Satisfying hungry tummies: 5 healthy school snacks for kids

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Want an energized, focused and overall well-behaved child throughout the school day? Discover 5 nutritious school snacks for kids that will keep your little one nourished at school while satisfying those snack-time cravings.

A schoolgirl looks over her classmate's lunch box as the latter is very excited about her school snack.
Photo credit: YayImages.

When it comes to school snacks, parents want the best for their kids — treats that not only taste good but are also nutritious. But what if you’re tired of opening your child’s lunch box at the end of the school day only to discover all of the wholesome snacks you packed untouched?

Well, then it’s time to say goodbye to the same old boring and bland options and bring on some interesting flavors. Here is a handpicked selection of the best school snacks for kids that strike the perfect balance between healthiness and tastiness.

Many can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for grab-and-go options when you scramble for ideas.

Importance of healthy snacks for kids

Choosing healthy school snacks for kids offers numerous benefits.

First, healthy snacks provide kids with the nutrition needed for their growth and development. This includes vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Plus, unlike sugary snacks and drinks that send kids on a rollercoaster of energy spikes and crashes, healthy options provide a steady stream of energy. That means no more mid-afternoon slumps or a lack of focus in class. Moreover, studies show that good nutrition boosts brainpower, helping kids learn, concentrate and remember things better.

And let’s not forget about the long-term benefits. By introducing wholesome snacks early on, you’re setting the stage for your child to choose healthy options and reduce the chances of health issues down the road.

So, when it comes to snack time, be the parent who prioritizes healthy picks and shows the kids that eating well can also be tasty and fun.

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Top 5 school snacks for kids

These snacks are a breeze to prepare and are packed with nutritious ingredients.

Veggies with a dip

Kids are more likely to eat their veggies when they come with a dip. Dips add a burst of flavor and make snacking more interesting. There are so many tasty and healthy dip options, such as classic hummus, guacamole, salsa, Greek yogurt-based dip and many others.

Find the ones your child loves and rotate them so that they don’t get bored of the same taste. And it’s always good to introduce your child to new flavors and spices. This will help shape them into an adventurous eater.

“When we have to send snacks to school for my kids, if my kids can dip it, they’ll eat it. That means we do a lot of veggies with hummus where they dip more than just crackers. They love dipping grape tomatoes, broccoli florets, and especially sugar snap peas into it. Marinara sauce is another favorite dip and my kids love it with jicama sticks and red bell pepper strips especially. It’s easy to have one container for the dip that seals well but they can open and another one to hold the dippers.”

— Michelle Price, Honest and Truly

Crunchy pickles

Fermented foods are a great source of natural probiotics. Pickles made through fermentation are tasty and healthy snacks that promote gut health. Plus, most kids love pickles. You can experiment with all kinds of vegetables: cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus and even eggplant. The best part is that you can make big batches and store them in the fridge for months.

By incorporating fermented foods into your child’s snack routine, you’ll be supporting their gut health and boosting their immune system. According to digestive disease researcher and registered dietitian Gail Cresci, PhD, RD, a healthy gut is the foundation for overall well-being. Having an unhealthy gut microbiome can lead to certain diseases and affect your mental health.

Glass jars filled with fermented pickles that would work great as school snacks for kids.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Mini vegetable quiches

For particularly active kids who need a protein-packed snack to keep them feeling full and energized, look no further than eggs. Eggs are a fantastic source of high-quality protein, and they can be incorporated into various snacks, including mini vegetable quiches. 

Quiches are great for sneaking in some vegetables and herbs. Plus, they are very easy to make. Just whisk eggs in a bowl and add your choice of chopped veggies like bell peppers, mushrooms or cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle in some grated cheese for extra creaminess and a boost of calcium. Fill greased muffin cups with the mixture and bake until golden. They also freeze well. 

“Soft-boiled eggs are great on-the-go as are baked egg cups. Plus, they are quick to meal prep ahead of time, too. I notice a big difference when kids fuel with healthy fats and proteins compared to carb-based granola bars and bread. We have much better behavior and more stable energy and emotions throughout the day after by prioritizing these ingredients.”

— Jessica Haggard, Primal Edge Health

Fruit kabobs

Is there a better snack than fruits? Not only are fruits incredibly convenient — requiring no preparation or cooking — but they also provide an array of vitamins, minerals and fiber. And because fruits come in an endless rainbow of colors and flavors, they make snack time a vibrant and exciting experience.

Add a touch of interest by arranging the fruit on skewers. For smaller kids, cut fruit into different interesting shapes using cookie cutters. Your child will love finding bunny-shaped apple slices or heart-shaped pineapple pieces in their lunchbox.

Close up of a fruit skewer on a yellow plate.
Photo credit: YayImages.

Yogurt jello parfaits

Want to elevate your child’s snacking to a completely new level, all while keeping it healthy and fun? Try making yogurt jello parfaits. Jello is a fantastic healthy snack that can be used on its own as well but when combined with plain Greek yogurt and fresh berries, it becomes the epitome of nutritious goodness. On hot summer days, make sure to pack the parfait in an insulated lunch bag with ice packs to keep it cold and fresh. watch your child appreciate the super refreshing snack and beg for more.

One last thing

Prioritizing healthy school snacks for kids helps promote your child’s good health and long-term well-being. And with these healthy and fun snack ideas, you’ll be able to add a touch of excitement and interest to their school snacking experience. Empower your kids to make smart food choices early on and pave the way for a lifetime of good health. There’s nothing better than opening your child’s lunch box after a day at school to find it empty.

Tamara is a blogger at Thriving In Parenting, where she shares simple tips for busy parents – easy and healthy recipes, home decor ideas, self-care for moms and all things parenting.

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