The Kids Cook Real Food Approved List of Healthy Snacks for Kids

Since the pandemic started, I’ve been connecting with a lot of parents and listening to their biggest concerns around food.

Particularly when I was presenting on how to raise more adventurous eaters and reduce picky eating power struggles for families, busy moms kept asking for a list of healthy snacks for kids.

kids making healthy snacks

In our Kids Cook Real Food members-only Facebook group and even from a podcast host who was interviewing me, I was getting the same question:

Katie, don’t you have a list somewhere of good ideas for easy, healthy snacks for kids?

I admit that may have been one of the few times I was speechless. 😉

Of course, I want to help parents and kids find healthy snack options, and I was quite shocked that I had not actually ever published a comprehensive snacking list.

Sure we have our free gift, 10 Healthy Snacks Kids Can Make, and that’s been available for a few years. However, those are all homemade snacks, and although some of them are easy, they all take a little investment of time.

If you haven’t already taught your kids to cook, you might be looking for something a little less hands-on and recipe-based.

ranch dips with veggies

During our own pandemic experience, as I talked about in this Healthy Parenting Connector Live, we instituted a household manager strategy during the summer. The kids had no responsibilities and the parents still had full workdays required, so we passed more responsibility than ever on to the kids.

Our three older kids were completely responsible for snacks and lunch during weekdays. In order to help them make healthy choices, I typed up as exhaustive a list as I could think of, of both snack and lunch options.

I will share soon over on Kitchen Stewardship some ideas for lunch during summer, homeschool, or virtual learning days, but let’s talk about these snacks.

Warning: These Snacks Are Simple

I’m not lazy, but I always think simple is better.

And I can tell you that my kids agree!

Although they had this list, which is pretty long, a few dozen options, my kids tended toward single-ingredient, easy-to-grab snacks.

They were always healthy, except on those days when they would choose to have their dessert for the day at snack time. This is totally okay in our household. (Again, sharing on that quite soon.)

homemade granola bars

But ultimately I want to encourage you to embrace the simple. As long as your snacks are healthy, why complicate things?

What about Prepackaged Snacks for Kids?

When I told my team that I really wanted to publish a list of healthy snacks for kids and I thought that it would help a lot of parents, some of them disagreed.

They said things like, “You know, Katie, I don’t know if parents struggle that much with snacks. I think a lot of people have a snack basket, shelf, or cupboard with prepackaged, crunchy snacks that kids are allowed to grab.”

I thought about that. I’ve seen lots of pictures on Pinterest and Instagram of snack organizational strategies. I even have some snack organization strategies on Kitchen Stewardship.

My team member was totally right.

There are baskets of chips and pretzels, baskets of granola bars, and baskets of single-serve fruit cups and applesauce.

There are those squeezy pouches and, of course, all of the crunchy snacks that might go in the general goldfish cracker family.

Do parents really want healthy snacks that might be homemade?

Or, like many schools, are they looking for packaged healthy treat ideas?

Fortunately, I talk with enough families who are dedicated to providing real food for their kids that I know this is still a need. So here goes!

Easy, Healthy Snacks for Kids: A Simple List

Here’s exactly the list I shared with my kids for the summer.

What my kids choose most (i.e. the easiest snacks!):

  • Trail mix: nuts and dried fruit
  • Cheese and clean ingredient crackers or homemade
  • Paleovalley meat sticks (Use the code KITCHEN10 for 10% of!)
  • Whole, fresh fruit: bananas and apples are usually on hand, as well as occasionally peaches, pears, blueberries — whatever is in season or on sale!
  • Cut up a melon to share
  • Homemade muffins or bars (usually when Leah is inspired to make something)
  • Apples and peanut butter (which I bet my daughter eats five out of seven days)
  • Fruit rolls or apple chips

homemade crackers and cheese

Our Favorite Homemade Muffins and Bars

In case you (or your kids) are looking for something to make:

girl with homemade muffins

Other Healthy Snack Ideas I Suggested:

Homemade gelatin

Better Than a Box: How to Transform Processed Food Recipes Into Whole Food FavoritesEvery real food cook needs some basic resources that everyone recognizes.

If you have a desire to cook real food more fluently or gain confidence in remaking some of your own processed style recipes using only whole foods, you’ll love the bestselling eBook Better Than a Box.

With 60 ready-to-go recipes and 100 pages of kitchen tutorials, your family will be singing your real food praises in no time. Click HERE for more info on the premium package, including the Kindle version.

Will Kids Eat Vegetables for Snack?

I’m disappointed to admit that my kids rarely, if ever, choose vegetables for a snack.

That’s why we really work hard to include vegetables at breakfast, raw veggies in their packed school lunches, and lots of different colors and types of vegetables at dinner, as I talked about in this how-to roast vegetables tutorial.

Some families have done much better than me at encouraging vegetables for a snack. Check out this quote from one of our members.

E’s favorite “snack” is to cut up a tomato and half of a cucumber and drizzle it with olive oil and red wine vinegar. L prefers cut-up fresh fruit. And thanks to Kids Cook Real food, all I have to do is purchase the ingredients.

Don’t you love that?

Kids making their own snacks and upping their game to make them healthier is just one of the dozens of benefits of teaching your kids to cook, and now that process can be even easier.

Because we realized that kids and parents were having a lot of screen time virtual learning together, we decided to make our classes even more independently accessible for older kids, ages 8 and up.

Paul's homemade casserole

Kids Cook Solo is our new independent training program, where the kids have their own membership dashboard with all the instructions written directly to them.

It’s kid-friendly, easy language, no sidebars, or distractions. Lots of quick dopamine hits to keep them moving forward and even some presentation skills included.

Once the kids watch our professionally filmed videos and learn the skill, they are instructed to get out all the ingredients they’ll need, and then prepare a short presentation for their adult to teach what they’ve learned.

This accomplishes a few things.

One, the child learns better, because teaching is the best research-backed way to learn.

Two, the adult can be assured that their child has learned the skills and will be safe in the kitchen.

Three, the child gets presentation practice, another life skill sneaking in there.

Four, the adult knows when the child will start actually cooking the recipe because part of the presentation is to ask for permission.

If you have kids ages 8 and up, who would love to be independent in the kitchen, but you would love them to be able to work independently so that you don’t have to teach them, Kids Cook Solo is about to be your best friend.

Learn more about Kids Cook Solo!

Kids don’t need any prior kitchen experience to take this program; and even if they’re not already motivated to learn to cook, as soon as they see the look on your face when they present you with their first recipe, they’ll be hooked.

Check out details on the affordably priced program here.

A Few More Ideas for Healthy Snacks for Kids

FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 Snacks Kids can Make

healthy snack ideas for kids

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