Busy families sometimes have trouble fitting in three healthy meals each day. Snacking has become an important contributor to daily food intake. While children are eating extra calories, many still fall short on meeting their needs for vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, vitamin B6, zinc, and iron.

Whether eaten on the go or at home after school, healthy snacks are easy and quick to put together and eat, and offer important nutrients and energy. Keep healthy beverages, such as water, juice, and soymilk, and snack foods, such as the ones listed in the table below, on-hand at home and encourage your children to pack them into their bags before leaving the house.

Healthy Snack Ideas

  • Chopped raw vegetables and dip
  • Chunks of avocado, cucumber, or cooked sweet potato
  • Breadsticks or pita chips with hummus
  • Pretzels or popcorn
  • Tortilla chips with bean dip
  • Cheerios, granola, or other cereal in a bag
  • Toasted whole grain breads or crackers with fruit spread or nut butters
  • Graham crackers or gingersnaps dipped in applesauce
  • Mini rice cakes with peanut butter
  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Fresh fruits
  • Dried fruits, especially raisins
  • Frozen bananas blended with a little non-dairy milk
  • Applesauce or other fruit cups
  • Nuts, especially mixed with dried fruit
  • Soy yogurt
  • Soy ice cream
  • Individual boxes of soymilk, rice milk, or fruit juices
  • Homemade muffins or cornbread
  • Fresh soybeans (edamame)
  • Bite-sized tofu cubes

Snack Recipes for Kids

Quick Bean Dip Makes about 2 cups
Serve this dip with baked tortilla chips or use it as a burrito filling.

1 cup fat-free, vegetarian refried beans
1/2 to 1 cup salsa (you choose the heat)

Combine refried beans with salsa. Add more salsa for preferred consistency.

Per 1/4-cup serving: 63 calories; 4 g protein; 12 g carbohydrate; 0.2 g fat; 4 g fiber; 117 mg sodium; calories from protein: 25%; calories from carbohydrates: 72%; calories from fats: 3%