It’s no secret that kids can be picky eaters. If your little one eats only a handful of foods, making sure they get the healthy nutrients they need can be tough and make meal times a challenge. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of healthy snacks for kids — essentially, food that kids love, gone rogue!
From nuggets and mac and cheese to hot dogs and pizza, you can serve these 22 homemade, healthy snacks to your kids guilt-free. They’re all more nutritious than their “real” alternatives and taste much better. Don’t be surprised if some of these kids’ recipes become your favorites as well!
There are no worries of pink slime with these nuggets. They’re gluten-free and lightly fried in beneficial coconut oil to give them that signature crunch without getting soggy.
This simple chicken is a great after-school healthy snack. The nuggets are made from fresh chicken breasts with a crispy, protein-packed quinoa coating. You’ll love that they’re baked instead of fried: fast cleanup! Use coconut flour and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
Loaded with fatty acid-rich salmon, this lunchtime favorite is one of those timeless healthy snacks for kids. Coat salmon pieces in some gluten-free breadcrumbs and bake — that’s all it takes!
Cost-effective cod makes this an easy-to-make recipe that’s also easy on the wallet. Bread or fry these; they’ll taste great either way. Be sure to use coconut flour and try the spicy tartar sauce, too!
Did you know that, when baked, carrots taste very similar to sweet potatoes? So it makes sense to give your kids a double dose of vitamins and minerals with this healthy snack. Carrots are drizzled with olive oil, herbs and then baked. So easy, so good.
6. Turnip Fries
Not sure what to do with turnips? They’re a fabulous vitamin C-packed food, and this recipe uses just four ingredients to turn the vegetable into fries your whole family will love.
Photo: Turnip Fries / Dr. Axe
French Toast and Waffles
Do you only serve your kids French toast in the morning? Well, if you make it healthy, then it can be one of those healthy snacks for kids at any time of the day. Plus, French toast is still possible for vegan eaters.
I love the addition of fiber-rich chia seeds to give this recipe an extra-healthy boost. While you can use any bread, a sprouted, hearty, rustic whole wheat is probably best; find one at your local farmer’s market, or go with Ezekiel bread. Top with nutritious maple syrup, fruit or other favorite toppings.
Forget the frozen waffles and try these pumpkin waffles instead! Suitable for vegans, they get an extra nutritional boost from beneficial flaxseed and coconut oil.
Use canned pumpkin to have these come together in a snap. Don’t have a waffle iron? Turn them into pancakes instead!
This genius grilled cheese recipe replaces nutritionally empty white bread with cauliflower “bread” slices. While slightly more labor-intensive than your standard recipe, with two full servings of anti-inflammatory, vitamin C-rich cauliflower, this one is a no-brainer.
This super-customizable grilled cheese is bursting with so much flavor, your kids won’t notice all the healthy extras. In fact, this makes for a great lunch for adults, too.
Loaded with heart-healthy avocado, vitamin K-packed spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions, this is one sandwich that doesn’t disappoint.
Forget what you know about commercial veggie dogs. This recipe knocks it out of the park. Made with beans, loads of seasonings, oatmeal, flaxseed and gluten (make sure that’s OK for your family’s diet), you won’t believe these are homemade.
You might want to save these for a special barbecue or holiday, or else your kids will ask you to make these all the time!
You’ll have to make these vegan dogs to understand how, with just a few ingredients, carrots can taste like hot dogs (but better!). Plan ahead, because the carrots marinate overnight, but it’s worth it.
Macaroni and Cheese
Mac and cheese as one of those go-to healthy snacks for kids? Yes, cancer-fighting cauliflower masquerades as a healthier version of noodles in this revamped version of the classic.
With the benefits of kefir adding a dual nutritional and protein punch, you can feel as good about serving this as your kids will eating it!
It’s cheesy, full of fresh veggies and comes together in one pot — what’s not to love about this veggie mac and cheese? Your kids will get the nutritional benefits of mushrooms, asparagus and tomatoes, but thanks to the three types of fresh cheese, they won’t even notice.
Subbing in cauliflower for some potatoes plus adding heart-healthy olive oil lightens this mash up while keeping that familiar taste and texture.
With the added health benefits of kale and leeks, you’ll have a side dish or snack that kids (and adults!) will love.
Skip starchy potatoes altogether and opt for vitamin A-loaded sweet potatoes in this mashed recipe. While they contain no cream or butter, these potatoes are smooth and flavorful.
17. Eggplant Pizza
Eggplant recipes are not easily found, and that’s a shame because they’re so good for kids. Here, baked eggplant slices become the “crust” for these pizzas.
Kids will love how they’re bite-sized and easy to personalize with their favorite toppings. You’ll love that they’ll get nutritious eggplant, spinach and tomatoes in each bite. So easy, yet so good.
These whole-wheat pita pizzas make an excellent afterschool snack for kids. Instead of sauce, they use fiber-rich hummus as a base. Best of all, they don’t require any cooking — this is one kids can make solo.
Superfood kale disguised as one of the healthy snacks for kids? This sea salt and vinegar potato chip alternative will have even the fiercest veggie haters begging for more. They bake quickly and keep for up to a week — if little hands let them last that long, that is.
A little bit sweet thanks to sugar (use coconut!), a little bit spicy with a whole lot of zest, these sweet potato chips are sure to be a hit. Adding a little cornstarch to your seasoning blend will make these oven-baked chips extra crispy; arrowroot starch works well.
The best quinoa recipes wouldn’t be complete without a “Sloppy Joe” version, right? Quinoa, an excellent source of protein, replaces ground beef in this meat-free version of the cafeteria favorite. T
he short list of common ingredients means you can whip up a batch at a moment’s notice. Stuff it between burger buns or in a lettuce wrap and never buy a can of the prepared version again.
Veggies like celery, carrots, mushrooms and onions get mixed in with ground beef (preferably grass-fed beef) in these loaded sloppy joes. I love how you can swap your kids’ favorites veggies in here and leave them chunky or grate them so picky eaters won’t notice. These joes are messy, delicious and nutritious — the perfect healthy snack or meal for kids.