme fraiche to take to top of the spiciness.
I usually put a small salad together for my older children, usually lettuce, tomatoes and shredded carrots depending on what they have had for their snack.
Tasty Cheesy Apricots – Healthy Lunches for Kids
This easy recipe calls for fresh, not tinned, apricot halves that you can fill with either cottage cheese or low fat cream cheese.
If your children are not cheese lovers, you can fill the apricots with soft tofu or hummus.
My son LOVES this easy healthy snack idea, I cut the apricots and cheese into bite size pieces so he can feed himself.
After lunch offer your child a yogurt or a piece of fruit to round off their meal and get more of their recommended allowance in to their diet.
When it comes to encouraging your kids to eat healthy, the best role models you will find are you and your partner.
Children love to mimic their parents, as anyone who has had a toddler repeat that really naughty word in the middle of a busy shopping center can testify.
If you don’t eat healthy, it won’t matter how many healthy snacks you try, they will only want to eat what you do.
Therefore, when it comes to the family’s main meal of the day – dinner, it is important to find something healthy that the whole family can sit down and enjoy together.
Good Old-Fashioned Meatballs and Spaghetti as Healthy Eating for Kids
Most people will be familiar with meatballs and while in ordinary circumstances it isn’t the healthiest meal – there are ways around this.
Firstly, it is essential you use the leanest ground beef you can find. I also use bulger wheat to bulk out the meat and get more for my money.
Rather than fry off your meatballs, bake them in a medium-heat oven for 20 minutes or until they have browned.
Cover with your desired tomato sauce and bake in an oven proof dish for an hour before serving with spaghetti.
This healthy dinner recipe is easy to make and is a firm favorite with my whole family. Adding bell peppers, courgette and carrot to your tomato sauce is also a sneaky way of upping your child’s intake of vegetables.
If your children are not necessarily meat lovers, don’t miss out on the opportunity to use yummy tomato spaghetti sauce to hide those vegetables. Simply serve without the meatballs for an equally tasty, twice as healthy dish.
Tips for Busy Parents Who Want to be Healthy
- Meal Plans – Sit down every Sunday evening and make a week’s worth of meal plans for your children and family as a whole. Include healthy snack ideas and have a calendar on hand so you can ensure the really easy healthy snack recipes are reserved for your family’s busiest days. Not only will this help you stay organized through the week, it will also cut down on the amount of food you waste.
- Prepare in advance – Most of the healthy quick snacks for kids I have included here and in other parts of my website can be prepared in advance. Making batches of snacks when you have time and keeping them refrigerated or frozen means they can be eaten on days when you may be struggling for time.
- Don’t take the kids shopping – According to the University of Illinois, parents are more likely to pick up unhealthy snacks and foods for their kids if they have them with them when they are grocery shopping. Instead, order your shopping online or go to the store at a time when you can leave the children at home.
- Learn to negotiate – If you are having problems getting your children to accept the healthy snacks ideas, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Offer them one piece of candy, if they agree to have an apple with their lunch or if they accept healthy snacks for the rest of the week. Your success will vary, but most children will respond well to new ideas if they feel they have had some kind of choice in the matter.
- Don’t give up – When trying new healthy snacks for kids, don’t throw in the towel if your child refuses to eat it the first time they try. According to the Westmead Hospital, most children take at least ten tries of a new food before deciding whether it is for them. That means that, while those kale chips were a washout on the first attempt they could become a firm family favorite in no time.
Why Healthy Snacks for Kids are So Important
As well as preventing them from feeling grumpy, they will also feel more alert, more energetic and will generally engage with others better on a full stomach as oppose to an empty one.
The University is quick to remind parents that any snacks they do prepare for their kids should concentrate on nutritional value and should also take into consideration the child’s overall calorie intake.
So in order to keep snacks healthy, it is important that snacks are organized wisely, so they don’t interfere with your child’s natural appetite.
Science Says that Unhealthy Snacks Are Closely Linked to Obesity
As parents, we all share a common goal to keep our kids happy, healthy and, most of the time, quiet! 😉
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always go hand in hand with healthy eating, as many people will admit to letting their kids eat unhealthy snacks to make them happy or placate them.
I have been there, the magical lollipop at the grocery store checkout or the packet of chips in the car on the way home from school.
According to the Kids Health website unhealthy snacks are a major contributor to obesity in young children.
This means the snacks you choose for your children are more important than you may realise.
Of course, it would be unfair and inaccurate to lay the blame of obesity in children squarely at the door of snacks, it is important you consider your child’s diet as a whole when offering them different things to eat.
Seeking out healthy recipes for your kids may take more planning and organization than relying on convenience or fast foods but the health benefits are more than worth it.
In fact experts believe that healthy eating as a child can dramatically affect a person’s health as an adult.
Long Term Effects of Encouraging Your Kids to Eat Healthy Snacks and Meals include:
- Maintaining a Low Cholesterol Level – While many place high cholesterol as being an adult problem, more and more children are suffering with increasing cholesterol levels.
Eating healthy helps keep their cholesterol at a manageable, normal level.
- Avoiding Weight Gain – Healthy snacks for kids help a child maintain a healthy weight, therefore avoiding obesity.
Scientific studies have found that children who suffer from weight issues as a child are more likely to suffer from obesity as an adult. This can lead to chronic illness, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- Poor Diets Affect Cognitive and Psychological Abilities Not only are children who have unhealthy diets likely to have poor immune systems, there is also evidence to suggest that children who have poor diets are likely to fall behind at school, suffer from depression and go on to have relationship problems.
My Eye Opener: The Experts Say “The Problem Isn’t the Meals but the Unhealthy Snacks In Between!”
With today’s dire economic climate, more and more parents are working outside of the home. This means less time in the family home and, as a domino effect, less time to concentrate on issues such as healthy eating.
I mean, as long as your kids are not eating burger and fries every evening that’s okay right?
To a certain extent yes, I understand more than most how difficult it is to ensure your children, and the family as a whole eat healthy.
However, statistics referred to by the Kids Health website seem to reveal that it isn’t the actual meals children eat that are the heart of the problem, but rather the snacks they eat in between that are a cause for concern.
So what can we as parents do, when a lot of the time we are busy trying to ensure the bills are paid and the family is kept happy and healthy.
Easy snacks for kids do not have to be time consuming, they most certainly do not require you to toil away in the kitchen for hours.
In fact, many of the recipes I have found about healthy snacks for kids and put together here can be prepared in advance – meaning older children can just help themselves.
A Fresh Start
If you believe that your child’s diet has been less than impressive up to now, it is never too late to change.
In fact, the older your child, the more able you are to convince them of the major health benefits of watching what you eat.
Older children can also be involved in choosing the types of foods they eat, you can even challenge them to find the healthiest easy snack recipes.
Most parents will turn to fast foods or convenience meals when time is stretched or finances are restricted but if you look at the healthy snacks for kids I have on my website, along with the advice I have researched and provided you can make permanent changes for the better.
If I can do it, anyone can! 😉
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