My group, the Semi-Crunchy Mama® Club, has a weekly Meal Planning Monday thread, and most people focus on dinners for the week. Totally valid, since decision fatigue kicks in and that's the meal that takes the most planning and coordination.
But for most of us with limited child-care options and closed schools for the last few months, and summer kicking off, snacks become the bane of our existence. Or you AND your kids are bored of the usual suspects.
If you missed it, I last posted 17 ideas for breakfast, and then 17 ideas for dinner, and now here are some ideas for snacks! Use them as a jumping off point, and substitute as needed. This is a simple list--you can even print the graphic out--and I'll add details, recipes, and dietary restriction advice in these posts.
We definitely have bags of snacky foods around, too, but I try to get less processed items into them as well.
None of them are earth-shaking, but if you're stuck in a rut, just one or two new ideas can help mix things up enough. I've linked a few recipes, but there's no right or wrong variation of these. Let me know which idea is your favorite or the most helpful!
17 Easy, Healthy Snacks for Kids
- salami slices
- cheese and crackers
- hummus with crackers/pretzels/veg
- carrots and ranch
- pretzels and chocolate hummus
- banana with nut butter
- apple slices with nut butter or cheese
- deviled eggs
- ham and cheese roll ups
- avocado toast
- trail mix
Vegan! Gluten-free! Technically a fruit! Substitute or add pickles, or level up with sauerkraut.
My kids will eat an entire can of black olives in one sitting. They're weird. Clearly green olives are far superior.
Olives are salty, but they contain a decent amount of fiber, and monounsaturated fat to keep them full longer. My kids like black and kalamata olives best. I like green and castelvetrano olives. I'm just a fan of anything that's already prepped for them to eat and not made of chemicals.
Ok, I don't have a vegan version of this. Also check for dairy/whey if needed. There's one from Trader Joe's that my kids like.
Combine with olives and voila! Charcuterie.
Another salty option, but it's not pure carbs, either. It can be tough to get protein/fat into my kids quickly, especially in the summer when they're happy to subsist on popsicles.
Cheese and Crackers
Many gluten-free/vegan cracker options available. There are some vegan "cheez" spreads (Kite Hill is one brand), or just use a dip..
My oldest is a huge fan of crackers with goat cheese. Drizzle the cheese with honey if you're fancy. This can also be part of a charcuterie/cheese board if you're willing to put in more effort than me.
So many choices of items to dip!
Most hummus is vegan already. Eat with crackers, pita bread/chips, or crudites like carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers. My kids like it with gluten-free pretzels, too.
Carrots and Ranch
Or your choice of veggies like broccoli, snap peas, peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, celery, etc.
I've been most successful offering this as their 4pm snack right before dinner. Then if they fill up on carrots, I don't feel terrible if they don't eat as much of their meal. I know some parents are skeptical because it seems like their kids are just eating ranch dressing with a carrot, but it's better than no carrots! And kids need a lot more calories than we do because they're more active and growing.
If you're up to making your own:
- Paleo "Dump Ranch" contains egg, but I will verify that it's tasty.
- Here's a vegan version that I haven't tried, but the tofu/cashew combo looks super creamy. If you have a ranch recipe already you could also try a non-dairy milk with a little apple cider vinegar to create vegan "buttermilk."
Pretzels and Chocolate Hummus
Fruit slices are also good, or my kids like dipping Bamba (the peanut puff snacks) in it.
Yes, it has a little sugar, but hey! Beans! We get it from Trader Joe's, so chances are high that my kids would refuse a homemade version.
Here's a straightforward recipe to try if you're so inclined.
Also works for lunch, or load them up for dinner.
Most basic: chips, shredded cheese (or vegan shreds, or make a "cheez" sauce).
- sliced black olives
- diced tomato or pico de gallo if your kids tolerate such things
- sautéed zucchini
- steamed cauliflower (shout out to Little Tijuana's in Minneapolis for this idea at 2am)
- black beans
- leftover taco meat or veggie crumbles
- top with lettuce, green onions, salsa, sour cream, avocado or guacamole
Now Planet of Nachos is stuck in my head and I'm hungry.
Banana with Nut Butter
Sounds boring, but try mixing it up with different types of nut butters like cashew or macadamia, or add sprinkles or chocolate chips if you're nicer than I am. You can also cut them into slices and let them make tiny sandwiches, or freeze the slices for a creamy summer treat.
Treat yourself to one with some chocolate hazelnut butter. I don't lie to my kids as a rule, but I might have told my oldest that my jar of it was spicy. Oops.
Apple Slices with Nut Butter or Cheese
Same rules as the nut butter options for bananas (the chocolate chips might be weird, but my kids would still eat them).
I also love apples with cheddar cheese, or our farmers market has a lemon quark cheese that's amaaaaazing with them. My oldest loves brie which is another tasty option.
No vegan option for these, either, but they're a favorite at our house. I highly recommend hard boiling your eggs in an Instant Pot if you have one (I put them on the trivet, add 1 cup of cold water, steam for 5 minutes, let stand 5 minutes, then put in ice water for 5 minutes).
Seems questionable, but it's a whole grain. Our air popper died (RIP air popper) so we've just been buying giant bags of it at Costco. We also like the Boom Chicka Pop kettle corn.
If I make it at home, I love tossing it with melted vegan margarine or olive oil, salt, and nutritional yeast.
I keep meaning to make coconut yogurt in my Instant Pot (I used to make yogurt with cow's milk at home all the time!), but I haven't. I get full-fat Greek yogurt for my dairy-eating peeps, and we often have granola or fruit for toppings. They also like jam or honey.
This seems like a quintessential kid food, but sometimes I forget about it. We have pouches for school lunches, but we often fill up a Squeasy re-usable container, or at home they just have a bowl. My kids like it with cinnamon.
I like to make my own in the fall.
I included this in my breakfast ideas, but my kids love these, especially in the afternoon.
A super simple version is a banana (bonus points if it's frozen), a spoonful of nut butter, and your choice of milk. Throw in 2 handfuls of spinach if they'll still drink green things.
We freeze any extra into homemade popsicles which also go over well.
Ham and Cheese Rolls Ups
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of my snack choices focus on getting fat and protein into my kids. They also eat plain tofu, so that's a vegan option for you! I prefer baked tofu, myself.
My oldest would ask for ham and cheese sandwiches in his lunch, then wouldn't eat the bread (my kids are weird). So we just stopped sending bread. He likes Black Forest ham and cheddar cheese, and we just roll the ham around a strip of cheese and use a toothpick to hold it together. Toothpicks make everything more stabby and fun.
My son asked me what I was writing about, and when I told him it was about snacks, he said, "You should put avocado toast on there." He was impressed that I already had.
This was also in my breakfast post, but I stand by it! Crunchy toast (use GF bread if needed) and creamy avocado are a perfect snack.
My children prefer to ask for trail mix and then just eat the chocolate, but sometimes we make our own trail mix with mixed nuts that they'll actually eat and fewer raisins and chocolate chips.
That's 17 ideas for you!
I hope that you're inspired or motivated to try something from this list, or that it just reminds you of some options you forgot about. Join us in the Semi-Crunchy Mama™ Club for weekly inspiration and support.
Previously: 17 Easy Breakfast Ideas
and 17 Easy Dinner Ideas.