Getting your kids to eat healthy snacks can be a challenge, but I have a few tried and true tips on how to get your kids eating healthier snacks that they actually like!
Let me start out with this: I am not perfect when it comes to feeding my kids. And never will be! Just like any part of parenting, I am on a constant journey of learning, trying, failing, and seeking to do better each day. I try to feed my kids nutritious foods BUT I also deal with very picky-eaters and the temptation of convenience foods.
Moms: feeding kids is HARD, right?
But it’s hard because it’s important to us. We deeply care about the health and growth of our kids. It’s a big job and responsibility.
One area that I think can be a good point of entry to making healthier food choices for our kids is with snacks. They’re a bite-sized opportunity for sneaking some nutrition into those little bodies. It’s also an opportunity to try out healthier swaps to the traditional snack options without having to revamp a whole meal.
This post was inspired by requests by moms like you who wanted more food, recipe, and healthy snack ideas for kids. I think we all can learn a lot from each other as mothers (I know I have!) and none of us are better than the other – we’re all in this motherhood journey together, ladies! So today I’m sharing some tips that have made making healthy snacks for my kids easier and more successful for me – plus some ideas to get your mind thinking for your next grocery run. I hope they will help to add some inspiration for your mom-life!
Tips for getting your kids to eat healthy snacks
Here some things that have made my kids’ healthy snacking a little easier and more doable in our home :
- Catch them when they are hungry.
- My mom gave me this idea (which she got from my grandmother) and that is to put out healthy snacks that they won’t voluntarily pick for themselves and have it set out when they come home from school or practice. This is typically when they are hungriest, so there’s a better chance they’ll actually eat the healthy stuff by default of being hungry. Set out a plate of cut-up fruits and veggies and put it on the corner of the counter or the dining table for easy access. You could even bring it along with you in the car for after-school pickup! (see bento boxes below.) Make it as easy as possible for them to just grab and eat before they even have a chance to complain lol!
- Make it easier for you by prepping in advance.
- Having cut-up fruits and veggies prepped and ready to go will make the above strategy easier. Unhealthy snacks are easy because they are typically pre-packed and ready to go, so apply that same convenience to the healthier, fresh options. See how I prep my fruit and veggies in this blog post!
- Tune-in to whether your kids are more “savory” or “sweet” types.
- Just like us grownups, kids will naturally start to have a preference for sweet or savory. Paige is my sweets lover, Reese will always choose savory, and Maddix is my will-eat-anything girl (with a sweet spot for carbs). This does make it a little tricky to have three taste preferences, but it also makes it easier to know what healthy snacks I can offer them as an alternative to a not-so-healthy option. Paige will always say yes to fruit, Reese loves munching on her favorite veggies, and Maddix being a teen will always go for what is easiest to grab and convenient – so pre-made packs of both savory and sweet options help her make better choices.
- Be mindful of texture preferences.
- Like taste preference, kids will often have a texture preference too. Reese, in particular, does not like anything mushy (bananas, yogurt, blueberries, cheese sticks, etc.) but likes crunchy things (carrots, cucumbers, raw cauliflower, and broccoli) so I’ll respect her preferences but still look for healthy things that have the nutrition that I want her to have.
- Give them choices.
- Here’s a tactic I learned from the book Parenting with Love and Logic and from my experience teaching kids: give them two options. “Would you like celery sticks or carrots? Do you want plain almond crackers or cheddar almond crackers? Do you want to eat this on a plate or in a bowl?” You’re basically giving them two healthy options you’re controlling – but giving them the “illusion” of choice which makes them feel like they are in control. I am always shocked at how well this works.
- Daniel Tiger.
- God bless this little singing tiger character for instilling good values in my kids via song lol! One song that has helped Paige is the “try it you might like it” song. Again, sometimes I’m baffled by what works for kids – songs can really help!
Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids
Here are a few of my go-to healthy snack ideas for kids:
- Apples with peanut butter – My kids get very high maintenance with this and won’t eat it with the skin on, so I peel them. Reese also likes it with peanut butter (which is good to pair a fruit with something that has a little bit of protein and fat.) I haven’t been able to get her to like almond butter yet.
- Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers – This “team” of veggies are what my kids will eat without complaint. Well, mostly. Paige basically sticks to the carrots. The little baby persian cucumbers are small and fun.
- Grapes and strawberries – see this post for how I prep them weekly! You can also freeze grapes for a little frozen treat.
- Mutli-Grain Tamari Crackers from Trader Joe’s – my kids unanimously love Japanese food. It’s the one thing we can all agree on! These are gluten-free rice crackers that have a soy sauce flavor that Reese especially loves.
- Plantain chips from Trader Joe’s – another gluten-free cracker fave. There’s an original flavor option or sweet option – we go with the original.
- Edamame – Another Japanese favorite. They’re fun for the girls to pop out of the pods and eat. (I know soy is not for everyone, but we eat it in our house.)
- Hummus packs from Costco – a great grab-and-go item. I try to have carrot sticks or cucumbers prepped ready in little baggies in the fridge so we can pair them up with the hummus packs.
- Simple Mills or Trader Joe’s gluten-free muffin mixes – I like to make these to have on hand for when the kids want something sweet and carb-ey. My kids aren’t gluten-free but I try to limit it whenever possible for several reasons.
- Smoothies from Whole Foods, Nektar, or make at home – I typically make these for breakfast but sometimes will make one in the afternoon. This is usually my best shot at getting something green into my kids, especially Paige. At Whole Foods I will order a Tropical Green (light on fruit, add chia and/or pea protein) and at Nektar, I will order a Tropical Cooler (same modifications of light on fruit, add chia and/or pea protein) and at home, I will do something along the lines of spinach, almond milk or water, banana, frozen mango or pineapple, chia seeds, flaxseed, collagen, and sometimes the plant-based protein powder that I use myself.)
Best Plates, Bowls, and Bento Boxes for kids
Here are some of the serving plates and bowls and snack trays for on-the-go that I like to use!
Now it’s your turn – what are some healthy snacks your kids like? Let me know below, I’d love some ideas, too 🙂