Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids

Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids

healthy snack ideasMost American children are eating high-calorie snacks that offer little nutrition.1 Smart snacking is a great way for your young children and preschoolers to meet their daily nutrient requirements that they could be missing at meal times.

Children need energy throughout the day, and thinking of snacks as “mini-meals” with foods from the food groups provides that energy and adds nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

Quiz! Click on the snack you think is the healthiest choice for your kids:

A. Baby carrots and celery sticks
B. Apple slices and yogurt
C. Pretzels with fruit gummy snacks

Snack Ideas from the Food Groups

These three guidelines will help you choose healthier snacks for your child.

  1. Start with snacks from the food groups. American kids don't typically get enough of low-fat dairy, vegetables, fruit and whole grains, so start with these!
  2. Think of snacks as mini meals and combine two or more food groups for a healthy snack.
  3. Choose snacks with protein from milk, nuts, eggs or lean meats to help them feel full longer. Add foods rich in carbohydrates like fruits, grains or vegetables for energy.

Try these quick and nutritious snack ideas from the food groups:






  • String cheese and fruit
  • Milk or yogurt smoothies with juice and sliced bananas or strawberries
  • Cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit (fresh or canned)
  • Fat-free or 1% milk





  • Raw vegetables with low-fat yogurt dip, cottage cheese or hummus
  • Baby carrots, celery sticks or cucumber slices
  • Apples and cheese – pears and other fresh fruits work, too!
  • Snack-size applesauce
  • 100% fruit juice box




  • Whole-grain crackers with cheese or peanut butter
  • Whole-grain cereal with milk
  • Baked potato chips, or tortilla chips with salsa
  • Popcorn – air popped or low-fat microwave
  • Pretzel sticks and a glass of milk
  • Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit

Make a Smart Snack Plan

To serve my child a healthier snack, I will pick food from 2 food groups:

Add by serving

Add by serving

I will start this Smarter Snacking Plan on

Print Your Plan + More Snack Ideas

Once you've filled in your plan, you can print it along more tips and snack ideas that you can hang on your refrigerator as a reminder!   

Pop-up Code

Tips for Making Healthier Snacks for Your Kids

Looking for more ways to improve your snacking? Consider these tips to raise your snacking game a level: 

  • Is your family always on the run? Make a quick smoothie with frozen fruit, yogurt and juice. Drink it on the road!
  • Pair a healthy food with an indulgent one, like trail mix with nuts, dried fruit and chocolate chips
  • Make time to shop more often to keep healthy snacks – cheese, fruit, vegetables – fresh and available. 
  • Enjoy protein-rich foods such as nuts, hard-boiled eggs, cheese or yogurt for satiety and long-lasting energy. 
  • Swap out less nutritious snacks gradually. Instead of a candy bar every afternoon, offer a fruit sorbet or frozen yogurt with nuts. 
  • Create a way to bring perishable foods on-the-go. Purchase cold packs and insulated lunch bags.
  • Make snacks fun by chopping colorful fruits and vegetables into small portions or using cookie cutters to cut sandwiches into different shapes.  

Recipes + More Tips for Healthy Snacks

Put Your Plan In Action + Involve Your Kids

Now that you've learned so much about healthy snacking, what's next? First, use the above Action Plan to make a commitment to healthier snacking. Second, help your child learn about healthier snacks by watching the Healthy Snacks video and playing the My Very Own Pizza game.


Rate This Page