30 Healthful Snack Ideas for Tweens and Teens
Here are 30 healthful snack ideas for your always-hungry, always-on-the-go, growing tweens and teens.
A snack to bring to school, a snack after school, a snack between activities, a snack before sports, a snack after sports…let’s face it, your child eats a lot of snacks! And while I am all for minimizing mindless snacking, active, growing children and teens really do need substantial snacks to keep them going.
But if you are like many parents, you may feel like your child could use some new, healthful go-to snacks. It’s easy to get in the habit of buying and packing the same snacks.
A nourishing snack should provide complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Here are 30 healthful snack ideas–hopefully at least some of them will appeal to your family.
Portable Snack Ideas
- No-bake bliss or energy balls, such as these: coconut cashew bliss balls, cocoa coconut bliss balls (nut-free), pumpkin spice balls.
- Plain Greek yogurt or with honey and/or granola and/or berries. Mix it up with organic, low-sugar, fruit-flavored yogurts, such as Siggi’s.
- String cheese + orange + almonds or other nuts.
- Hummus + whole wheat pita chips.
- Guacamole + whole grain tortilla chips.
- Homemade stove-popped popcorn or air-popped and drizzled with a little butter + a side of fresh strawberries.
- Chewy, no-bake granola bars.
- Crunchy HÄLSA chocolate chip granola bars. Or buy minimally processed such as Larabar or KIND.
- Cinnamon pita chips + yogurt dip + fruit.
- Chocolate chia seed pudding. Combine 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk + 2 tablespoons chia seeds + 1 tablespoon cocoa + 1 tablespoon maple syrup in a jar. Cover, shake, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- Hard-boiled egg + carrot sticks + rice crackers.
- Trail mix (make your own with a variety of wholesome ingredients such as cheerios, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate)
- Healthier oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and milk.
- Wholesome trailmix cookies.
- Yogurt parfait: layer Greek yogurt, berries, and granola in a mason jar with a lid.
- Salad in a mason jar. (So trendy now that your kids may eat it!)
- Cheese slices and whole grain crackers such as Wasa or Akmak.
- Roasted chickpeas. Make yourself or look for them at your grocery store. Biena makes a great line.
- Mini banana bread muffins.
- Morning glory muffins.
Enjoy At Home Snack Ideas
- Almond butter on whole-grain toast with banana slices.
- Mini pizzas: whole wheat English muffin + sauce + veggies + mozzarella.
- Panini press sandwich (be creative, almost everything tastes good as a warm sandwich!)
- Smoothie: make your own berry or green smoothie using this smoothie guide.
- Healthful strawberry milkshake: blend together whole milk or coconut milk + frozen strawberries.
- Healthful chocolate milkshake: blend together milk (dairy or nondairy) + banana (ideally frozen) + cocoa powder + honey.
- Wild blueberry and cream toast.
- Ricotta, berry, honey, and chia toast: Spread ricotta cheese onto toast, then top with berries and drizzle with honey and broil until warm and berries start to burst. Sprinkle with chia seeds.
- Avocado on toast with sliced tomato and a sprinkle of sea salt. Give it an extra nutrition boost with a sprinkle of hemp seeds.
- Make a cheese quesadilla and dip it into salsa. Give it a nutrition boost by using a whole wheat tortilla and/or adding beans.
Now, the real trick is planning ahead enough so that you have these snacks ready or almost ready when you need them. Here are some tips:
- Make sure you have plenty of reusable storage containers and lids in a variety of small to medium sizes.
- Pick a few ideas to try.
- Shop for the ingredients.
- Make a plan for when the snacks will be prepared. A lot of these snacks can be prepared in batches and then kept on hand in the freezer or pantry (e.g., granola bars, muffins, hummus). Others can be made or prepped the night before (e.g., salad, fruit salad, cheese, and chia seed pudding). Some will be best when prepared to order — a great way to get your teen involved with cooking (e.g., ricotta on toast, mini pizzas, smoothies, and milkshakes).
Have fun and try getting your kids involved in the snack-making if you can. (Otherwise, know that these snacks work well for the whole family, including you, so your effort is worth it!)
Updated March 13, 2017