10 Surprisingly Healthy Snacks for Kids
These 10 snack ideas offer the perfect combination of fiber, protein and fat — a combo that's sure to satisfy and fuel your busy child.
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The Search for the Perfect Snack
Popcorn is a sure-fire hit with kids, and ... it's a whole grain! Popcorn actually has 4 grams of fiber per 3-cup serving, which makes it a filling snack. Plus, it's endlessly versatile. You can transform air-popped popcorn with all sorts of toppings, including grated cheese, nutritional yeast or cinnamon and sugar.
Buy It: All-Natural Popcorn Kernels: Target, $2.49
Ice pops couldn't be easier or more versatile to whip up. And when you make them yourself, you control exactly what goes in them. These Frozen Orange Pops deliver a helping of vitamin C and calcium to your child, courtesy of the main ingredients: orange juice and nonfat Greek yogurt.
Get the Recipe: Frozen Orange Pops
Here's the thing about cookies: You can make them healthy when you use the right ingredients. Whole-wheat pastry flour can be subbed for white flour in most cookies. Rolled oats add even more fiber. And in some recipes, like these Oatmeal-Chocolate Snack Cakes, you can replace some of the butter with applesauce to lighten up the saturated fat. Serve them with low-fat milk and you have a nutritious, balanced snack for your kids.
Buy It: Organic Rolled Oats: Nuts.com, $19.35
Natural peanut butter (the kind without added sugars and other kinds of fats) is a great snack option. It gives your kids protein and healthy fats, and pairs perfectly with apples, bananas, celery and whole-grain crackers or toast.
Buy It: Justin's Classic Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs: Amazon, $5.03 for 10 packs
Cheese is super-flavorful and satisfying, and gives your kids protein and calcium. The key is making sure it's not in every meal and snack. But a cheese stick paired with apple slices or carrot sticks (or whatever fruits and vegetables your kids like) is the ideal power snack.
Buy It: Borden Extra Sharp Cheddar Snack Bars: Borden, $3.99
Pizza is really just another take on a sandwich, and it can be a vehicle for healthy toppings like olives, sliced peppers, or pineapple and ham. Use whole-wheat English muffins or buy premade whole-wheat pizza dough and have your kids add their favorite toppings.
Get the Recipe: Basic Pizza Dough
Want to make fruit and nuts extra appealing? Dip them in chocolate.
Buy It: Semisweet Baking Chocolate: The Vitamin Shoppe, $4.49
Snacks don't need to be made from snack foods. Serving a sandwich (or half of one) can be a smart solution for snack time. Even grilled cheese can be a good choice when you use 100-percent whole-grain bread and add in sliced apples for extra fiber.
Get the Recipe: Cheddar and Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Crispy Rice Treats
The classic crispy rice-marshmallow-and-butter snack gets a health boost in these Puffed Rice Snowballs, thanks to added dried fruit and seeds. Use puffed whole-grain cereal to make them even better for your kids.
Buy It: Puffed Rice Cereal: Amazon, $3.64
Chips and Dip
A serving of pita or tortilla chips is really fine nutritionally — it has filling fiber and can be a tasty vehicle for healthy dips, such as hummus, black bean dip or salsa.
Buy It: Stonyfield Organic Classic Yogurt Hummus & Multigrain Tortilla Chip Snack Pack: Stonyfield Organic, $2.29