Skip the potato chips, fruit snacks, graham crackers, and candy. If you’re in a rut, here are some quick “real food” snack ideas for inspiration that kids will love (and adults, too!), perfect for after-school or anytime, really.
Sticking with simple wholesome ingredients keeps snack time easy and fun. Most of these ideas can also be used for healthy breakfasts, too! Have the kids go through this list with you so they can pick out their favorite snack food.
- Combine some of the suggestions below in creative ways (for example, combine some fruit with yogurt to make a yogurt parfait, or make a fruit salad and drizzle some honey on top)
- Most of the fruits below are also great frozen. Ever blended up frozen bananas to make “ice cream”? Try it!
- If you’re looking for school lunch ideas, any of these would be great in a school lunch box!
- If you have a picky eater, combining several of these snacks onto a plate—tapas style!—could make a well-rounded lunch or easy breakfast
Printable List of Snack Ideas
Many readers have requested a printable version of this list, so we added one to our free resource area! You can access many other free real food resources there as well.
Fruits and Vegetables
This is a great way to ensure your kids are getting in an extra dose of fruits and vegetables. I like to have raw veggies and fresh fruit cut up and easily accessible for my kids, making it even easier for them to grab a healthy snack any time of day. Plus, sometimes a piece of fruit can satisfy their sweet tooth without needing to grab a candy bar. If you have a picky eater, try serving your veggies with creamy dips (what kid doesn’t love dipping their food?).
- Apple (good with peanut butter, or almond butter)
- Banana (good with peanut butter, or almond butter)
- Carrots (good with hummus or ranch dip)
- Celery (good with peanut butter and raisins a.k.a. “Ants on a Log”)
- Strawberries (good with regular or Greek yogurt)
- Blueberries (good with regular or Greek yogurt)
- Raspberries (good with regular or Greek yogurt)
- Peaches (good with regular or Greek yogurt)
- Avocado (good with soy sauce and brown rice)
- Star Fruit
- Figs (good with goat cheese)
- Honeydew Melon
- Edamame (good with soy sauce, or drizzle with a little olive oil + kosher salt)
- Raw Sugar Snap Peas (good with hummus)
- Cooked Green Beans
- Mashed Sweet Potato (good with butter and cinnamon)
- Raw Sliced Bell Peppers (good with hummus or ranch dip)
- Cucumber Slices (good with ranch dip)
- Cherry Tomatoes (good with ranch dip)
- Cooked Snow Peas
- Frozen Peas (frozen…no cooking necessary!)
- Raw Cauliflower
- Raw Broccoli (good with ranch dip)
- Unsweetened Raisins
- Fruit Leathers
- Freeze Dried Fruit (like mango, banana, blueberries or strawberries)
- Dried Apple Rings, or pineapple rings
- Canned Fruit like Mandarin Oranges (Native Forest brand does not use sugary syrups in their cans)
There are a lot of great store-bought snack ideas here with whole grains and only a handful of ingredients listed. If you can’t find any at your local grocery store, scroll down to see some homemade healthy snack recipes.
- Whole Grain Crackers (like Triscuits, Multi-Seed, Ak-Mak, Whole-Wheat Matzos, Brown Rice Crackers/Snaps, Whole-Grain Rye Crackers topped with cheese, peanut butter, almond butter, or a cream cheese and jelly combo)
- Popcorn (make it using “The Popcorn Trick”)
- Oatmeal (served warm in a Thermos if sending to school)
- Shredded Wheat (look for brands that contain 1-ingredient)
- Arrowhead Mills Puffed Whole Grain Cereal (corn, brown rice, wheat or millet variety)
- Brown Rice Cakes
- Whole-Wheat Pretzels
- Whole-Grain Toast
- Small, Cooked Whole-Grain Noodles
Nuts and Seeds
Have the kids pick their favorite nuts to create their very own trail mix! Nuts and seeds make great filling snacks that can hold them over till their next meal. Best part is that you can throw them in a baggy and easily take them with you on the go.
- Pine Nuts (they are good lightly toasted)
- Sesame Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Nut Trail Mix including Dried Fruit
Other Snack Ideas
Here are some other easy snacks that are also a good source of protein.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
- Garbanzo Beans
- Cheese (cubes or sticks…with or without crackers)
- Plain Whole Milk or Greek Yogurt (flavored with a little honey or maple syrup and vanilla extract)
- Organic and/or Local Bacon
Homemade Snack Ideas
I like to keep my freezer stocked with muffins for my girls—it’s one of their favorite snacks, so this makes it super convenient for them to pull some out for a quick afternoon snack on their own. Most of these homemade recipes are so quick and easy to make, that even the kids can help out!
- Homemade Granola Bars
- Homemade “Larabars”
- Whole-Wheat Toaster Pastries (a.k.a. Pop Tarts!)
- Smoothies or Smoothie Pops
- Whole-Wheat Banana Bread
- Zucchini Chips
- Whole-Wheat Zucchini Bread (made into muffins)
- Whole-Wheat Pumpkin Bread (made into muffins)
- Whole-Grain Cornbread (made into muffins)
- Whole-Wheat Berry Muffins
- Pecan Maple Breakfast Cookies
- Easy Cheesy Crackers
- Kale Chips
- Homemade Powerballs
- Whole-Wheat Biscuits (good with butter and jelly) or Buttermilk Cheese Biscuits
- Cinnamon Glazed Popcorn<
- Whole-Wheat “Baked” Donuts
Share your snack ideas with us in the comments below!