“I’m starving!” is the common anthem of school children around the world as they fly through the front door after school. If you aren’t prepared for snacktime, they can and will eat you out of house and home. With a little advance research you can prepare a few easy healthy snack recipes and have great options on hand for your loved ones. When you are looking for healthy snack recipes, you generally want something that is quick and easy to make and appealing to kids.
Tips for a Healthy Snack
Choosemyplate.gov offers some healthy snack guidelines for parents who are looking to provide nutritional snacks for their families. Their tips include:
- Slice veggies ahead of time to make them readily available.
- Mix it up – mixing dried fruit with nuts or popcorn.
- Drink milk as a snack alternative.
- Choose whole grain crackers, cereals, and breads.
- Grab a lean protein such as an egg or deli meat.
- Watch serving sizes – a snack isn’t a meal.
- Fruits are great choices.
- Single serving snacks such as fruit cups and string cheese come individually pre-portioned.
- Look for ways to reduce sugar intake.
- Prepare homemade goodies adjusting recipes to lessen sugar and fat contents with recipes like the ones we have listed below.
Healthy Snack Bar Recipes
Snack bars are generally healthy easy snack recipes. With a few ingredients and a little time, you can tuck a snack bar into lunch bags or for kids to enjoy after school for the entire week. Bars are very popular with kids and moms alike because they are highly portable and easily eaten on the go. With so many combinations available, it is easy to find one (or many) that your family will love. These can easily be adapted to fit into special diets such as gluten free, vegan, and can accommodate those with dairy, egg, and nut allergies.
- My Whole Food Life has recipes for 22 different imitation Larabars. Larabars are well known for their healthy snack options using natural, minimally processed ingredient. My Whole Food Life has recipes for Apple Pie Larabars, Chocolate Cookie Dough and Coconut Cream Larabars.
- Olena at Ifoodreal.com has a copycat version of Quaker’s Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars that are vegetarian and gluten free.
- Inspired Edibles has a recipe for Blueberry Bliss Breakfast Bars that are vegan, gluten free and free of refined sugars. These bars are protein and Omega 3 fat powerhouses with nuts, flax seeds, and almonds in the mix.
- These Chocolate Cherry Snack Bars and Peanut Energy Bars from Eating Well Magazine will quickly become fan favorites in your house.
- Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars from the Minimalist Baker are simple and ready in under an hour.
- Kathy at Kath Eats Real Food is a nutritionist turned blogger who has an abundance of healthy well-balanced nutritional snack ideas on her blog. Try her Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars for an afternoon pick me up or even a quick breakfast.
- It doesn’t get much simpler than The Kitchn’s 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars.
- Who doesn’t love peanut butter and honey sandwiches? Elise at Simply Recipes has combined these two beloved ingredients into a delicious granola bar.
Whole Foods Are Recipes for Healthy Snacks in a Flash
Healthy snack recipes usually combine ingredients to balance protein and carbohydrates for a long lasting energy boost. Other natural foods, in their whole form, or minimally processed foods also make excellent healthy snacks that can be ready in a flash. When you opt for commercially prepared products, look for those that are lowest in artificial preservatives and ingredients, and if possible, consider organic options.
- Apples with nut butter, such as peanut, almond, or sunflower seed butter
- Oranges, bananas, strawberries, pineapple, nectarines, peaches, melon, grapes, and other whole fruits
- Dried fruits like apricots, mangoes, dates, and raisins
- Popcorn made with an air popper or popped on the stove top gives you a preservative free, whole grain alternative to the microwave options
- Cheese and whole grain crackers
- Raw veggies such as carrots, celery, sliced cucumbers, or sweet pepper strips with hummus or nut butter
- Whole milk yogurt, unsweetened, with a natural sweetener of your choice like honey or pure maple syrup. Top with nuts or granola for a little extra crunch.
- Whole grain English Muffins with cream cheese, sugar free fruit spread, or nut butter
- Preservative free ham roll ups with cream cheese or regular cheese slices
- Food Network chef and TV personality, Rachel Ray is known for her quick, easy, and super tasty recipes. Her website, Everyday with Rachel Ray, has over 100 snack recipes including salty, crunchy, and sweet options.
- String cheese
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cottage cheese
- Rice cakes
- For drinks, consider milk or water as an alternative to sugary juices and drinks
Healthy Snack Recipes for Kids
These healthy snack recipes for kids are kid tested and mother approved! Each of these provides a wholesome snack that is easily prepared ahead of time to have on hand at any time to meet a snack emergency.
- Lisa Leake at 100 Days of Real Food recommends Overnight Oats for a great kid friendly snack. Her daughters eat them for breakfast, take them for lunch, and frequently eat them as a snack as well. Easy to make and prepare ahead of time! Lisa also has a fantastic recipe for homemade granola. Her granola can be made into bars or served loose like cereal. Chock full of nuts and seeds, sweetened with honey, and seasoned with delicious spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, this granola is hard to beat.
- Smoothies are popular options among kids. Kids love them because they are tasty and refreshing. Moms love them for the opportunity they present to work some veggies in at snack time! The High Fiber Broccoli Smoothie for Kids from Super Healthy Kids includes broccoli for fiber, avocado for a healthy fat, and cherries for a great, sweet fruit component.
- Getting kids to try a new vegetable can be particularly challenging. The Jicama Fries option from Super Healthy Kids will have your kids clamoring to try this new vegetable that is low in fat and extremely high in Vitamin C.
- If your kids are craving salty snacks, try some roasted vegetables instead. Try cutting cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, white or sweet potatoes, or Brussels sprouts into bite size pieces, toss in olive oil, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees until done. Hot, crunchy, and very satisfying!
- Eating Well Magazine has great kid friendly options including Gorp, Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips, and Quick Applesauce.
- Cooking Light Magazine has over 80 healthy snack recipes including Pistachio Chai Muffins, Fudgy Oatmeal Bars, Cumin Chips, Parmesan-Rosemary Flatbread Crackers, and Creamy Spinach and Feta Dip that will satisfy any craving: sweet, salty, or crunchy!
- Dad’s English Muffin Pizzas from Elise at Simply Recipes are a healthier alternative to pizza when your kids are looking for a fast, hot snack.
- The Food Network’s collection of kid friendly recipes includes Ree Drummond’s Frozen Fruit Cups and Chocolate Dipped Granola Bars, Melissa d’Arabian’s Yogurt and Granola Trifle, and a Pop Tart alternative in their Grape Jelly Breakfast Tarts.
- Real Simple Magazine‘s Apple Snack Cake incorporates buttermilk to keep the cake moist and flavorful without adding a lot of extra fat. For a healthy treat, also try their Coconut Cashew Butter Bonbons, Eda-Mommy Dip, and Parmesan Pita Crisps.
While there are many commercial snack options available, they often are high in fat or sugar. Sometimes they contain preservatives and other artificial ingredients that we would rather not serve to our families. With a little pre-planning and careful shopping you can provide lots of different snack options for your family to improve their health and get them through the day. With so many great options here, a healthy snack recipe is just a click away!