We know that a bag of chips or a candy bar is not healthy, yet many popular kids’ snacks get a reputation as being healthy, but in actuality, they are packed with sugar and carbs. Often they may be lower in fiber, protein, and good fats than you’d imagine too, so your kids are not really reaping any rewards.
And unless you know that what you’re feeding your kids isn’t good for them, you likely won’t be able to trade their go-to snacks for something similar but healthier.
Luckily, there are tons of snacks kids like that can be balanced and have all the macro and micronutrients they need to feel fuller longer.
Healthy Snack Ideas For Kids
Most simple healthy snacks for kids are packaged and can be store-bought, as is, or they can be paired with other healthy foods to make for a well-rounded snack.
For easy healthy snack ideas, you can add more protein, fat, and fiber to a packaged snack that they like, such as a Bobo’s Oat Bar by topping it with something filling, like nut butter, Greek yogurt, or even avocado. A snack like this will not only be popular with your kids, but also encourage stable blood sugar and provide them with sustainable energy throughout the day.
Healthy Swaps For Snacks Kids Like
Here are a few alternatives for various popular kids snacks that are surprisingly unhealthy—these will be more filling and won’t have extraordinary carb and sugar levels to spike their blood sugar or lead to a crash later on.
Swap Applesauce for Apple With Nut Butter
Packaged applesauce is a popular snack idea for kids, but it is also pretty high in sugar and carbs. Get this—80 percent of its calories come from sugar! How crazy is that? And it isn’t high in fiber, so it won’t fill them up. Instead, have your kids enjoy fresh apple slices with some fat and protein, such as almond butter on top.
Swap Sweet Yogurt Parfaits for Plain, Unsweetened Greek Yogurt
Sugary yogurts, like those that are artificially-flavored, are popular kids snacks, but they are high in sugar and carbs, which will spike blood sugar levels. Plus, they usually come with unhealthy, sweet toppings, such as granola, cookies, or rainbow sprinkles.
Instead, use an unsweetened, plain Greek or Skyr yogurt, made with little sugar and carbs, while providing gut healthy probiotics to keep your kids’ digestion and immune system in check. You can chop up and add a Bobo’s Oat Bar to your cup of yogurt, along with some fresh berries or banana, which is much healthier than store-bought granola and dessert-like toppings.
Swap Cereal and Milk for Homemade Oat Bowls
Cereal and milk is a classic combo and it falls under the categories of snacks kids like and can enjoy not just for breakfast but also for an afternoon pick-me-up. And even without the milk, sometimes kids snack on cereal, granola or other packaged trail mixes that are high in carbs, lacking in fiber, and high in sugar.
Even the healthy-sounding cereals, like Raisin Bran, have excess sugar and little fiber, which will leave your kids hungry shortly after. Instead, make your own trail mix or “cereal bowl” by crumbling a Bobo’s Oat Bar and adding milk to a bowl. Or make a healthier granola with nuts and seeds, like almonds and pistachios, and pumpkin seeds.
Swap Fruit Snacks for Fresh Fruit Chia Pudding
Fruit snacks look cute and are fun to eat, but they are really just pure sugar, so don’t let the “fruit” in the name mislead you into thinking this snack idea for kids is as nutritious as fresh fruit would be. Swap out the fruit snacks and whip up a chia seed pudding with fruit as a topper.
This is an easy healthy snack idea for kids that will have way more fiber, good fats, and protein to pair with the fresh, naturally sweetened fruit that will keep them fuller for longer. Make overnight PB&J chia seed pudding the night before and it’ll be ready the next day—just grab from the fridge.
Swap Store-Bought Juice for a Homemade Smoothie
Store-bought juice is often high in sugar and carbs, and stripped of its fiber. For example, if you typically buy store-bought apple juice, your kids are not getting the fiber (known as pectin) found in the skin of the apples like you would with a homemade smoothie made with the same fruit.
You’re better off making a smoothie at home that has some sweetness from fruit but also some greens, good fats and protein, to boost satiety and not spike blood sugar. Make the lean mean coconut smoothie, which is packed with greens, protein, and healthy fat.