Do the Dip!
Nothing satisfies like a crunchy-smooth combo of dipping sticks and saucy spreads. To keep calories low and nutrients high, pair 1 cup of fruits and veggies with a dip. Just be sure to stick with the recommended serving size!
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter
- Black bean dip
Dip freely (almost!):
Grab and Go:
In the real world, sometimes pre-packaged snacks have to suffice. Don’t sweat it: These options are all healthy picks, says Rachel Meltzer Warren, R.D.
Yogurt tubes: Of the squeeze yogurts out there, Chobani Champions has the least added sugar and no artificial coloring.
String cheese: It’s a good source of protein, which keeps kids feeling fuller longer. Meltzer Warren’s pick: Horizon Organic Mozzarella String Cheese. “I try to use organic dairy as much as possible to limit kids’ exposure to synthetic hormones and antibiotics,” she says.
Applesauce: “I like Earth’s Best Kids because it has no added sweetener,” says Meltzer Warren.
Fruit cups: Look for Dole Fruit Cups that are packaged in 100 percent juice.
Granola bars: “Some come dangerously close to candy bar territory,” says Meltzer Warren. Her fave? Annie’s Organic: “They each have 8 grams of whole grains and are relatively low on the sugar scale.”
Keep the crunch but lose the grease with these healthy options.
Get Fruity: Slice apples or pears very thinly. Lay slices in a single layer on parchment paper and bake at 200°F for two hours, flipping once.
Veg Out: For beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, slice and toss with olive oil; bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 20. Kale chips? Tear leaves into bite-size pieces and toss with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes total, flipping once.
Pair protein with quality carbs for a filling fruit-and-cheese combo that’s sure to please your kid’s palate. Serve 1.5 ounces of cheese (about three small cubes or 1?½ slices) or 1/2 cup cottage cheese with about a cup of fruit slices. Try mixing and matching these cheese-and-fruit combos:
- Cheddar with apples, pears, grapes, stone fruit
- Feta with apples, pears
- Gouda with apples, pears, grapes, stone fruit
- Swiss with apples, pears
- Cottage cheese with stone fruit, berries, melon
- Mozzarella with melon, berries
- Provolone with melon
- Havarti with grapes
- Monterey Jack with stone fruit, berries
- Muenster with berries
Mix It Up!
“Trail mix is a healthy, protein-rich favorite in my house,” says Maryann Jacobsen, R.D. “Your kids can build their own by choosing their favorite ingredients—just keep the proportions in check.” To make a big batch that you can store in a jar or plastic baggie, use this easy formula:
- 1/2 cup sweet treat
- 1 cup nuts/seeds
- 1 cup dried fruit
- 2 cups whole grain
Tip: Save those little plastic cups that applesauce and diced fruit come in. They’re about ½ cup—the perfect size for a single serving of trail mix.
Snacks for Dinner?
Got a snack-aholic kid with an aversion to mealtime? No problem. “You can easily turn snacks into meals,” says Meltzer Warren. “Think of it as kid tapas.” Just aim to divide your kid’s plate into ½ produce, ¼ protein, ¼ grains.