34+ Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids and Adults

Message from Milly

Greetings to all,

One of the top questions I get from clients is: "Do you have any recommendations for healthy snacks?"

Often, this question comes from parents, but healthy and tasty snacks are important for adults too!

So, in this newsletter, I'll share 34+ healthy snack tips and ideas I've learned from working with health-conscious families and children with food sensitivities over the last 30+ years.

Nearly all of these snack ideas can be customized based on your needs, food sensitivities, and dietary preferences. And I've kept things simple...because who has time to spend an hour preparing a snack?

Blessings for a safe and fun rest of the summer!


Ingredients to Watch Out For In Prepared Snacks

It is so incredible to have access to such a variety of organic, all-natural, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sugar, no-sugar, allergen-free prepared snacks.

This is especially wonderful for children with food sensitivities who would have otherwise felt different, deprived, or left out by not having some treats, crackers, chips, etc., in their school lunches, at birthday parties, and just for fun.

However, the big food giants have bought many mom-and-pop natural food brands in the last decade.

This doesn't necessarily mean the quality of ingredients has been compromised, but it does necessitate more vigilance when reading labels.

Here are some common pseudo-healthy ingredients to watch out for on natural and organic food labels:

  • White flour (especially conventional flour)
  • Excess sugar, corn syrup, cane sugar, cane juice, etc.
  • Excess salt
  • Processed (pro-inflammatory) seed oils including:
  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Flavor enhancers, including "natural flavors"
  • Some natural flavors, such as vanilla or natural extracts, are fine. However, less-than-natural additives are commonly hidden under this label. See the previous newsletter linked below for details.
  • Hidden MSG, which may be listed as:
  • Modified yeast
  • Hydrolyzed-fill-in-the-blank
  • Natrium glutamate
  • Glutamic acid
  • And others
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Erythritol and xylitol are better choices than aspartame, saccharine, or Splenda for people with diabetes or blood sugar issues.
  • Gums, which can be problematic for those with gut health issues.
  • Non-organic soy, corn, and other genetically-modified crops.

This is not an exhaustive list of ingredients to watch out for, but it gives you a good idea of the biggies.

For a more complete discussion on pseudo-healthy foods and ingredients (including "natural flavors," MSG, and other excitotoxins), please see our previous newsletter: How to Avoid Fake Natural Foods.

16 Ideas for Healthy Homemade Snacks

Children (and adults) do not benefit from eating junk food.

Sure, I'm all for occasional treats---and actually recommend them to help prevent food phobias and family squabbles while nurturing courtesy and appreciation of food.

However, homemade, simple, and real foods are always best.

Here are 16+ simple ideas you can customize to meet your family's needs:

  1. Mini hummus or butter boards: This can be a fantastic, low-pressure way to get kids to try new foods. Just spread your favorite hummus, grass-fed butter, or other healthy spread on small cutting boards and pile on the crackers, veggies, olives, nuts, grapes, apple slices, etc.
  2. Chia pudding with fruit: Find five recipes for different flavors here.
  3. Trader Joe's Nut No-Bake Energy Balls: Who knew one of the yummiest energy ball recipes would be found on the back of a Trader Joe's Flaxmeal bag? Sub almond or cashew butter and/or sugar-free DF chocolate chips as needed. Raisins work well too.
  4. A fruit and veggie tray with savory dips (guacamole, hummus, etc.) and sweet dips (yogurt, chocolate hummus, etc.): Often, if you include some fruit, the veggies magically disappear. (-;
  5. Sweet or savory paninis: Sweet could be nut butter and bananas or organic or dairy-free cream cheese with all-fruit jam, and savory could be salami and cheese or avocado with turkey. Press them in a waffle maker or panini press, and you're done.
  6. Purple Resolution Smoothies: This recipe from the Pioneer Woman is a wonderful way to get antioxidant-rich red cabbage into your kids. Sub DF yogurt and milk if needed. Other healthful, flavor-neutral smoothie veggie additions include: avocado, spinach, kale, pumpkin, sweet potato, frozen cauliflower, greens powders/
  7. Tamari-roasted almonds: Toss raw almonds in organic tamari to coat. Roast at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes, stir and roast another 10 minutes. Cool and devour.
  8. Frozen grapes: These are so simple, but they make the most delightful summer treat. Frozen blueberries and cherries are also delicious (cut cherries in half for little ones).
  9. Apple, nut butter, & granola saucers: Core an apple and cut it into saucer-like slices. Spread a thin layer of nut butter and dip into a healthy granola. Serve.
  10. Cheating guacamole with chips or veggies: Mash up an avocado with some of your favorite salsa. Serve with organic corn chips or veggies.
  11. Healthier fruit pizzas: Toast your favorite healthy tortilla (Sami's Baker has great GF options made with millet flour) until crisp. Blend regular organic or DF cream cheese with fruit jam. Spread the mixture on the tortilla and let the kids decorate with fruit. Add a drizzle of honey as a final flourish.
  12. Nutrient-dense creamy key lime popsicles: This Key Lime Popsicle recipe from Mommypotamus is totally delicious, filling, and nutritious.
  13. Chocolate muffins with hidden greens: Try this one from "The Natural Nurturer" and watch your kids devour their veggies.
  14. Air fries: Who says fries have to be a dinnertime thing? Pop a few julienned organic russet or sweet potatoes in the air fryer with olive or avocado oil and some sea salt. Serve with organic ketchup.
  15. Ants on a log: A classic but a goodie, sub almond or cashew butter for peanut butter (if desired), and top with raisins or healthier chocolate chips.
  16. Blender muffins: These muffins contain fiber- and protein-rich beans and nut butter, are sweetened with maple syrup (there's a sugar-free version, too), and are super fast to whip up. They also freeze well.
As always, the information in this newsletter is provided for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace the advice or care of your medical provider.
All the links to products are provided for educational purposes and are not affiliate links.

18+ Healthy Store Bought Snacks

There is absolutely no shame in stocking your pantry and fridge with truly healthful prepared snacks.

Plus, combining the convenience factor of store-bought with homemade makes it easier to stay on track.

  1. Chomps pepperoni sticks are made with clean meats and make a great protein-packed snack.
  2. Lara Bars are a long-time favorite for their simple ingredients and awesome flavor. Tip: If you want no refined sugar, skip the chocolate flavors and read the labels as a few flavors now contain "natural flavor".
  3. Seaweed snacks make a great alternative to chips and provide a source of immune-supportive iodine.
  4. Regular or DF Cheese (Treeline is excellent) with Simple Mills GF Crackers: Buy organic cheese (pasture-raised is even better) whenever possible. Those who are dairy sensitive may be able to tolerate goat or sheep's milk (manchego and feta) but not always. Kerrygold is a decent non-organic brand that uses milk from pasture-raised cows.
  5. Nuts and Seeds: Pistachios in their shell and salted pumpkin seeds (shelled or unshelled) tend to be favorites among adults and children. You can buy sprouted or plain depending your needs.
  6. Sprouted (Alvarados Street) or GF Bagels (Sami's Bakery) with organic or DF cream cheese, tomato, sprouts, etc.
  7. Hu Chocolates are made with organic coconut sugar.
  8. Lily's Chocolates are sweetened with stevia and erythritol.
  9. Granola: Finding junk-free granola can be a challenge, but Pure Elizabeth is a good brand without refined seed oils or refined sugar.
  10. Simple Mills Seed and Nut Flour Sweet Thins are GF and sweetened with coconut sugar.
  11. Epic Bars these pastured meat-based protein bars are a much better option than the overly processed alternatives.
  12. Rice cakes or rice thins make excellent carriers for spreads, meats, veggies, etc.
  13. Aussie Bites can be found at Costco in bulk, at your natural foods store, or made at home and are a favorite of mine!
  14. Siete has a great variety of grain-free, refined-oil-free chips and wraps.
  15. Enjoy Life has a great selection of allergen-free cookies. Note they do contain brown sugar.
  16. Bare Organic Apple Chips can be found in bulk at Costco for a great deal or at your local natural foods store.
  17. Olives, pickles, and such: Olives, pickles, and other pickled or fermented foods are healthier than chips and satisfy those salty cravings. Plus, olives contain healthful essential fatty acids, and naturally fermented foods offer probiotic benefits.
  18. Simple Mills crackers, cake mixes, etc. offer healthful and affordable gluten-free, grain-free, and nutrient-dense products.

For more info on brands I trust, check out: Helpful Resources for Food Sensitivities.