Our girls are out of school for the summer (yeah summer!). This means we are home a lot more and I need to make sure that we have plenty of healthy and kid-friendly snacks around. I get our girls involved in the decision making and prepping, make sure the snacks are easy to find, and I offer a variety of options so there is something for everyone.
Get the Kids Involved
When I am making our grocery list for the week ahead, I get our girls involved and ask them what fruits and veggies etc. they’d like to eat. They might not want to eat hard boiled eggs again, or maybe our 5-year-old has decided she doesn’t like strawberries this week ( sigh ……it happens).
I also want to encourage them to make healthier choices now, so they will continue making them as they get older. I give them guidance, but I always want them to know they have a choice. I’m referring to food like berries, yogurt, and carrots, and not donuts, Doritos and gummy snacks. 🙂 (Mom has veto power here!)
Snack Planning and Prepping
Just like when I meal plan for dinner, I also snack plan. I can’t expect our girls to eat a healthy snack if there aren’t some ready to go. Planning and being prepared are sooo important, and honestly, this is something I am always working on.
It does take a little more time to wash, cut up, and prepare individual portion sizes (if necessary). I promise the extra time is so worth it!! If your kids are old enough, have them help you out where they can!
I’ve also noticed I’m throwing away less food because it’s ready to eat and easy to find. I’m also saving money at the grocery store because I’m not throwing away food or buying more before we really need it.
Having accessible healthy snacks and being prepared go hand in hand. When one of your kids says they are hungry, and it’s an ok time to have a snack, it’ll be super easy to give them one because voila! you have them ready to go!
The big game changer in our house is the grab n go bins I put in the fridge and pantry. Our girls can see what we have to eat and choose what they’d like. The bins in the refrigerator are for fruits, veggies, and one for other foods like cheese sticks, yogurt, and applesauce. I also only let them have 1 “snackie” a day. A snackie in our house is a food like popcorn or crackers, and these bins are in the pantry on a low shelf.
Snacks can be as simple as a cheese stick and some apple slices. Or sometimes a snack calls for a little more creativity! Rice cakes, nut butter, and fruit might not look like an owl when I’m done with them, but I try my best. 🙂 Variety has been the key to keeping our girls interest in eating healthier.
Healthy Snack Ideas
Like most moms, I’ve looked all over Pinterest for healthier snack options for kids. There are some wonderful sites out there! The fabulous and super informative Think Baby has some great ideas for healthy toddler meals that can be used/modified size wise as a snack. Super Healthy Kids has been a lifesaver in our house for finding nutritious meal and snack ideas. Thirty Hand Made Days has a fantastic post on after-school snacks that are perfect for any time of the year! Make sure to check the sites out! You won’t be disappointed!
Here is a list of healthier snacks we keep in our house. I’m a visual person so I also created the snack printable you see above. Click here to download the printable! Sometimes choosing food from a list is way more fun to make your own DIY snack. (Somehow when I add “DIY” to something, the girls are way more interested! ) I hope you are able to get some great ideas!
- Grab n Go bins of individual serving sizes of fruit and veggies in the fridge
- Grab n Go bin with protein sources such as cheese sticks, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs in the fridge
- Grab n Go bin in the pantry with items such as pretzels, whole wheat crackers, popcorn
- Ice cube tray snacks– I did this for our girls when they were younger as a way to offer a variety of foods! It was a hit! (Use an ice cube tray with a lid to save food in the refrigerator for later. Depending on the number of kids, this could be too much food at one time for snacking.)
- Turkey or ham, cheese, and apple slice roll ups
- Hummus with crackers, carrots, or celery
- Apple sandwiches/cookies
- Fruit smoothies
- Fruit and cheese kabobs
- DIY Kids trail mix (cheerios, dried fruit with no added sugar, small amount of mini chocolate chips, nuts if allowed, small pretzels, )
- Real fruit popsicles ( are these just gorgeous or what?!)
- Ants on a log (celery, nut butter and raisins or cranberries)
- Veggies and homemade ranch dressing, or small amount of guacamole
- Homemade mini muffins
- Energy bites
- Rainbow fruit bowl (very simple, just different colored fruit)
- Rice cakes with nut butter
- Yogurt with fruit or granola
No matter the time of year, whether it’s after school or summer time, having healthier snacks in the kitchen is always a great idea. If your kids are old enough to help out, getting them involved in choosing healthier food can help them make better food choices as they get older. By taking a little extra time to prepare and get food ready, kids (and even adults!) are less likely to choose a bag of chips over beautiful fruits and veggies. And definitely keeping the yummy more nutritious food easily accessible is key!
I am far from perfect, and not every snack in the house would be considered whole grain or even whole food. I do make sure that there are always lots of healthier options and limit the “snackies” that don’t provide a lot of nutritional value. I hope you were able to get some great new ideas for healthier snacks for your kids!
I’d love to hear what healthy snacks your kids like to eat! Send me email or comment below!