21 Whole Food Snack Ideas for Children
With Spring in sight and thoughts of gardening swirling in my brain, I’m once again reminded of my ongoing healthy mommy and healthy family goal of processed food elimination in my pantry–at the very least a reduction in processed food snacks. Though you won’t find any twinkies or gobstoppers on my shelves, it’s not unusual to find processed crackers (e.g., Saltines, Ritz, Wheat Thins), Goldfish and baking treats, all which capture my children’s attention more than whole food options, like fruit, cheese or veggies.
When processed snacks wind up in my house, it’s usually because they are extremely convenient. The quick answer to ongoing requests for snacks. Pop open a box. Bam! Instantly content kids.
It’s not that putting whole food snacks together necessarily takes a lot of effort or even costs more than processed food, but planning a menu of whole food snacks that will appeal to all of my children trips me up.
Since I know there must be other parents who feel this same way, I’ve put together a list of 21 Easy Whole Food Snack Ideas for Children. Here goes. Oh, and if you have other ideas to share, please share ’em below.
21 Easy Whole Food Snack Ideas for Children
1. The bottomless fruit bowl. I try to keep a fruit bowl or drawer in my refrigerator with fruit that is “fair game” for eating anytime. Apples are most popular with my kids.
2. Dried Fruit. Some moms successfully keep dried fruit snack baskets or containers in their pantries, or put together mini mixed dried fruit baggies at the beginning of a week. Examples: apple rings, dried pineapple, raisins, craisins.
3. Boiled eggs. Kids love to peel them–and then eat the reward.
4. Nuts & seeds. Assuming your household is allergy free–nuts or seeds, like sunflower seeds, are usually a healthy option. Be sure to read the label for sodium content though.
5. Veggie sticks & dip. Kids love to dip. Ranch dressing is often a hit. Homemade hummus is easy to make too!
6. Sliced fruit. Slice up watermelon, cantaloupe or pineapple ahead of snack time & store in an air-tight container. Pull out the container and voila! Snacks are ready to eat–and before any whining begins.
7. Homemade Granola bars. It’s really easy (and inexpensive) to make your own granola bars. Really. Check out some easy recipes at Allrecipes.com. Add whatever your kids will like. Make ahead of time and store.
8. Gorp. Good-‘ol-fashioned raisins and peanuts (and maybe mini baking chocolates or a scoop of m&ms–go easy, since the object here is processed food reduction and whole food snacks!). Make a big batch and store in an airtight container.
9. Muffins. Double or triple your favorite, healthy muffin batch. Bake & freeze. Defrost before snack time. *Use applesauce, preferably homemade, as an oil or butter substitute.
10. Popcorn. Remember the old fashioned way to make popcorn? On the stove or with an air popper? Ditch the microwave bags and do it the healthy way.
11. Cheese. Cut cubes of cheese or buy stringed cheese. Cheese is hit or miss in my household with the kids, but I always love it, especially if it’s Cabot’s Cheddar!
12. Yogurt. Did you know you can buy yogurt when it’s on sale and freeze it? Now, you can always have yogurt on hand. Watch for sugar content and opt for organic or reduced sugar options when possible. Of course, you can always make your own, too.
13. Fruit Kabobs. Chop up fruit and put it on a stick. It always tastes better this way. Ask the kids.
14. Smoothies. Don’t let awesome fresh fruit sales pass you by or waste the fruit you have, freeze it and pull it out at snack time and make fruit smoothies.
15. Ants on a log. An oldie, but a goodie. Timeless. Peanut butter (or another nut butter) and raisins on celery. Yum. I feel like I’m 9 again whenever I eat ants on a log.
16. Apple sandwiches. Cut a couple of rings of apples, spread on peanut butter, top with raisins or other goodies, and stack rings on top of each other.
17. Applesauce. Making your own is ideal–make tons and can it! If you can’t do this, look for healthy options at the store and stock up.
18. Rice/Popcorn cakes. Often popular with kids, but read the labels! Not every kind is healthy.
19. Fruit salad. Prepare fruit salad and have it accessible in the fridge.
20. Pretzels. Look for natural, low-sodium versions–or make your own. Kids love to help with these in the kitchen!
21. Bagels. Bagels & cream cheese are kid-friendly. Ever made your own bagels? Takes a little time, but the rewards are great–plus, you can tweak the ingredients to reflect your whole foods & nutritional interests or needs.
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