Snacks don’t need to be unhealthy. There are plenty of healthy snack options that give your school-aged kids important nutrients and help satisfy hunger between meals.
Try these healthy snack ideas.
Combine fruits and veggies with dairy or proteins:
- Make “ants on a log” (celery with peanut butter and raisins)
- Add fruit (fresh, frozen, dried, or canned) to fat-free or low-fat yogurt — look for canned, dried, and frozen fruit with no added sugars
- Blend fruit and yogurt with a small amount of 100% fruit juice to make a tasty smoothie — try soy yogurt with added calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D for a non-dairy option
- Dip vegetable “matchsticks” (thin sticks made from fresh carrots, zucchini, or bell peppers) in hummus (a dip made from chickpeas)
- Top apple slices with nut butter — or try them on their own
- Keep fresh fruit in a place that’s easy to reach in the refrigerator or on the kitchen table — this will make it easier for kids to grab a healthy choice
Combine whole grains with dairy or proteins:
- Top whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese
- Top whole-wheat bread or rice cakes with nut butter
- Melt low-fat cheese in a whole-wheat tortilla to make quesadillas — try adding black beans for an extra boost of nutrition
- Mix air-popped popcorn with dried fruit and unsalted nuts for homemade trail mix — and serve with a glass of fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk
- Make a mini pizza — top half of a whole-wheat English muffin with spaghetti sauce, chopped vegetables, and low-fat shredded cheese and heat it up in the microwave or oven
Snack healthy on the go.
- Take unsalted nuts and unsweetened dried fruits
- Grab fresh vegetables or fresh fruit
- Pack low-fat string cheese sticks
- Use small reusable containers or baggies to take snacks on the go
Set the rules.
- Teach younger kids to ask before they help themselves to snacks
- Eat snacks at the table or in the kitchen, not in front of the TV or computer
- Serve snacks like pretzels or popcorn in a bowl — try not to let kids snack directly out of the bag or box
- Serve water or fat-free or low-fat milk instead of soda or fruit-flavored drinks
- Most of the time, serve whole fruit instead of juice — when you do serve juice, make sure it’s 100% fruit juice and give kids no more than half a cup per day