Kid Friendly Snacks

by Brooke Joanna Benlifer, RD

Kids need 2 – 3 snacks a day.  A snack is between 100 – 150 calories.   Expand your concept of “snack food” with these treats:

Fresh Fruit – whole or sliced

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peeled oranges
  • Bananas
  • Kiwis
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries

Raw Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Baby carrots
  • Jicama spears
  • Cauliflower
  • Sugar-snap peas
  • Celery sticks
  • Tomatoes – grape or cherry
  • Cucumber slices or spears
  • Peas – bowl of frozen peas, thawed
  • Corn on the cob (pre-cooked)
  • Red or yellow bell pepper slices


  • Smoothies – made with plain yogurt or tofu and fruit
    • Add veggies to the blender on the sly!
    • Juice – 100% juice – no more than once a day
    • Milk – whole milk for kids 3 and under, skim for older kids (or use almond milk!)

Dip It!

Kids love to dip, and may try new foods if a dip is provided…

  • Hummus
  • Peanut butter (if your pediatrician has given you the go-ahead)
  • Mild salsa
  • Italian dressing
  • Cottage cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Guacamole (made without mayonnaise)
  • Yogurt –mix plain yogurt with:
    • Fruit juice concentrate
    • Raisins
    • Cinnamon
    • Vanilla extract
    • Applesauce

Good Grains and Protein

  • Multi-grain tortilla chips – try FoodShouldTasteGood ®
  • Whole-wheat pita chips
  • Whole-grain pretzels
  • Popcorn (plain) and Peanuts (if age 5 or older) Snack Mix
  • Cheese & Crackers – whole-wheat crackers and low-fat cheese

Tasty Treats

  • Fruit Leather – 100% fruit – brush teeth well!
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs with salt and pepper
  • String Cheese – low fat
  • Edamame
  • Chicken breast strips (instead of chicken nuggets)


Kid-Friendly Snacks to Avoid

Convenience foods may quiet kids down, but they also cause the risk of obesity and nutritional deficiencies


Processed meats – full of fat, nitrates, food additives, and fillers, while being lower in protein

  • Chicken nuggets
  • Bologna
  • Pre-made pizza pockets
  • Hot dogs
  • Meat sticks

Empty calories – getting your kids to eat is hard enough without filling them with nutrient-empty foods

  • Potato chips
  • French fries or jo-jos
  • White bread
  • Cream cheese
  • Crackers – including Goldfish and Cheddar Bunnies!
  • Velveeta and cheese whiz
  • Deep-fried anything
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Ranch
  • Butter/margarine
  • White rice
  • Frosting
  • Lunchables
  • Macaroni & Cheese

Hidden sugar – Look at the ingredient list – if the first five ingredients contain sugar, white flour, or corn syrup, try a different product

  • Flavored yogurt
  • Animal “crackers” and graham “crackers” – these should be called cookies
  • Soda
  • Fruit rollups
  • Pop-tarts and toaster strudels
  • Juice – many contain lots of added sugars
  • Smoothies made with ice cream and fruit syrup
  • Fruit cups
  • Applesauce
  • Some cereals and granola– many are more sugar than grain
  • Peanut butter – choose all-natural PB

Brooke.photoBrooke Joanna Benlifer, RD is a Cornell University graduate and Registered Dietician with expertise in a variety of medical issues.  She has worked in the hospital setting, and currently works in the San Diego area in private practice.  She has experience working with families and children who have problems such as overweight, celiac disease, diabetes and food allergies.  Brooke is available to Coast Pediatrics families who would like guidance on grocery shopping, cooking and maintaining a healthy eating environment at home.  See her website,, for more information and for recipes for healthy snacks your family can make at home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *