Do you ever find yourself begging your child to eat their fruits and vegetables? When you are a parent of picky kids, you know that finding healthy snacks for kids can be hard. Cookies and chips are the only snack options in most pantries, but there are other choices out there. Kids need to eat healthy food to keep themselves going, growing, and learning throughout the day.
Why Some Kids are Picky on Food
According to a study on picky eaters, there are several reasons why kids may be choosy about the food they eat. Some kids may be more sensitive to certain tastes and textures, while others may be influenced by what their friends are eating. In some cases, kids may be hesitant to try new foods because they’re afraid of being disappointed.
The study also found that parents can play a role in helping their kids develop healthy eating habits. One way to do this is by exposing kids to a variety of different foods at an early age. Parents can also model healthy eating habits themselves, and provide positive reinforcement when kids do try new foods. (source: Healthy Eating Research)
Picky eaters find it difficult to find new foods that they like while still picking some of their usual favorite snacks. However, satisfying your child’s sweet tooth while also nourishing her body with healthier alternatives is easier than you think! Here are some fun kid-friendly recipes for everyday snacking.
Healthy Snacks for Kids
Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
These treats are the perfect healthy snack as an afternoon treat or even served alongside some crackers after school. It’s full of vitamins B5 which helps boost energy levels while providing essential fatty acids that nourish our bodies from within outwards – all without any guilt because these ingredients are 100% natural unlike other processed foods we’ve come used to in the past decade (eek!).
Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Serve with fresh fruit pieces for dipping! Makes enough dip for 8-12 people to enjoy!
Roasted Chickpeas is a Healthy Snack
The great thing about Roasted Chickpeas is that they are packed full of protein and fiber, making them an excellent snack for kids. These little seeds can be found at your local health grocery store or multiple superstores such as Whole Foods Market!
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the chickpeas onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil sprayed with cooking spray. Season with salt and other spices, if desired. Roast for about 40 minutes, shaking the pan every 10 minutes or so to help them roast evenly on all sides. Allow chickpeas to cool before serving. Makes a great snack for kids!
Frozen Banana Bites
You and your kids will love these frozen banana bites! They’re great, healthy snacks alternative to pop or juice for when you need something quick.
Directions: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Slice each banana into 8-10 pieces and freeze until solid (I froze them overnight). In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips by heating for 30 seconds at a time and stirring frequently until smooth and creamy. Dip each frozen banana bite into the melted chocolate, covering completely. Place coated bites on the baking sheet and sprinkle with coconut oil. Freeze again until solid (about an hour) Makes about 20 banana bites.
For smoother, creamier dips like this one, I highly recommend using a high-speed blender like the Vitamix or Blendtec to make dips or hummus instead of mixing your ingredients by hand in a bowl. These blenders will produce the creamiest results!
Sticky & Sweet Fruit Pudding
This sweet and sticky fruit pudding is the perfect healthy snack for kids. It’s packed with tons of antioxidants, fiberglass-rich apples to keep them full longer than other snacks or sweets!
Directions: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the fruit, cinnamon, maple syrup, and water. Cook for 10-15 minutes until heated through and the fruit has softened. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Serve warm or chill in the fridge for later! Makes about 3 servings.
High Protein Dip Healthy Snack
Here are some healthy snacks that will keep your little one’s appetite satisfied and their energy levels high. For a quick, easy dip try our High Protein Dip!
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Chill before serving, if desired. Makes about 2 cups of dip.
Sweet Potato Chips
Sweet Potato Chips are a great healthy snack for kids because they’re rich in fiber and beta carotene. They also happen to taste pretty good too!
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cut sweet potatoes into thin slices (about 1/8 inch thick). Spread on the baking sheet and lightly brush or spray with olive oil on both sides of each chip. Sprinkle seasonings and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping the chips over at the halfway point. Cool and serve! Makes about 4 servings of sweet potato chips.
Homemade Apple Sauce
Homemade Apple sauce is a great way to get your kids into healthy eating. The Soros Foundation recently found that when children are given homemade meals with fresh ingredients, they eat more foods from each food group than if the same meal was made in fast-food restaurants or at home by an adult cook who isn’t aware of what’s going on inside their head! So try making these recipes for applesauce and see how much improved everything tastes – I guarantee you’ll never want store-bought again.
Directions: Wash, core, and slice apples into chunks. Place in a large pot and add enough water to just cover the apple slices. Simmer on medium heat for 30-45 minutes or until the apples have completely softened. Remove from heat and mash with a fork or potato masher until completely smooth/pureed. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, & vanilla extract if desired. Serve warm or chill in the fridge for later! Makes about 5 servings of homemade applesauce.
Banana Bread Bites
Healthy snacks that kids will love! These banana bread bites are perfect as a mid-afternoon or morning pick-me-up snack. They’re also great in the lunchbox; just make sure you pack them separately so nothing gets squished by other food items like applesauce containers
Ingredients: 3 ripe bananas, 1/4 cup honey (or agave), 2 Tbsp nut butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 egg, beaten 1/4 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary), 3/4 cup almond meal or flour, about 2 cups shredded coconut
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mash together bananas, honey, nut butter, vanilla extract, and egg in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the coconut. Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray or lightly brush it with oil.
Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Layer with shredded coconut and press down firmly to pack it all in tightly before adding more banana mixture.
Repeat pressing with coconut layer on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges are lightly browned and the center is set. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars (I like to place them in the fridge for an hour or two, if possible). Makes about 12 Banana Bread Bites.
Healthy Fruit-Infused Water
Portable and delicious, this fruit water is perfect for on the go. Made with natural ingredients like orange or lemon (which also happens to be a great source of vitamin C – it’s sure not only satisfies your child’s thirst but gives them something healthy too!
Directions: Slice the lemon, orange, or lime and place in a large pitcher with all other ingredients. Allow sitting for at least an hour before serving so the fruit has time to infuse its flavor into the water. Serve over ice and enjoy! Makes about 8 servings of Healthy Fruit-Infused Water.
Stawberry-Banana “Nice Cream”
Healthy snacks for kids are a great way to keep them healthy and happy. If your little one loves the taste of strawberries, then try making this cool recipe that combines bananas with almond butter in order to create an ice cream-like consistency!
Directions: Place ingredients except for frozen strawberries in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add in frozen strawberries and process until thick and creamy like ice cream. Serve immediately or freeze for a firmer consistency. Makes about 4 servings of Banana “Nice Cream”.
Check out more banana treats in our article.
Honey Oat Bread – Healthy Snack
This healthy snack is a perfect blend of wholesome ingredients that your kids will love! It’s made with whole grains, oats, and honey for added sweetness.
Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well-blended, adding more water if necessary to create the right dough consistency (it should be slightly wetter than regular bread dough).
Cover and let rise for at least an hour, then punch down and let rise again for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F while you wait. On a floured surface, cut the risen into two sections and roll each half into a long snake-like loaf.
Slice each half into 2-inch pieces and place in a greased bread pan, staggered slightly so they fit together snugly. Let rise again for 30 minutes, then bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Makes 1 large loaf of Honey Oat Bread.
Healthy Fruit Smoothie
This is a great snack for kids on the go. It only takes two minutes to prepare and five ingredients, so it’s quick enough that your child won’t notice they’re eating healthy! The perfect blend of fruit makes this smoothie filling sweet without being too sugary or pageant-inspired in its flavor profile – just right if you ask me!).
Directions: Place ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy! Pour into a glass, add toppings to your taste preference, stir, and enjoy! Makes about 2 servings of Healthy Fruit Smoothie.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
For an easy and healthy snack, grilled cheese sandwiches are sure to please your kids. They’re delicious in any form – on bread with tomatoes as a sauce for example!
Directions: Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place bread on a pan (like you would for regular grilled cheese) buttered side down. Add cheese and finish with the second slice of bread (buttered side up). Cook in a conventional oven at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes until golden brown, checking every few minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn!
Apple Chips – Healthy Snack
The perfect healthy snack for kids is Apple Chips. The great thing about these chips is that they’re made from 100% apples, so you don’t have to worry about any artificial flavors or preservatives!
A simple way of ensuring good dental hygiene in children can be by giving them snacks with fresh fruit as the main ingredient – this will help prevent tooth decay while also providing nutrients necessary for strong gums and muscles around their mouth area
Ingredients: 2 apple
Directions: Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil (easy cleanup!). Slice the apples as thin as possible using a mandoline slicer. Lay them out on the lined baking sheet leaving about an inch or two of space between them so they don’t touch. Bake the apples in the oven for 2-3 hours, turning them over at 1 hour and 2 hours. Allow cooling before serving or storing in an airtight container for later! Makes about 3 servings of Apple Chips.
Skinny Pop Popcorn
There’s nothing like a bag of Skinny Pop popcorn to make your day better. With only 80 calories per cup, it is the perfect snack for any occasion!
Directions: Place the kernels and olive oil in a microwavable bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap (I like to use these soup bowls for easy pouring when it’s done!). Microwave for 2 minutes, then remove and stir. Repeat until you hear all of the kernels make a popping sound (my microwave takes 4 rounds). Add parmesan cheese and stir well to coat popcorn. Serve in small bowls or cups with your favorite movie! Makes about 6 servings of Skinny Pop Popcorn.
Keep Those Healthy Snacks Accessible to Kids
The difference between your child’s healthy snack and unhealthy snack is often the ease of access. If it’s kept in an easily accessible place, they will be much more likely to get it on their own! But if you make the healthy snacks fun and interesting for them, maybe they’ll be more willing to try something new!
Here are some ideas I’ve come up with that may help:
- Keep a list on the fridge of healthy snack options for your kids. This way any time they’re hungry or just craving a little something, you can remind them that there are healthier options available instead of going straight to the junk food cupboard!
- Label healthy snacks with their names. If your kids see the snack as something personal, they will be more willing to try it!
- Keep healthy snacks within easy reach. The moment you have to get your child out of his or her seat to get a snack is the moment they are likely to say no. Keep these items right by them instead!
- Make healthy snacks fun! Cut sandwiches into shapes, pile fruit on top of each other, take cheese slices and roll them up before slicing – anything that makes your yummy snack look fun will attract your kid’s attention!
- Use plates that have dividers. These are great because then you can keep several different types of foods separate without having to worry about flavors together. It’s much easier to try a new food if you know there’s a barrier between it and your favorite snack!
- If your children love sweets, there is an amazing selection of gluten free sweets that your kids can enjoy.
The snacks above are not only healthy but fun as well! If you make snacking a fun activity rather than one filled with guilt about “missing out” on your child’s favorite snack, they may be more willing to try what Mom has when she offers it.
The key is making sure they have plenty of choices from which to choose when hunger strikes in order to avoid having a meltdown when healthy snacks for kids or treats are made available! Don’t give up! Make snacks that include healthy foods that the whole family will enjoy, even if it takes time for them to warm up to the idea of trying something new.