Healthy snacks are a great way to keep your kids energized and boost their essential nutrient intake – but sometimes, it’s hard to come up with ideas that are both interesting and easy.

Luckily, Stacy Chandna, MS, CIP, has lots of tips.

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1. Focus on the basics: fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins.

You can keep it simple and provide your child with nutrient-dense foods to keep them fueled and ready to learn.

  • Pair sliced fruit like apples or pears with cheese.
  • Spread peanut butter or sunflower seed butter on celery.
  • Serve an assortment of raw veggies with hummus.
  • Create a yogurt parfait with berries and toasted oats.
  • Hard-boil eggs and serve with a slice of whole grain toast

2. Prepare in advance.

Spending a little extra time to prepare for the week ahead can set you up for a successful snack and lunch game and reduce the morning scramble.

  • Slice vegetables to have at the ready for school snacks and to grab-and-go throughout the week.
  • Portion out servings of hummus, dip, or yogurt in advance so you or your kids can grab easily during the morning routine.
  • Boil eggs for the week ahead so they are at your fingertips for snacks, salads or sandwiches.

> Related: Meal Prep Made Easy: Make Cooking at Home Easier, Healthier and Fun for Kids


3. When the basics start to feel boring, jazz them up.

Try serving the snack in a different way:

  • Create fruit or veggie kabobs instead of serving sliced.
  • Use cookie cutters to make shapes out of cheese and whole grain bread.
  • Roast chickpeas instead of serving hummus for a crunchy and filling snack.
  • Freeze a smoothie and take out in the morning. When snack time arrives, the smoothie will be ready as a delicious surprise for your kiddo. (You just need a freezer-friendly jar for storing the smoothie.)

Try new recipes:

> Related: Easy Ways to Use Up the Random Ingredients in Your Kitchen Pantry

4. Mind your Ss (sugar and salt) when searching for grocery store grab-and-go snacks.

Look at the nutrition labels. Typically, the fewer the ingredients, the better. 

5. Incorporate your kids into the routine.

Bringing kids into the kitchen with you promotes building independence and encourages kids to try new foods and talk about healthy eating. It may take some patience at first, but it’s a wonderful investment. With adult supervision, children as young as age 2 can help with all of the following.

  • If you have a set of child-friendly knives, children can chop softer fruits and vegetables like cucumbers.
  • If you do not mind how pretty the egg looks afterwards, kids can be great hard-boiled egg peelers.
  • Kids can use cookie cutters to make shapes out of cheese and bread.
  • Kids can portion hummus, dips, and yogurts.

Happy snacking!