As a parent, you know that little ones need to eat...a lot. According to an article written by Jodie (Jo Ellen) Shield, MED, RD, LD for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, most children and teens need to eat every 3-4 hours. You can map this out to be 3 meals and at least 2 snacks for young children and 3 meals and at least 1 snack per day for older children.
That is a lot of snacks! Even though they recommend you set up predictable meal and snack times for your children, you are probably aware that little ones like to graze and might be looking for snacks at all times during the day.
We know you are busy, so we thought we’d take some of the hard work out of snacktime. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite easy snacks for kids so that you can keep your children satiated and ready to take on the day!
Easy snacks for kids
Healthy snacks for kids
Nutrient-dense foods provide more for growing children than low-nutrient foods like chips and cookies. Luckily for you, there are a lot of quick and fun healthy snacks for kids that you can easily grab to avoid a hangry (hungry + angry) child. Here are some of our favorites, which you can pick up at your local supermarket.
1. Fruits & vegetables
This seems like a give-in but little ones generally love fruit & veggies. They are naturally sweet and children get to explore a variety of textures. Some favorites include banana, clementines, melon, baby carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers. Just make sure that you cut everything up into small pieces to avoid choking hazards.
Children love dipping, so providing hummus along with their veggies is a great way to get them to enjoy their snacktime even more. Hummus is a great source of protein and fiber, which are important to little growing bodies. You can also spread hummus on toast or pita for older children who need a bit more substance to their snacks.
3. Cottage cheese & yogurt
Both cottage cheese and yogurt can be served to children as young as infants because they are soft and extremely nutritious. With lots of protein and vitamins, both cottage cheese and yogurt make for great healthy snacks for kids. You can serve them plain or with fruit to add even more delicious nutrients.
4. Cheese sticks or slices of cheese
This is a great snack for children of all ages because it is something they can eat on their own. Depending on the age of your child, you might feel more comfortable with a slice of cheese than a cheese stick because the shape of a cheese stick can be a choking hazard. Plus, did you know that some studies have found that eating dairy can reduce cavities in children?
5. Fruit pouches or smoothies
You can find a variety of different types of fruit pouches in the supermarket. While they might be marketed at babies, they really are just portable smoothies, so you can give them to a child of any age. If you have an older child who might reject the pouch, you can whip up a big smoothie and put it in an airtight container in the fridge and then spoon out the amount you need for your child’s snack.
Healthy snack recipes
If you are looking for some easy healthy snacks to make, we’ve got you covered! These healthy snack recipes will not break the bank or take up too much of your time.
4 ingredient banana muffins
- 5 medium-sized bananas
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or dairy milk)
- 1 cup blueberries (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until creamy, then scoop into a lined or greased muffin tin until about halfway full. Then, bake for 18-20 minutes in an oven at 350 degrees.
Mini crustless quiches
- 2 eggs
- 1 zucchini, shredded or diced
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1/4 cup cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- 1/3 cup swiss cheese (optional)
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly combined and then scoop into a greased or lined muffin tin until three-quarters full. Bake until golden brown (typically 25 minutes) in an oven set at 325 degrees.
No-bake energy balls
- 1/2 cup dried fruit
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup chia seeds or ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup almond butter or any nut butter
- 1/3 cup unfiltered honey
- 1 cup oats
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Once combined, form into small balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Is your child interested in making their own snacks? Sawyer educators Freshmade, The Dynamite Shop, and From Scratch Bakers all have online classes for children to learn how to cook and bake their own snacks. Check them out on the Sawyer marketplace. Learn more about the benefits of cooking with kids in our blog post.
School snacks for kids
Not sure what to pack with your child when they go to school? Here are some of our favorite school snacks for kids that are easy to make or buy, nutritious, and delicious!
1. Turkey and cheese spirals
Place sliced turkey and sliced cheese on top of a tortilla (if your child likes condiments, you can add a spread of mustard or mayo first) and then roll it up vertically so it looks like a log. Then, cut it along the log into 5-6 slices, which will have a beautiful turkey and cheese spiral. This is a protein-filled snack that will keep your child full and ready to learn!
2. Fruit kabobs
When your child is at school, you want to keep the mess at a minimum. So, while they might be old enough to peel their own clementines or bananas, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to enjoy their snack at school. Fruit kabobs solve that! Pre-peel and cut their favorite fruits and then place them on a kabob stick. It’s fun and easy for them to enjoy.
Pretzels are a good school snack for kids because they are filling, easy to pack, and generally healthy. You can find whole wheat, whole grain, or even cauliflower pretzels for your little one. Or, you can splurge on the real thing. Remember, your child is eating to grow, so they need calories! You can add a small pack or tupperware of hummus for your child to dip, too.
Make your own popcorn and put it into ziplock bags or buy some small bags of popcorn at the store for a fun snack your child will love in their lunchbox. Popcorn is a whole grain, which means it is nutritious and it provides valuable fiber. Plus, it’s a fun snack that children love to eat!
5. Trail mix
Whether you make your own trail mix or buy it in the store, it is a great snack for children in school. Just like hikers on a mountain who need to fuel their bodies with trail mix, little ones in school are exerting their brains and need fuel to keep up the pace. Fill your trail mix with nuts (if your child’s school is not nut-free), dried fruit, M&Ms, pretzels, cereal, raisins, and whatever else you want! Your child will love the variety and be ready to take on the rest of their day.
Looking for delicious and easy toddler snacks to keep your little one happy and full while they play? Look no further! Here are some of our favorite quick snacks that you can quickly pick up or make for your toddler.
- Small pieces of fruit with Cheerios
- Thinly cut vegetables with hummus
- Cottage cheese with dried fruit
- Yogurt or applesauce pouches
- Puffs (puffed rice snacks)
- Whole grain crackers or pretzels
- Veggie straws or snap pea crisps
- Cashews or walnuts cut into pieces
- Cut up or cubed deli meats
- Nut butter on whole grain toast, sliced apples, or pieces of banana
We hope this list of healthy toddler snacks, quick snacks, and easy snack recipes will give you inspiration and save you some time and energy during your day. As a parent, you do it all, so we are happy to help make it easier for you! Looking for quick lunch recipes as well? We’ve got you covered!
If you are looking for in-person or online activities for your children, we have thousands of educators who offer classes for kids of all ages on Sawyer. Check it out so your child can discover new passions and increase their love of learning.