Help kids bridge the hungry hours before dinnertime (and slip in a little extra goodness) with nutritious after-school snacks they'll actually eat. We've got tips for creating good-for-you snack choices, plus kid-approved recipes to try.
Tips for Smarter Snacking
- Get kids involved in choosing and prepping their own snacks so they'll be more likely to eat them.
- Make it easy to choose health over junk by keeping bags of cut fruits and vegetables front and center in the fridge.
- Prep tubs of high-fiber and low-sugar dips to last through the week.
- Make and freeze baked goods in batches, and defrost enough for the coming week. Easy freeze tip: Space them out on a baking sheet, freeze until hard, then store in bags.
- Bag up non-perishable nutritious snacks for kids to take to after-school programs.
Let the kids try out these easy, tasty, good-for-you snacks:
The dipping sauce is protein-rich Greek yogurt sweetened with applesauce and flavored with a dash of almond extract and cinnamon. Allrecipes community member carrie says, "Will definitely make again!"
This low-sugar salsa gets scooped up with high-fiber baked tortilla chips. "This was a real hit with the kids," says ADRIANNA NOELANI. Watch the video to see how to make it.
This quick and easy hummus doesn't use tahini. HANGINGBYATHREAD raves, "Delicious and easy. My two-year old and I made this together, and she thinks it is yummy too!"
4. Carrot Chips
A better-for-you alternative to conventional chips. Change them up with a pinch of cayenne or cinnamon to suit your kids' tastes. daddoesthecookin made up a batch and said, "even my no-veggie kid loved them."
These crunchy chips are baked at a low temperature for 2 hours until dry and crisp. Store them in an airtight container for convenient snacking. "I've already made them twice for my son, and he is in love," says Fitz Johnson. The video shows you how easy it is to make these crispy chips.
For crunchier results, cut the sweet potatoes as thin as you can. An inexpensive mandoline slicer will help speed the work. Jody Lofgren Tracy raves, "These turned out great. My four-year-old loves them. We'll be making this again."
Top tip: Add oil and seasonings after roasting the chickpeas to keep them crisp longer. "These were absolutely fabulous!" says Mustang. "My family went through them quickly. These are so easy to do in the toaster oven."
Cookies, Bars, and Bites
These popular gluten-free cookies are sweetened with bananas and dates. "My children love these cookies! I have made them with other dried fruits, chopped apples, even mini chocolate chips! I've also baked them in a bar pan for quick soft granola bars," says LHOKANSS. Want to see how to make them? Watch this handy video.
"This recipe is a wonderful start!" says Shaun Lee. "What I love about it is all that you can do with it. I've been making this for months now. What I usually do is throw in whatever leftover bananas (goes great with the vanilla), applesauce, trail-mix, etc. into the mix! (this week I put in blueberries) Some weeks I put about a 1/4 cup peanut butter with the wet ingredients. Sometimes I put lemon, almond (especially yummy) or rum flavoring with the vanilla. Most times it comes out like a granola bar, sometimes like a cookie bar, but it's always good."
"It's not often that I find something everyone in my house loves. I can't keep these around. I'm constantly making them." - Camille Miller Shipley
Julie says, "The muffins taste great right from the oven, but are even better the next day—if they last that long! Kids love them and it's a good way to sneak fruits, veggies, and fiber into their diets."
12. Kid Muffins
Very moist and packed full of banana, carrot, raisins, and flax seeds. To help this dense batter bake up better, use a light touch when stirring the wet and dry ingredients together. Jaimie Whitaker says, "This recipe is amazing! My husband, 9 year old, 7 year old and 1 year old scarfed them down!"
Extra bananas and lower sugar make these top-rated muffins a whole lot better for you, but they still taste great. Chrissy Small got her kids involved making them, saying, "Just made this with my kids they love putting on the streusel topping !"
Use frozen bananas instead of ice cubes to make it super thick. roozoonoomom says, "After seeing the reaction from my 3 kids, I announced that this is a 'dessert' they can ask for anytime." Watch to video to see it all come together.
Spinach, avocado, and banana go for a spin with almond milk to create a tasty way to sneak in some nutritious greens, beneficial fats, and potassium. (You're going to want some of this, too.)
Nope, not just for breakfast anymore. This smoothie rocks a good balance of protein, fiber, and fruit that'll keep kids satisfied all afternoon. erika says, "We love this at our house! Delicious and filling."