healthy living nutrition Oct 11, 2022

As a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, the health of your child is in your hands. And when your kiddos are asking for snacks multiple times a day, it can be a challenge to know what to do. 

Do kids need snacks at all?  It definitely feels like it!! 

How do I get my kiddos to eat healthier snacks, not just the sugary, processed snacks they keep asking about? This is a really common struggle – if this sounds like your house, please know that you’re not alone. 

One of the best ways to help kids develop healthy habits and healthy bodies from puberty to early adulthood is to provide healthy food for them when they are young. 

So seriously, do kids need snacks?

Yes! Children and adults need snacks in order to maintain healthy energy levels and to get the nutrients their growing bodies need. 

But as you know . . . not all snacks are created equal. Many snacks that kids love or even that seem healthy, aren’t offering quite as much nutrition as you’d guess. 

Many quick, on-the-go snacks are high in added sugar and other nutrients that are not nourishing your child’s best health. That's why it is important for parents to cultivate healthy habits, even at snack time. 

What does "healthy" mean?

There are many healthy snacks for kids that you can feed your child, but it's important to know what healthy means. Healthy snacks can mean different things. I encourage you focus on snacks that are low in added sugar and rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, most of the time.

It is also important to cultivate these healthy snacking habits now so that the habits can continue into adulthood. 

Here are five tips for healthy snacking at any age! 

Tip 1: Pair Two Foods

For optimal nutrition and satisfaction, I recommend that you offer different food groups when giving your kiddos snacks. Not only does this give you the opportunity to make a more satisfying snack, but it also gives your child more variety throughout the day. 

Offering more than one food item is also helpful for gently exposing picky eaters to different foods that might be out of their comfort zone for now. 

Keep the pressure off (no forcing a bite) and just make the experience fun.

And if your children are usually having processed and packaged snacks that you’d like to get away from, offer the new foods with the packaged snack instead of just taking the packaged snack away. 

Tip 2: Vary presentation

It takes anyone a while to get used to something that feels new. And for kids – especially our picky eaters – new can mean scary and uncomfortable!

Think about carrots. Baby carrots are one way to offer carrots to your kiddos as a snack, but there are other options, too! 

You can also offer carrots as a pureed pouch with carrots in the mix, shredded carrots for a different texture, roasted carrots for a different flavor, and even peels of a large carrot (feel free to call them ribbons!). 

Each time your child has a chance to get to know the food in a low-pressure environment, it helps to build their confidence and eventually try it (and maybe even like it!).

Tip 3: Stick with appropriate portion sizes 

If you’re working on new foods, snack time is a great opportunity because if they don't eat much (or any) of the new food, dinner is right around the corner. By the time dinner is here, everyone tends to be more tired and less patient, so it can feel more difficult to make progress at that time. 

When offering new foods at snack time, keep the portions of the new food small.  

Tip 4: Compare

You know what's fun and lower pressure? Exploring!

Instead of forcing your child to “just take a bite,” make the new food feel fun. This is lower pressure and more fun for everyone, not just your kiddo. 

Try buying a few different varieties of a new food next time you're at the grocery store. For example, four or five different kinds of apples. And during an afternoon when you have some free time, ask your child to describe how the apples are different in terms of size, color, and smell. Which one smells the best?

Next: cut very tiny slices of each type of apple and invite your child to try them. Which apple is the sweetest? Most sour? Crunchiest?  Have fun ranking and exploring: this is way more fun than commanding your child to try a bite!

Tip 5: Involve your child

The more that you're able to offer your child the opportunity to be involved, the better. For example, if you're shopping for healthy snacks at the grocery store, ask your child which two healthy snacks they want to try this week.

Next: You can also offer choices when it comes to how foods are prepared. For example, would your child like their apple sliced or diced? Would they like to eat it with a dip, like a nut butter?

Kids can do far more tasks in the kitchen than most parents would guess. Will it be slower and messier to get them involved? At first: yes! But with time, their skills will grow (and the mess will slowly diminish).

Your child is going to be more open-minded about foods that they've helped to prepare.

Being a parent/grandparent/caregiver in an environment with so many snack options can be very difficult, the key here is to keep it simple and fun.  

Here's to Happy Snacking!! 

Here’s one of my favorite family-friendly healthy snack options: 



¾ cup old-fashioned oats

½ cup bran flakes cereal

½ cup mixed nuts, chopped

¼ cup dried cherries

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup raw shelled hempseed 

3 tbsp peanut butter

¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips, melted


Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and come up about 3 inches on opposite sides. This will act as a handle to remove the bars from the dish.

Add the oats, cereal, nuts, cherries, cranberries, and hempseed to a large bowl and mix well. 

Mix the peanut butter and syrup together and pour into the large bowl. Mix well. Add the melted chocolate and mix again.

Press firmly into the prepared dish and into all corners. Let set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Grab the “handles” of the parchment paper and lift out of the dish. Place on a cutting board and slice down the center. Turn and make three even cuts, which will give you eight long bars.

NUTRITIONAL VALUES: Calories: 193 kcal / Fat: 11.2g (2.1g S.Fat)/ Carbs: 19g / Protein: 5.7g / Sugar: 8g / Sodium: 69mg

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