Easy Snacks for Kids: Top Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle
Looking for easy snack ideas for your kids? We think these nutritious make-at-home recipes and store-bought options fit the bill, and are perfect for mornings, afternoons, at school or after school!
If your kids are anything like ours, they are constantly asking for snacks. They ask before a meal, right after a meal, in between meals, and of course, the let’s-delay-bedtime request!
With all these snacking opportunities, it’s so important to make them as nutritious as possible, so your kids are fueling their bodies throughout the day.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with Guiding Stars, a program that helps you easily choose foods and recipes with the most nutrition, to pull together some easy, better-for-you snack ideas.
Many of these snack recipes can be made ahead of time, so you can have them ready for when the “I’m huuuungry”s strike, or are quick and easy to make on the fly.
We love that these easy snack ideas are perfect for kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens, and can be quickly tucked into a lunchbox for school, or enjoyed at home.
And because we know that sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy to follow a recipe and go the homemade route, we’ve even provided you with some store-bought snack options that can add a healthy variety to your kids’ day – all of which rank on Guiding Star’s Good-Better-Best scale (more on that to come!).
Healthy snacking is a great way to increase the amount of nutrients in your child’s diet, so instead of opting for the typical junk food, try some of these easy snack ideas instead.
PIN for when you want the best easy snack ideas for kids
Nutritious Snack Hack!
First things first, we want to share a super simple way to make sure that the snacks you’re making or buying for your kids are as nutritious as possible.
You simply look for the Guiding Stars!
Guiding Stars scores products using a patented algorithm that was developed by independent nutrition science and public health experts. When food or beverage items meet their high standard for nutritional quality, stars are awarded to indicate GOOD, BETTER, or BEST nutrition.
So when you’re shopping at the grocery store, simply look for the Guiding Stars on the shelf/bib tags. This is what they’ll look like:
The Guiding Stars allow you to easily identify nutritious snacks for your kids – or nutritious ingredients to make your own at home.
If a product has no stars, it hasn’t met the nutritional threshold to earn 1, 2 or 3 stars…so move on and choose something with stars instead.
It’s that easy! All you have to do is look for the stars – they’ll guide you to nutritious choices, every time!
Easy Homemade Snack Recipes for Kids
These recipes will provide a healthy variety of snacking options for your kids.
Making homemade snacks is a great way to ensure your children are getting whole ingredients that aren’t overly processed and nutrient-dense foods into their day as part of a healthy diet.
Guiding Stars can also help you identify more nutritious recipes and has a database of over 1,200 recipes that qualify under their good-better-best ranking.
We’ve pulled some of our favorites here (plus added a few of our own) in a variety of different categories, from muffins to granola bars, to smoothies and even cookies!
These yummy snack ideas have been tested to rave reviews from our own kids, and offer plenty of options for everyone – from picky eater toddlers, to sweet-craving teens!
Fun Snacks with Fruit
(1) Fruit Kebabs with Lemon Lime Dip: Put something on a stick, and the chances of your kids eating it goes up tenfold! These fresh fruit kebabs couldn’t be easier to make (ask your kids to help!), and the easy yogurt dip is a great source of calcium.
(2) Peanut Butter & Fruit Rolls: This easy snack is super kid-friendly and perfect to take to school, or for an after-school snack. Use your child’s favorite nut butter, or substitute nut-free butter to make it allergy-safe.
(3) Fruit Leather: Store-bought fruit leather can be full of added sugar, but this homemade version has none. You can cut it in strips or use cookie cutters to make fun shapes. Kids go crazy for these!
(4) Watermelon Pizza: What kid doesn’t like pizza?! This creative snack is a fun take on your average pizza pie, using a slice of watermelon as your “dough” with yogurt and fresh fruit as toppings.
(5) Fruit Salsa: A squeeze of lime and a little zest is a flavorful and fun way to take chopped fruit to the next level.
(6) Candy Corn Parfait: Candy Corn doesn’t just have to be for Halloween with this better-for-you take on the classic candy. Simply layer yellow and orange fruit with yogurt to complete the tri-colored look. Such an easy snack idea, especially for those picky toddlers!
(7) Raspberry Applesauce: This smooth and satisfying applesauce is made with no added sugar or sweeteners, and can be enjoyed by everyone, from toddlers to teens.
Muffins & Breads
(1) Lemon Blueberry Flax Muffins: The classic flavors of lemon and blueberries shine through in these muffins, while the nutritional value soars by using whole wheat flour and ground flax seed.
(2) Raspberry Gems: Your kids will never know that there’s wheat germ hiding in these sweet, yet tart, raspberry muffins. They’re easy to make and great to have on hand as a grab-and-go after school snack!
(3) Banana Chocolate Chip Blender Muffins: We created a healthier, easy muffin recipe that uses just your blender, and is made with simple, wholesome ingredients. These make a perfect morning snack for kids and never last long at our house!
(4) Monster Muffins: These muffins include 6 oz of spinach to give them extra nutrition and their bright green color, but thanks to the fun monster face and delicious flavor, your kids will keep coming back for more.
(5) Banana Raisin Muffins: Sweetened with fruit, these yummy muffins pack in a ton of added goodness and important nutrients thanks to the whole wheat flour and oat bran.
(6) Bread Knots: This bread recipe is packed with protein and can be used as a base to easily make tons of different snacks for kids like breadsticks, rolls, or even pizza!
(7) Banana Bread: The best way to use up ripe bananas is now more nutritious with this Banana Bread recipe that includes flaxseed, whole wheat flour and applesauce.
(8) Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread: This mouth-watering pumpkin bread recipe is packed full of protein, whole ingredients and is gluten-free. Did we mention insanely moist?! A much-loved snack for kids!
(1) Veggies and Dip: Kids eat with their eyes too! This rainbow of crunchy veggies is almost irresistible, especially with a nutritious dip as the pot of gold!
(2) Chocolate Avocado “Frosting”: A nutritious spin on chocolate frosting?! Yes please! This recipe uses dates and avocados and gets a 3-star “best” rating from Guiding Stars for nutrition. Offer it as an afternoon snack with fruit to dip – so good for toddlers and picky eaters!
(3) Fruity Peanut Butter Dip: It’s no secret that young children love to dip, and this one is perfect for a wide array of “dippers”, from apple slices to carrot sticks. A super easy snack idea to pull together quickly.
(4) Pumpkin Hummus: Whether or not you create the veggie pumpkin, this homemade hummus can be enjoyed year-round and is great paired with fruit and crackers too.
(5) Rainbow Veggie Tray: Feeding a crowd for snack time? This platter of fresh vegetables is paired with fun dips to entice even the pickiest of eaters.
Bars & Bites
(1) Allergy-Friendly Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bar: If you’re looking for an allergy-friendly snack, these chewy chocolate chip granola bars are school-approved with no tree nuts, gluten or dairy.
(2) Cashew-Date Snack Bars: You only need 3 simple ingredients to make these sweet and salty no-bake, snack bars. Double the recipe so you have plenty on-hand for .when your kids need a quick snack.
(3) Pumpkin Bites: We love that these snack bites are sweetened with dates, and include extra nutrition with chia and pumpkin seeds. A great easy school snack for kids!
(4) Soft Pumpkin Bars: A scrumptious soft-baked granola bar that will leave your kitchen smelling like Fall.
(5) Peanut Butter Brownie Bites: These easy homemade snack bites offer your kids a nutritious boost of energy at school or after a long day of classes.
(6) No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bars: Packed with whole foods, protein, healthy fats and antioxidants, our no-bake snack bars will refuel your active kids in a hurry.
(7) Homemade Snack Bars: Brown rice cereal is the base of these yummy snack bars, perfect for popping in a lunch box for snack time at school, or for enjoying on-the-go.
Smoothies & Pops
(1) Banana Berry Smoothie: Tofu is the secret ingredient in this gorgeous smoothie – it makes it super creamy!
(2) Strawberry Cheesecake Frozen Yogurt Popsicles: These homemade popsicles make a great snack to cool down with, and include no artificial flavors or dyes found in many store-bought pops.
(3) Peach, Strawberry & Pineapple: Perhaps the easiest snack idea yet! For this 3-fruit smoothie simply combine the fruits in a blender and puree.
(4) Mixed Fruit Smoothie: Use fresh blueberries (or whatever berries you have in stock!) to make this kid-favorite fruit smoothie.
(5) Coconut Water Berry Popsicles: These super refreshing snack pops use coconut water and berries.
(6) Orange Smoothie: A healthier twist on an orange creamsicle!
(7) Pineapple Smoothie: For all those pineapple lovers, this smoothie is as easy as it gets!
(8) Strawberry Almond Butter Smoothie: We love the extra protein your kids will get from the almond butter in this creamy strawberry delight. Serve it as an easy after-school snack to power your kids through their afternoon activities.
(9) Get Your Greens Smoothie: We promise your kids won’t taste the spinach in this smoothie sweetened with cherries, and it’s a great way to add extra nutrition into their snack!
(10) Berry Scary Shake: This beautiful purple shake blends up thick enough to make a fun face, or even to eat with a spoon.
(11) Summer Smoothie: Kids go wild for the classic strawberry-banana flavors in this refreshing treat.
(12) Banana Cream “Sundae”: Your kids will feel like you’re giving them dessert, but will be none the wiser that the ice cream is really just frozen bananas pureed to perfection.
Cookies & Brownies
(1) Zucchini Brownies: This brownie recipe gets 3 Guiding Stars (the best!) thanks to 0g added sugar (banana and dates naturally sweeten it) and have tons of protein to keep your kids fueled. A better-for-you brownie you can serve as a guilt-free snack.
(2) Applesauce Cookies: Ripe bananas and applesauce sweeten these nutritious cookies in this recipe which earned 3 Guiding Stars. These are perfect easy school snacks for kids!
(3) Peanut Butter Banana Oat Cookies: Classic flavors combine to make a delicious better-for-you cookie. Keep a secret stash if you want to enjoy them too, because trust us, they won’t stand a chance once your kids get their hands on them!
(4) Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bake: Your kids will think you baked all day when they taste this delicious cookie-in-a-mug, but it takes under 2 minutes in the microwave to make!
(5) Banana Bran Cookies: These healthier cookies offer a tasty base and can be modified to your child’s tastes by mixing in different fruit, nuts, or even chocolate chips! They’re easy to make at home and great for a quick snack or breakfast.
(6) Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies: Bake up a big batch of these Pumpkin cookies for a Fall flavored snack your whole family with love.
More Easy Snacks For Kids to love
(1) Hummus Cucumber Bites: What an inviting way to eat more veggies! Top sliced cucumbers with hummus, shredded carrot and your child’s favorite cheese.
(2) Cheesy Chickpeas: These highly addictive crunchy bites aren’t actually made with cheese – the cheese flavor comes from nutritional yeast!
(3) Date “Candy”: You wouldn’t think it would be possible to turn dates into candy with no added sugar, but this easy snack recipe proves it is!
(4) Trail Mix: Combine whole-grain cereals, nuts, sunflower seeds and other Guiding Star-worthy ingredients to make your own nutritious trail mix your kids will devour.
(5) Baked Potato Chips: Chips can be tasty snacks yet still offer some nutrition, especially when they’re lightly baked in the oven with just a sprinkle of oil and salt.
(6) Microwave Potato Chips: Or better yet, microwave them! This easy snack recipe uses the microwave to crisp and brown the potatoes into crunchy chips. Yum!
Better-for-you Store-bought Snacks for Kids
We get it, sometimes you just don’t have the time (or energy!) to make a homemade snack from scratch. But choosing a healthy option from the vast array of packaged snacks at the grocery store can be time-consuming, and confusing.
Instead of having to read all the ingredient labels and look past marketing tactics on the packages, Guiding Stars makes it simple to find the most nutritious snacks for kids.
Simply select the snacks with 1, 2 or 3 stars! And if you don’t see the stars at your local grocery store, you can always try the Guiding Stars Food Finder app. Use the app to scan items at the store with your phone, and the number of stars will be instantly displayed.
Here we’ve featured some snacks that get 0 stars vs. a similar option that gets 1, 2 or 3 stars. The choice is simple, pick the best snacks that earn stars to get better nutrition for your kids!
We know it’s important to provide healthy meals for our kids, but we hope this has given you the extra boost to focus on providing healthy options at snack time as well.
And now you know about the Guiding Stars, it’ll be easier than ever to select at the store or online.
What are your favorite healthy snacks for kids? Let us know in the comments below!