Here some easy and healthy snack ideas you can make for your hungry kids. Do kids really need snacks? Yes, children and teenagers should be eating every three to four hours. Healthy snacks help sustain energy levels, improve memory and focus, and keep kids happy during busy schedules. Try to choose snacks from different food groups and whole foods that aren’t heavily processed. Keeping well-stocked shelves of healthy snacks is important in shaping the development of good eating habits.
It is far too easy to grab a handful of cookies (which happened to be the most popular snack in the USA in 2021). Let’s brainstorm some ideas on how to change the mindset of eating processed and sugary to eating healthy and nutritious. I hope to help you take the guesswork out of healthy snacking habits. I’ll share some of the snacks we prepare for our two elementary school-aged children and our toddler.
The Cost of Healthy Snacks For Kids
For the past few decades, healthy food seemed to be synonymous with expensive. Well over here at Inspired Homemaker, we are ready to show you how you can fill your home with delicious, easy, and healthy snacks that won’t break the bank.
One of the staple snack foods we always keep on hand is nuts. Nuts are packed with vitamins and minerals, however, they can be costly unless you know how to find good deals. When buying nuts, try buying in bulk from big stores like Sam’s Club or Costco. They tend to have the best price per pound. Alternatively, smaller grocery stores can be more expensive, and never buy nuts out of the baking aisle (they mark those up exponentially). Choose unsalted or lightly salted. I usually select the raw ones that I can roast myself.
To roast, put the nuts onto a cooking sheet, lightly sprinkle with sea salt, and roast at 300 degrees F for 10-20 minutes. Stir halfway and adjust the time depending on the type of nut you are roasting. Our favorites to roast are walnuts, almonds, and pecans. Cashews are a favorite to add to any snack mix.
Other Cost Savings
You can find other cost savings by popping your own popcorn. Corn kernels can be quite easy on the wallet and you can find a ton of different varieties in small shops around your community. Popcorn is low in carbs and quite fulfilling. Buy dark chocolate chips or chunks in bulk and mix them into any snack cup with nuts or crackers. The darker the chocolate the better it is for you, with more antioxidants and less sugar.
In addition, fruit (in season) and eggs can also be cost-efficient and both are easy to shop for. Always buy extra when you find the snack items you like on sale. Making snack foods from scratch will almost always save you money. And always shop around. You might have to get selected items at different stores in your area. I have preferred places to shop for nut butter, nuts, chocolate, yogurt, etc.
Healthy Snacks For Home And School
Having snacks ready for little ones is a constant in any parent’s life both at home or school. You can easily keep a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator with healthy choices to make snack prep simple. Offering healthy choices can establish good eating habits as kids grow.
Serve them in take-and-toss cups, kid-friendly bowls, or muffin tins to keep it fun. Mix and match different food groups offering a good balance in nutrition. These glass containers are in a central location in my kitchen and everyone including guests can enjoy the contents.
Sending snacks to school with your kids is an important part of their day. If sending cheese/yogurt or something that needs to stay cold, just slip it into their lunch bag with an ice pack. Make sure you send something that will sustain them throughout the day.
High-sugar snacks give a false boost of energy followed by a feeling of sluggishness. Below is a list of nutritious and kid-friendly options you can send with your children to school, make at home, or have for yourself.
List Of Easy and Healthy Snacks You Can Make For Kids
- Mix of nuts (pecans, cashews, and almonds) with dark chocolate
- Healthy muffins
- Cheese and crackers
- Pomegranate Seeds
- Apple slices and almonds
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Carrots with peanut butter to dip
- Overnight Oats
- Cottage cheese and pear slices
- Dry cereal like Cheerios with raisins and dark chocolate
- Applesauce cups
- Yogurt with chia seeds
- Homemade granola with dried cranberries
- Bananas dusted with cinnamon and Nutella
- String cheese
- Hummus with cucumbers and crackers
- Fresh fruit
Brain and Memory Boosting Snacks
Keeping healthy snacks at home is vital in teaching our kids what kinds of foods are not only delicious but good for your brain health. What are some good brain-boosting foods?
Blueberries rank at the top of the list because they are rich in antioxidants. My kids love adding them to oatmeal for a snack. Hard-boiled eggs, nuts, almond or peanut butter on apple slices, and pumpkin seeds are all considered superfoods.
Make some chia seed pudding and add some to your overnight oats. Chia seeds are loaded with vitamins and promote gut health. I always mix in a handful with yogurt or any kind of oats. Overnight oats and homemade granola really pack a punch in the vitamin department as well, mix in nuts, fruit, cardamom, or cinnamon to add nutrients and flavor.
Great Low Carb Easy and Healthy Snacks
Low-carb snacks are great for people with heart disease, diabetes, and anyone on a diet. Choose snacks with lower carbs and higher proteins to help curb your hunger by taking longer to digest. Sustain your energy levels by eating fewer sugary snacks. You are essentially snacking better and less often. Choose cheese, yogurt, popcorn, and veggies dipped in peanut butter.
Other Great Snack Ideas
There are some wonderful homemade muffin recipes out there, just like these healthier chocolate muffins. Made with bananas and real maple syrup for sweetness and only a little whole wheat flour these muffins are perfect for snacking. What child can resist a chocolate muffin?
Hummus is another one of those delicious foods that is packed with vitamins. Chickpeas are blended with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, and seasonings. Nothing artificial here. (sometimes I add cannellini beans)
Serve with pitas, crackers, carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, toast points, or apple slices. Clearly, the possibilities are endless.
Lastly, fresh fruits like oranges are great for kids and give a great boost of vitamin C. You don’t have to fuss over peeling them, in fact leaving the rind on gives little hands something to hold. Just cut it into bite-sized wedges.
Apples, bananas, grapes, avocados, mangoes, and kiwis are some fruits that kids love! Fill up mason jars with bite-sized pieces for a perfect snack.
Checking The Ingredients
When it comes to food it’s best to offer our kids as close to homemade as we can and always read labels. A couple of ingredients that should be avoided are artificial dyes and high fructose corn syrup. Most other countries have banned the use of these toxins. A lot of companies here in the US have begun eliminating these ingredients from their products.
Artificial dyes have been linked to cancer, hypersensitivity (loss of focus and attention/behavioral issues), and immune system disorders. With a little bit of reading and leg work, there are lots of products out there to choose from without dyes. Always check your labels, otherwise, you might not be aware of the contents. Look out for Red #40, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, and Blue #1. The USDA currently has over 30 artificial dyes approved for food use.
Consequently, many of the food items that surround us are brightly colored due to creative marketing. Check out cereals, pickles, instant pudding, frostings, candy, soda, and even medicine like children’s Tylenol. Children’s Motrin makes a dye-free liquid medicine that we prefer.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
You can find High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) everywhere these days. HFCS also goes by several different names but don’t be fooled. They are fructose, maize syrup, glucose-fructose, and fruit fructose. You make HFCS (which is a sweetener) from corn starch by heavily processing the glucose into fructose. By mass producing HFCS in the 1970s due to cost efficiency, it replaced granulated sugar in most foods. Look for it in breakfast cereals, crackers, sodas, and tons of other products. To avoid HFCS, read labels. It has been associated with inflammatory problems, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
In conclusion, as a mom of three, I am constantly preparing meals and snacks. I want my children to make healthy food choices, and that means limiting the number of processed foods that are readily available to them. It should be noted, that we are not perfect snackers. We do eat sugar and carbs. On the whole, we try to set an example. And teach our kids the benefits of choosing the healthier option and keeping a good balance.
Stocking our home with healthy choices and making snacks and foods from scratch gives our kids those nutritious options. What kind of healthy snacks do you give your children? Leave a comment below to inspire others and keep the list growing!
Finally, thanks for taking some time with me, and I’m happy to share with you some of the snacks that our kids love to eat.
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