Healthy Snacks for Hungry Kids

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Got kids who are always hungry? Let’s rephrase that, got kids? Here are some healthy snacks to make sure they’re satisfied in good ways.

girl holding platter of fruit skewers

It would seem that kids are always hungry: breakfast, 2nd breakfast, elevensies, luncheon…. Oh wait! Is that hobbits or kids?

Same thing, really.

While three (or more) good meals are a great base, a healthy afternoon snack can be just the ticket to help kids — and adults — make it through the 3:00 slump.

As your family moves away from a steady diet of processed foods toward more wholesome fare, perhaps you’ve been looking for ways to provide snacks without resorting to boxed crackers, gummies, and other pre-packaged foods. At the same time, you need to serve healthy snacks that won’t break the bank!

Can healthy snacks be budget friendly? You betcha!

10 Healthy Snacks for Hungry Kids

Check out these ten healthy snacks that are mostly unprocessed, feature seasonal foods, and that won’t bust the budget.

1. Apple Dippers

Serve apple slices with a healthy dip like nut or seed butters or even a little maple whipped cream.

Apples are typically on sale this time of year, making for a very frugal snack. Buy apples that are firm and unblemished and store them in the refrigerator. Consider buying a big box if you have the storage space. Look for organic apples if you can since apples tend to hold onto the pesticides.

Any way you slice ’em, kids will gobble up them apples.

2. Ants on a Log

My kids love this snack of celery spread with sunbutter (or nut butter if you don’t have any allergies to contend with) and dotted with craisins or raisins.

Celery is another one of those Dirty Dozen vegetables that retains the pesticides, so buy organic if you can. If celery’s not already on sale in your neck of the woods, it will be soon for the Thanksgiving holidays.

Store celery in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Limp celery can often be revitalized by an ice water bath.

muffin pan full of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

3. Pumpkin Muffins

I’m able to get a wealth of veggies into my kids when I bake them into muffins and quick breads. These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins will put a smile on any kid’s face. Go sparingly with the chocolate. A little goes a long way.

Pumpkin, either fresh or canned, should be in full supply at the stores right now. And baking your own baked goods is an easy way to eat well and spend less.

4. Yogurt with Maple Syrup or Honey

This is one of my favorite snacks! Plain yogurt, preferably full fat because it tastes creamier, drizzled with maple syrup is divine.

If you buy the yogurt in large containers, you can usually find it on sale. Real maple syrup can be pricey, but so worth it. I buy it in bulk quantities at Costco or Trader Joe’s.

Several of the FishKids prefer honey on their yogurt. That may be a more economical choice for some families.

5. Applesauce

Applesauce is a very affordable snack, packed with vitamins and fiber. You can buy large jars and dole it out, or make your own in the crockpot. It freezes extremely well, meaning that you can maximize your time by making a ginormous batch. My kids like to eat it still partially frozen, like a slushie.

If pears are on sale, you can make pear sauce in the same way.

chocolate dipped banana slices in a dish

6. Chocolate-Covered Banana Slices

These frozen bits of deliciousness, chocolate-covered banana bites are quick to pull together. They taste almost like ice cream – only less guilt-inducing and a little bit healthier. You can also make and freeze whole chocolate dipped bananas. Use dark chocolate for a little added health benefit.

7. Cheese Slices and Homemade Bread

Baking fresh bread is not all that difficult, especially when you have a bread machine or follow the 5-minute Artisan Bread method. It’s easy, quick, and much cheaper than storebought bread. Hand your kids some cheese and a chunk of bread for a very Hobbit-like snack.

8. Veggies and Hummus or Homemade Ranch

You’ll be amazed at how much more veggies folks — both young and old — will eat when they’re served as part of a veggie tray alongside hummus or ranch dips.

Keep cucumbers, peppers, carrots, and celery on hand for quick healthy snacks that are quick and cheap to prepare.

9. Croutons

Got leftover bread that no one wants to eat in a sandwich? Transform it into croutons. Sure, croutons usually top salads. But, when I make homemade croutons, very few make it to the salad bowl!

Toss bread cubes with a little melted butter or olive oil and toast them in the oven or in a pan on the stovetop. You can season them with garlic powder and herbs or go in the other direction and douse them with a little cinnamon sugar. Either way = yum!

pear cake and pears with slice of cake in foreground

10. Let them eat cake!

Snack cakes are a perfect little pick-me-up. Use whole wheat pastry flour and you’ve included a whole grain. Snack cakes bake quickly without a lot of fuss.

Boost their nutrition even further by adding seasonal fruit. This Pear Cake is a favorite with our family as well as with friends. There are never leftovers.

Healthy snacks are totally possible. With a little advance prep work, you’ll never need to reach for the nuclear colored cheese dip again.

What are healthy snacks at YOUR house?

Level up your meal planning and prep.

Need a little extra motivation to get on your meal planning game? Want to make lunch packing less of a drag? Creating a kitchen survival kit to help you WIN in the kitchen this school year.

I’d love for you to join me for the next Mom’s Kitchen Survival Workshop!

Together, we’ll create a plan to help you get dinner on the table every night, fill your freezer with wholesome snacks and breakfasts, finesse your lunch-packing skills, and even make sure you get a daily dose of MOM food.

Learn more here so that when registration opens, you won’t miss out.

pinnable image of girl holding platter of fruit skewers


About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. kelly says

    Carrot Spice Muffins made with whole wheat flour and LOTS of grated or chopped fine carrots!

  2. These look terrific. My pears can’t get enough apples and pears this time of year, in any form.

    Also, homemade ettle corn is a favorite treat around here.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Kettle corn sounds yummy!

  3. Jen says

    thanks for the great ideas! i have a hungry 2 year old, so i’m excited to try some new snacks. i did notice that the link to the cheddar crackers goes to the crock-pot apple sauce. where can I find the recipe for the homemade cheddar crackers? thanks so much!

    • Jessica Fisher says

      I fixed the link. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

  4. Kathy says

    Love, love, love that you are referring to the Dirty Dozen list when you talk about produce! We try to buy organic for those foods more and more of the time, ESP. The foods that the kids eat the most of: carrots, apples, lettuce potatoes and – when the price is decent – grapes and celery.

  5. that cake sounds great! i just made a cinnamon apple cake that sounds similar but love the idea of pears. 🙂

  6. I love all the snacks you mentioned but especially the cheese crackers. I will for sure have to give those a try.

    My favorite snack and it smells SOOOO delicious as it bakes is homemade granola. My kids eat it plain, in yogurt, over fruit, and as cereal.

    Here is the link if anyone is interested.

  7. Posts like these are always so helpful. Kids are ever hungry, especially after things like swimming or gymnastics or SCHOOL!

    We’ve spent the last couple of weeks with the dehydrator always whirring making apple chips and I want to try kale chips soon. We make lots of different dips including a buffalo chicken one to go with our carrot sticks and red pepper sticks. I am still buying hummus though since I haven’t had homemade I love as much as the brand we buy, but I really need to keep trying.

    Another favorite are no-bake granola bars ( … and I want to try making these power balls ( as well – just need a few more hours in the day.

    • You will LOVE kale chips. I recently tried them and I couldn’t bake them fast enough. I stood at the counter eating one batch while the other batch baked, and so on until I ate the entire supply of kale I’d purchased. SOOOO good!

  8. I love this list. It amazes me how much my 3 year old boy eats already. And then there’s my 10 month old who appears to eat a lot and then later I find everything I gave her shoved under the cushions of her seat of down the front of her shirt.

    For anyone with a garden, there’s been a really easy type of celery that doesn’t require blanching that’s been showing up at my garden center the past two years. It grows well into November here in Virginia and doesn’t require very much work or water.

  9. Delicious looking muffins! I’m going to have to try them. With me pregnant, I’m just as ‘snacky’ as the kids. Great list of ideas to keep our tummies happy.

  10. Tori Palmer says

    Popcorn, popped on the stove.
    Banana bread
    banana muffins
    homemade granola bars
    homemade chex mix
    homemade oatmeal cookies

  11. Thanks for the ideas! We are always searching for snack ideas because we have multiple food allergies to worry about (and allergy-friendly packaged food is expensive and of little nutritional value). I make bread weekly and freeze homemade waffles, pancakes, muffins and cookies but still feel limited in snack choices when the kiddos are tired and hungry.

  12. Amanda says

    Great ideas, the recipe sounds yummy. I did a Daniel fast last year, and tried something called “date honey.” So easy to make, and super yummy and healthy as an apple dipper. Here’s a link to the recipe…

  13. Jenny says

    Thanks for the tasty ideas. I often refer to my three boys (and myself) as having hobbit appetites. We eat a lot of popcorn, even though I have to keep the vacuum sweeper handy. The pear cake looks great. We have a pear tree in our yard and can’t keep up. It’s a nice problem to have!

  14. Oh that pear cake sounds so good, I must try it! Also on celery…thank you. I needed that reminder! I just saw a lady’s blog, she soaks her celely in V8 juice in the fridge and the juice soaks up into the celery. When I was a little girl my mom would cut carrots into sticks and put them in a container of cold water in the fridge. It was so good like that!

  15. Mamie says

    I have awarded you the Versatile Blog award! Come by my site and check it out. I love your blog.


  16. Great ideas! We do lots of muffins… they are great for hiding all kinds of healthy things (we always add chocolate chips too… they make everything better)

    Our biggest healthy go to snack is popcorn. We have a popper (I think that microwave stuff is exensive, unhealthy, and yucky). We pop it and put olive oil and sea salt on it and the kids eat tones of it. The straight poping corn is full of all kinds of good healthy things.

  17. For snacks, I love:
    – smoothies (so does my one-year-old 🙂
    – cottage cheese with apple butter
    – string cheese
    – baked apples

    As well as many of the things you have already mentioned, especially apples and peanut butter!

  18. You inspired me. I’ve got a vat of applesauce in the crockpot as we speak. I’ve never made it from scratch before. Next on the list is the pumpkin muffins. They sound fabulous.

  19. I started making my own YoCrunch with homemade crock pot yogurt and granola and other fun toppings. I package them separately and send them to school.

  20. Thanks for this. I’ve been looking for some good homemade snacks. My husband says we never have enough snacks in the house!

  21. Mar H says

    I make banana-pumpkin-applesauce muffins with oatmeal, flax seed and raisins in them. I’m not a fan of banana bread but this recipe hides the flavor AND uses up those overripe bananas. My boys love them.
    Also – regular popcorn cooked in the microwave, which I’m a tad embarassed to admit I only just recently learned how to do.
    Thanks for the encouragement to buy organic. I don’t usually but want to more often. And thanks for all the snack inspiration. I’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut lately.

  22. Susan says

    Awesome ideas!! For those interested in a Ranch dressing recipe that doesn’t require eggs (I don’t like mayo, so I don’t use it at all), here’s one that my Ranch-loving family can’t get enough of (it’s adapted from the No-Mayonnaise Ranch Dressing on

    Ranch Dressing
    1 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
    1/2 teaspoon dried chives
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or use fresh crushed garlic)
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1/2 teaspoon sugar or substitute
    1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

    Mix all ingredients together and whisk until smooth. You may need to add more buttermilk to your desired consistency, or don’t add quite as much, and make it a dip! Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving (better overnight).

    To make Three-Cheese Ranch, add 2/3 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese, and 6 Tablespoons grated Parmesan-Romano blend (or whatever cheeses you like), and another 1/2 – 3/4 cups buttermilk. You’ll also need to add a dash more of each of the spices to flavor the added ingredients.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      Thank you! We’ll have to try this.

  23. Jjennie Fiumefreddo says

    Made your spiced pear cake tonight and it was great! I added alittle clove to the other spices and served warm with whipped cream…..YUMMM!!!!

  24. sarah says

    Great Post! Great recipes! What is is about after school snack? My 7yr old comes home from school starving like he hasn’t eaten for days (I give him a colossal lunch and a full breakfast too). All that growing and learning I suspect. thanks for some new ideas on an area I’d gone dry on. Looking forward to trying the Pear Cake.

  25. Thanks so much for this list! Snacks seem to be the hardest foods to get cheap and healthy!
    We like a lot of the snacks you mentioned and also popcorn, crackers with peanut butter and homemade trail mix using cheap ingredients like peanuts, raisins and banana chips.

  26. Eco18 says

    Those fall snacks look delicious! This is our favorite fall snack…apple crisps!

  27. Erin says

    Great cake! Made it 2 nights ago and it was devoured. 🙂 I did double the spices, including zest – except cinnamon – I used 1tsp cinn in the cake and another 1/2tsp in the topping. So good. Only downside? The family wants me to make it again immediately…..
    oh – I also used a 8X8 regular glass baking pan – cooked an extra 20min or so – worked fine.

  28. vanessa says

    Frozen grapes are a big fave at our house, especially in summer but all year round, too. When they go on sale, I freeze them on trays, then put handfuls in smaller containers, ready to grab.

    Also mini cups of homemade mac n’ cheese go into our freezer for kid snacks.

  29. kay says

    For snacking time:
    -English muffin pizzas-toast the muffins before spreading with homemade pizza sauce (I make my own for these tiny pizzas out of the little can of tomato sauce by adding garlic powder and Italian seasoning, then freeze using an ice cube tray. Once frozen, place the cubes in a bag in the freezer, then take out individually and thaw a few seconds in microwave, before spreading one cube for each side of the muffin) add meat/mushrooms/leftover veggies etc. then a slice or shredded cheese on top to broil. Yum!
    -frozen washed grapes/berries etc. Place individually on cookie sheet to freeze many at once, then portion out into individual bags. They’re like tiny popsicles.

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