Smart, satisfying snacks can truly be a busy parent's best friend. They can fuel our kids for play dates and soccer games, or keep them from getting cranky during afternoon errands.
To get some inspiration, we asked 11 busy moms for the secrets to happy, healthy kid snacks at home and on the go. Here's what they had to say.
Meet the Moms
Author Muy Bueno Cookbook
"I'm a huge fan of avocado toast and so are my kiddos. And if we don't have avocado I find something to slather or place on a piece of toast like almond butter, cottage cheese, or cream cheese and then top it with slices of fresh fruit like bananas, berries, or nuts. Our favorite toast recipe is this strawberry toast."
A Couple Cooks, Author Pretty Simple Cooking
"Between mealtimes, we give our toddler vegetables and fruits he can feed himself, like blueberries, banana slices, and red pepper cut into strips. For a heartier snack, we swirl nut butter & a small bit of jelly into plain yogurt. On the road, we love minimal ingredient energy bars — purchased or homemade!"
"I always (always!) have mini Larabars in my bag. They never go bad, they're a satisfying and balanced snack that both of my kids really like to eat, and they are a great adult snack too — especially the chocolate peanut butter flavor. They're also spill-proof, which is a definite plus!"
"My kid is a snacker. We don't usually have a lot of juice in the house for meals, but since Graham has cerebral palsy, we are almost always going directly from school to physical therapy of one sort or another, and we need quick energy. I look to juices with vegetables in them (like Odwalla's Red Rhapsody, which has beets, or their Original Superfood, which has seaweed, spirulina, and kale), because they're a treat and I'm always looking for an easier way to get vegetables into my vegetable-phobic kid. We're also devoted fans of applesauce squeezers, because they're usually mess-free on the go. If we need a more substantial snack, we lean on a cheese/crackers/salami combo we call "skiing sandwiches," because that's what we eat when we're skiing, or the super-thin kind of rice cakes spread with peanut butter."
Author New Favorites for New Cooks, Founder The Charlie Cart Project
For snacks, I wait until the kids are really hungry and offer something — just one item — they may have resisted in the past. Sliced fresh produce, like sweet red peppers or fennel, or, if I'm organized, vegetables roasted with olive oil and salt, like cauliflower or broccoli. If they're hungry enough, they'll usually eat it. And surprise! They love it."
"In our home, we taking snacking very seriously. Most days we choose fruit to snack on for a few reasons. They are natural, portable, and filled with vitamins and minerals that are crucial for children's growing bodies. My kids love freeze-dried fruit, smoothies, banana nice cream, bliss balls, fruit kabobs, and using kid-safe knives to cut up their own raw fruits."
"One of our favorite snack combos is apples and cheddar cheese. It might sound like an odd marriage, but it's great together. Put them on a Popsicle stick and it makes it so much fun!"
Senior Food Editor Parents Magazine, Author Baby-Led Feeding
"Peanut butter on whole-wheat toast sprinkled with cinnamon, or smoothies made with milk and frozen fruit. (We sometimes throw in a handful of granola or cereal for extra flavor and texture; occasionally a bit of chocolate syrup finds its way in as well.) We also serve sliced hard-boiled eggs on whole-grain crackers sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning."
"When my kids are in the mood for something sweet after playing outside and there's no fruit Popsicles on hand, So Delicious vanilla coconut yogurt does the trick. I usually top it with frozen berries (or fresh) and a quick drizzle of raw honey and that always seems to satisfies their sweet tooth and cool them down. The individual containers are already portioned and make them easy to grab quickly, which is a plus."
"A snack platter, which is an assortment of food from the fridge arranged on a plate and given the name 'snack platter.' My kids have literally cheered for these plates because it sounds special and looks fancy even though it's really not. I once overheard my older son tell his friend, 'My mom makes the best snack platters.' I try to put a variety of foods on the plate, including protein-rich foods like a dish of nut butter for dipping, cheese, deli meat, plus lots of fruits and veggies. I find kids tend to eat more fruits and veggies when they're easy to grab and alongside favorite foods. And snack platters allow you to clean out the random odds and ends from the fridge! My kids are also fans of apple nachos, which are thin slices of apples arranged on a plate with natural peanut butter drizzled over (microwave a dish of natural peanut butter for about 30 seconds or until drippy), sprinkled with mini chocolate chips and unsweetened coconut."
We have two fairly picky boys (ages 1 and 3), but these are some snacks they always go for. We do a plate of banana slices each topped with a dollop of cashew (or any nut) butter, and yesterday Ezra, my 3-year old, added a blueberry on top of each. It was cute! They also love rice cakes with different toppings like butter, avocado, nut butter, cream cheese and/or jam. Before I leave the house I usually throw whole apples, raisin boxes, or banana chips in my bag for on-the-go snacks.
What snacks do you give your kids?