Snacks are very important for growing kids. They help to fill that gap between after school and dinner, while also providing a burst of energy when it is needed the most. This is essential for active kids, who burn through their energy fast and seem to be always hungry.
The trick is to find healthy snack recipes for picky kids. Finding snacks that are easy to make and that kids will actually eat is an event in and of itself. After all, you don’t want kids snacking on processed junk – not when there are so many healthy alternatives instead.
Don’t worry though. Healthy snacks don’t need to be limited to carrot sticks and string cheese! There are many options that kids will adore. They may not even realize that the snack is good for them, which is an added bonus.
Check out the snacks on this list to find new options that you can make for your kids. You might even find that some of them are perfect for your whole family. We’ve included a variety of options and styles, with a strong focus on snacks that are portable. This type of snack is the most versatile, as it can be included in a school lunch, taken on a trip or simply stored in the cupboard for when hungry kids come home.
And while you're experimenting with healthy snack, try one of these healthy snack subscription boxes and see if something “hits” for your kids.
Healthy Snack Recipes For Picky Kids
Peanut Butter Protein Snack Mix
Commercial snack mixes tend to be packed full of artificial ingredients. They’ve often gone through a ton of processing as well. Why not skip all of that and turn to a recipe like this one from 24carrotlife.com.
The recipe uses a few different styles to create a great combination of textures and flavors. The inclusion of extra protein is an especially interesting idea. Doing so helps to make the snack mix more satisfying. This should mean that kids eat less in a serving.
Healthy Banana Muffins
This recipe from gimmesomeoven.com shows that muffins can be healthy and also kid-friendly. The banana inclusion alone should make them attractive. After all, bananas always taste amazing in baking. The recipe also relies on an interesting spice combination. This makes them taste better still.
An interesting aspect is that these aren’t sugar free. Instead, Ali uses a little maple syrup, along with the sweetness that comes from the bananas. The style is important for kids, as sweetness helps to make the snack enjoyable. The recipe keeps the sugar content low enough that the muffins are still very healthy.
Whole30 Chicken Nuggets Recipe
Kids often choose chicken nuggets as a go-to snack at fast food restaurants. Some kids even just focus on fries and chicken nuggets, having no interest in anything else. Why not get around this by making healthy chicken nuggets at home? This recipe from 40aprons.com is the perfect place to start.
While the recipe is designed for the Whole30 diet, you don’t need to be on Whole30 or paleo to try the dish out. The diet type mostly just means different priorities when choosing ingredients. As a result, the chicken nuggets end up being healthy and tasty.
Gluten Free Pizza Bites
It’s hard to imagine any kid not enjoying these pizza bites from glutenfreeonashoestring.com. After all, pizza is always popular. Snacks like these pizza bites take advantage of the same flavors and ingredients, while also being easy to eat. As Nicole mentions, there is plenty of flexibility. You can change the spices that are used or add in extra ingredients.
You can also make substitutions to create a dairy free or egg free version of the bites. This works well if someone in your family cannot tolerate dairy.
BBQ Chorizo Pizza Pinwheels
These pizza pinwheels also take advantage of how much everyone loves pizza. They also use some extra flavors to make the snack even more special. The recipe comes from garnishwithlemon.com and is a fantastic choice for feeding a crowd (or some hungry kids straight after school!).
The pinwheels are also surprisingly easy to create. There are only six main ingredients included. The recipe does have many of the same ingredients as pizza, but the pinwheels are still healthier than takeaway pizza. The small size also helps make sure that kids don’t eat too much.
Easy Air Fryer Hush Puppies
These hush puppies are featured on mommyhatescooking.com. They’re created in the air fryer, which makes them much healthier than traditional hush puppies. They’re also easy to make, taking just 30 minutes from start to finish. You could easily serve these as snacks on their own or use them as a side for a meal.
Mexican Beef Taco Cups
If pizza isn’t the flavor you’re looking for, what about Mexican? The site chocolateslopes.com provides a taco cups recipe that creates filling snacks. The recipe is intentionally simple and would be perfect if you want your kids to get involved in the kitchen.
Kids could also make their own cups, choosing the toppings that they want. This approach helps to get them invested in the food that they’re eating. You’ll normally find that they eat more as a result.
And you know what? These would be pretty good for a healthy dinner too.
Key Lime Pie Energy Bites
This recipe from boysahoy.com is a fun choice if you want something a little less conventional. The energy bite style means that these little balls are packed with beneficial ingredients. The snacks are also a great source of energy and are surprisingly satisfying.
The key lime flavor is also very appealing. Energy bites for kids often focus on tired and familiar flavors, like chocolate peanut butter. While such flavors might be popular initially, it’s always useful to throw some alternative options into the mix.
Baked Peach BBQ Chicken Wings
These chicken wings offer another choice for an interesting flavor. They come from healthynibblesandbits.com and they’re the perfect choice for any time of year. Sweet and sticky – any kid is going to adore these wings.
There’s an interesting feature too. The wings are baked, not grilled. This isn’t the most common approach, as baked wings can end up soggy. Don’t worry though. Lisa highlights a technique that helps ensure your wings end up perfect every time.
Easy Air Fried Seasoned French Fries
Air frying is one of the best techniques for making healthy versions of some traditionally unhealthy foods. The sisters from abeautifulmess.com showcase this idea with their French fries.
As you can see from the image, the fries look just as amazing as any that have been deep fried. The recipe is worth checking out even if you don’t have an air fryer. It goes into detail about the advantages of the tool and how the whole idea works.
Peanut Butter Protein Dip
This simple recipe from ameessavorydish.com is a perfect complement to fresh apples or to other dippable snacks. The dip only uses 5 different ingredients, so it’s a breeze to make and to serve. The extra protein is an added bonus. This style helps the snack to be much more satisfying. It should give kids extra energy for longer and stop them from craving unhealthy treats.
Vegan Herbed Parmesan Crackers
These crackers are a great example of just how easy snacks can be. They take just 30 minutes to make and can easily be stored for future use. You can check out the full recipe at jessicainthekitchen.com. Don’t be worried about the vegan aspect. The crackers are still entirely kid-friendly and will be eaten up quickly.
Jessica also mentions that you can change the flavors. There are plenty of herbs and spices that you could try out, especially as these often pair well with one another.
Mango Turmeric Lassi Popsicles
While popsicles aren’t considered the healthiest of snacks, these ones are a delightful exception. The recipe comes from karalydon.com and the popsicles are packed full of antioxidants. Besides that, the turmeric that is included has been linked to various health benefits. Plus, there are no artificial additives included. The same can’t be said for popsicles from the local store.
Turmeric might seem like a debatable flavor for kids, but the idea does work well in this particular popsicle recipe. The combination of mango and turmeric simply works well.
Cinnamon Apple Chips
The site acouplecooks.com offers another relatively simple snack. The chips are a great idea. They’re easy to eat and have an interesting combination of flavors. They’re also much healthier than potato chips, which is a distinctive bonus.
Despite how these look, you’re not going to need an air fryer or any specialized tool for cooking. The one thing that you will need is a way to consistently get thin slices of apple. A mandoline is the best possible tool to use. It has plenty of other advantages in the kitchen too.
Easy Apple Sandwiches
If your family is bored of regular sandwiches, this recipe from mommypotamus.com is an alternative to try. As Heather points out, the idea is so simple that it can hardly be called a recipe at all. Of course, that’s part of the appeal. Some days you simply don’t have the time and energy to put together something complicated.
Another cool thing is how flexible these sandwiches are. You can swap out ingredients as you see fit. You might make changes based on what your family enjoys or simply related to the ingredients in your fridge.
Bacon Cheeseburger Keto Breakfast Quiche
This recipe from kalynskitchen.com is promoted as a breakfast item, but quiches also make fantastic snacks. After all, they’re easy to hold and eat, while also being great hot, cold or warm. What’s not to love? The flavors are perfect for kids too. I mean honestly, a cheeseburger snack? It’s hard to imagine any child saying no.
Parmesan Ranch Popcorn
Homemade popcorn can be a fantastic healthy snack. After all, popcorn itself has barely any calories. The trick is to focus on toppings that are packed with flavor and are still very healthy. This recipe from fivehearthome.com offers a fun variation, which relies on parmesan and ranch as the flavors.
That’s not all. Samantha’s recipe uses some clever techniques. These help ensure that the popcorn is all coated with the flavoring and doesn’t become soggy. This is much better than having some pieces almost buried in the coating and others having none at all.
Buffalo Chicken Sausage Balls
This recipe, from alldayidreamaboutfood.com, is appealing if you want something that is a little heartier. Meatballs like these are fun because they could easily be served as snacks with dipping sauce, or added to a simple side to make a full meal. The buffalo flavoring makes these a particularly good choice for kids. Many already love buffalo chicken. These sausage balls follow a similar flavoring concept, but have some distinct differences too.
Naturally Sweetened Orange Coconut Oat Muffins
Here’s another interesting choice to consider. This time, cottercrunch.com is the site responsible for the snack. You can follow the link to find out full details about the recipe, along with plenty of other snacks that you can make. A key advantage of these muffins is that they’re gluten free. They’re also hearty and taste good.
The choice of flavors and ingredients mean that most kids should love the muffins – despite the fact that they’re healthy.
Sweet Potato Tater Tots
This recipe from jessicainthekitchen.com is one of the best alternatives to store-purchased tater tots. After all, the versions from the store certainly aren’t healthy and they contain so many artificial ingredients. While these sweet potato alternatives don’t look quite the same, you can be sure that they have the same crunchiness on the outside, along with a soft middle.
The recipe is also surprisingly simple. There are only 7 different ingredients and most of these are seasonings. The finished snack is vegan-friendly and would appeal to non-vegan kids too.
Baked Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges
These wedges from cookingclassy.com are a great alternative to fries that have been soaked in oil. The wedges are simply baked in the oven, using healthy olive oil to ensure that the texture is perfect. Not only are they healthier than regular fries, but the wedges are also more satisfying and are packed with flavor. It’s a winning combination that will always be popular.
Skinny Egg Salad
This egg salad, from kimscravings.com, is an ideal snack choice because it can be used in so many ways. You might take the style shown in the image, serving the salad on rice cakes. You could also simply make egg salad sandwiches – or something entirely different. The varied options mean that the salad could be used for a small snack, a more substantial one or even as part of a full meal.
Granola Protein Bars
Granola bars are another common snack choice. They’re particularly good for school lunches or for something that kids can grab on their way out of the door. This recipe from eatgood4life.com is a fun homemade version to try. Unlike most other granola bars, these ones aren’t excessively sweet. They mostly rely on savory ingredients instead. As with other granola bar recipes, you can easily substitute some of the ingredients for your own favorites.
Creamy Smoked Gouda Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is normally used as a meal, either for lunch or for dinner. Even so, it can also make a fantastic snack. All you need is a recipe, like this one from jeanetteshealthyliving.com, and a smaller portion size. You could even cook the macaroni and cheese in small containers if you wanted to – like ramekins.
This isn’t just any macaroni and cheese recipe either. It is a lighter version, one that relies on Greek yogurt to provide some of the creaminess. Jeanette was careful to make sure that the finished dish is still comforting food and tastes just as good as conventional macaroni and cheese.
The Best Ham & Cheese Egg Muffins
Muffins like these are always a good snack choice. The cheese and eggs help to make them very satisfying. They’re also easy to simply pick up and eat. This recipe from julieseatsandtreats.com is a great one because it is just so simple. It only uses 6 ingredients (4 if you exclude salt and pepper). Most people will already have all the ingredients at home.
The health advantages can’t be disputed either. Sure, eggs are high in calories, as is cheese. Even so, eggs are packed with nutrients. They’re also a good source of protein, which offers many health advantages – particularly for growing kids.
Crunchy Barbecue Chicken Tenders
I love the appearance of these chicken strips. It’s easy to see how they would be quickly eaten up. They’re not just plain chicken either. They have a barbecue flavor that simply works well. You can check out the full recipe at missinthekitchen.com.
As always, whether these are healthy largely depends on your needs and definition. The recipe does use some processed ingredients, but the chicken tenders are baked rather than fried. This makes them healthier than many other chicken tender recipes.
Collagen-Boosted Paleo Protein Muffins
If you’re looking for something that actually improves health, then these muffins are tough to ignore. They come from the site empoweredsustenance.com and feature collagen protein. There are also healthy fats included. Both aspects help to keep kids energized and satisfied. You don’t have to worry about them coming back 5 minutes later because they’re hungry again.
The flavor choice also works well. Despite the healthy ingredients, these are basically blueberry muffins. Most kids love that type of muffin already. It wouldn’t be difficult to convince them to give this version a try.
Superfood Oatmeal Bars
Why even consider buying protein bars at the grocery store, when there are options like these superfood bars? The recipe comes from notenoughcinnamon.com – a site that is entirely focused on healthy lifestyle and nutrition. With these bars, you’re getting a large number of nutrients, along with plenty of sweetness. The visual style of the bars is likely to appeal to many kids, especially as there are so many similar bars in local stores.
Grilled Stone Fruit With Honey Yogurt Sauce
This recipe comes from jessicalevinson.com – a site that features many healthy recipes and interesting articles. The dish may not seem like the healthiest choice in some ways, as stone fruit are high in sugar. However, the sugar present is natural. The fruit is also unprocessed and is full of healthy nutrients (plus beneficial plant-based compounds).
The other part of the snack is the Greek yogurt sauce. This combines perfectly with the fruit, creating a flavor contrast that will bring them back for more.
Lemon & Herb Fish Fingers For Kids
The site myfussyeater.com has a strong emphasis on kids who are fussy in their eating habits. This makes it a perfect choice for wholesome and hearty foods that kids will love. This fish fingers recipe is one such example. The finger food is easy to make and requires relatively few ingredients.
As an added bonus, the fish fingers are baked, not fried. The reliance on whole food ingredients also means that there are no additives to worry about. You’re simply feeding your kids a healthy snack that is full of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.