Kids love to snack and they’re naturally drawn to sweet, chewy, sticky, all-around not the best choices, to be honest! Obviously sugar is bad, but what snacks are healthy for kids? Certain foods, like yogurt, nuts, and crunchy veggies, actually support healthy teeth and gums while providing vitamins that young mouths need. So how can you entice kids to eat sugar free, nutritious snacks that fill their bellies and aren’t bad for their teeth? The trick is to keep it interesting. Try these fun and easy snack ideas, all free of refined sugar!
1) Sliced Pears with Ricotta Cheese
Pears are a great fruit choice because they're low in acidity. Spreading a little ricotta on each slice will add protein and calcium — yummy and nutritious!
2) Peanut Butter Dip
Whip together equal parts cream cheese and natural peanut butter (with zero added sugar) until light and creamy. Packed with protein and fiber, this dip is excellent with apples or celery.
3) Creamy Guacamole
Smash up a ripe avocado (or blend in a food processor) until it's as smooth as possible, then squeeze in some lime juice. Stir in greek yogurt until you get the consistent you like. Serve with black bean chips or veggie sticks.
4) Pickle Roll-up
Spread cream cheese onto a piece of ham, then roll around a dill pickle spear. That's it! You can also use a whole dill pickle and slice into bite-size servings.
5) Fruit and Cheese Kabobs
This option is fun to mix and match in different combos. You'll need toothpicks to use as mini kabob skewers. Try raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries combined with cubed colby jack, white cheddar, gouda, or even brie!
6) Sunflower Seed Butter and Banana Quesadilla
Grab a tortilla and spread on some sunflower seed butter, a fun and delicious alternative to peanut butter. Next arrange a layer of potassium-packed banana slices on half of the tortilla and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon (optional). Fold the tortilla in half and cut into triangles.
7) Boiled Eggs
Seems too easy, right? But this snack is super healthy, tasty and filling. If plain hard-boiled eggs get boring, try sprinkling them with spices or making creative deviled eggs.
Ready-Made & Packaged Snacks
It's safe to start with mild-flavored black olives, but feel free to get adventurous with green olives, Kalamata, or explore stuffed options if your local healthy grocer has an olive bar. Olives are easy to pack into small containers and some brands even sell them prepackaged as individual servings.
2) Freeze-dried Fruits and Veggies
This is a fun alternative to traditional dried fruits that can be chewy and hard on teeth. There are a variety of fruits (and yes, veggies!) available to buy, like strawberries, bananas, and corn!
3) Crunchy Chickpeas
This unique snack has that satisfying crunch, is full of protein and fiber and comes in a variety of fun flavors. You can easily make your own at home, too.
When it's not covered in movie theater butter, popcorn is actually a great sugar free snack for kids! It's a low-calorie, whole grain option available in a variety of flavors, and can easily be found in individual-sized bags ready to throw in a lunchbox or backpack.
There's no shortage of individual serving cheeses out there: cheese sticks, rectangles, wheels, wedges — you name it. You can also buy a block and cut cubes or chunks and pack them in reusable containers.
It’s important to teach kids skills for healthy eating, like how to swap sugary temptations for better options. As you pack lunches and prepare meals at home, continue to be a good snacking role model and show how easy and fun healthy snacking can be.