10 Fun, Healthy Snacks for Kids to Make

The preschool and elementary school years are a wonderful time to get your child involved in the kitchen—and snacktime is the perfect place to start. Give them opportunities to help with preparation and planning.

When you encourage your child to make their own snacks (with supervision and guidance as needed), you’ll satisfy their need for independence, build pride and confidence, foster kitchen skills, and cultivate a more adventurous, engaged eater.

A child who has a hand in making their own snacks may be more likely to eat them. So, giving them chef-duty can reduce picky eating, too.

You'll also help them build other important life skills, such as how to work as a team, the importance of healthy food choices, how to clean up, and the basics of food safety.

Getting Started

To start, let them do as much as they can by themselves. For example, you can supervise your preschooler while they wash fruit before they eat it. Or have them use a butter knife to cut soft foods or spread peanut butter. Keep a watchful eye on them, but after demonstrating skills, aim to let them take over.

You can also encourage them to become more independent about getting their own snacks by keeping snack fixings at the ready. Stock a dedicated drawer of the refrigerator with healthy choices that are separated in preschool-size portions. Find another spot (a kitchen drawer, shelf, or bin) with snackable dry goods, such as pretzels, dried mango slices, raisins, and nuts.

Then, when they say they're hungry, encourage them to choose something on their own from the snack drawer. Giving your child agency in what's in the dedicated snack area, as well as the ability to get it for themselves builds your child's confidence, excitement, and interest in what they are eating.

Let them experiment, too—even if it makes a bit of a mess. (Then you can teach them how to clean!) Playing with food doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it encourages them to develop their food prep skills, tastes, and imagination.

Below, we share 10 healthy snacks your little chef (with a little help as needed) can make on their own to enjoy at any time.

1

Fruit Pizza

colorful fruit pizza with berries and cream cheese on cookie crust

rez-art / iStock / Getty Images Plus

 

Turn pizza-making on its head by making a colorful mosaic of fruit. Your child will likely want to overload it with fruit topping when they realize they can create their own masterpiece.

Use a mini whole-wheat tortilla for the crust. (Small tortillas will make eating the finished product easier.) Then, let your preschooler spread cream cheese on the shell.

Provide fruit toppings, such as strawberries, raspberries, banana slices, and kiwi. Have your child assist with cutting up the larger fruit. This can teach them cutting skills in a safe way. And they may be more likely to eat the fruit when they're the ones who sliced it.

If they get on a roll with slicing fruit and end up with too much, freeze the excess and use it for smoothies later on.

Inspire your preschooler to add any of their favorite fruits and/or veggies. Whatever combinations they come up with should be encouraged.

Then, when they're done, they’ll have a mini pizza to enjoy. Have fun with it by encouraging them to name their kind of pizza—a kiwi berry pizza or a bananaberry special could be a hit!

2

Make-Your-Own Pizza

Young girl making pizza with parents in kitchen

Thomas Barwick / Taxi / Getty Images Plus

After taking on fruit pizza, try the more traditional kind. Just about anything can be used as a pizza crust, including french bread, bagels, English muffins, or tortillas. Alternatively, make your own crust or buy a prepared dough.

Easy Pizza Dough

A simple recipe is 1 cup Greek yogurt to 1 3/4 cup self-rising flour. Mix and chill for 30 minutes or more. Pull dough with fingers to shape the crust to desired thickness.

Have your child grease a baking sheet and place down their crust, followed by tomato sauce, cheese, and preferred toppings.

Have them grate the cheese, slice the veggies and meats, and layer on their desired ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese bubbles and turns golden brown.

3

Apple Slices and Peanut Butter

apple slices and chunky peanut butter on a plate

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Peanut butter adds a little protein to your child's snack. Cut up an apple for your preschooler—or let them use an apple slicer. With supervision, older kids can try cutting up the apple themselves. Then, let them spread peanut butter, or another nut butter, on their apple slices.

Or, as an alternative, they can spoon some peanut butter on their plate. Then, dip the apple slices into the peanut butter before each bite. Celery, pretzel rods, and crackers can be swapped out for the apple slices as well.

It may get a little messy, but that’s OK. The point should be for your child to practice working in the kitchen by spreading the peanut butter and slicing the apple.

And eventually, they’ll get a little neater with their efforts. Practice really does make perfect when it comes to basic cutting and spreading skills.

4

Mini Cucumber Sandwiches

Cucumbers

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Let your child make mini sandwiches that use cucumber slices in place of bread. Provide sliced cucumbers and let your preschooler fill them with various options.

Sliced cheese, cream cheese, lean deli meat, tomato slices, or thinly sliced carrots are just a few of things that can go inside a cucumber sandwich. Help your child gather the parts of the sandwiches and let them choose what they want to put inside each mini sandwich. This is a good way for kids to get the hang of portions as piling on too much quickly becomes an unwieldy sandwich.

Alternatively, you can have your child make a mini salad using the ingredients above, greens, and anything else you have on hand that your child likes. The possibilities for yummy, healthy salads (from potato to taco to chicken to steak to fruit to noodle) are endless. Plus, your child will start learning about combining ingredients, flavors, and textures—and how that impacts taste.

5

Trail Mix

Trail mix

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Get your child started with a variety of small containers filled with healthy ingredients that they can mix together to make their own trail mix. Provide options such as:

  • Raisins
  • Low-sugar, whole-grain cereal
  • Nuts, like almonds, cashews, or walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • Dried fruit, like apples, papaya, or cranberries
  • Chocolate chips
  • Popcorn
  • Mini-pretzels
  • Sesame snacks

Give them a little bit of freedom over exactly what goes into their trail mix. Just aim for the sweeter items to be balanced with less sugary ones and encourage them to use healthy whole-grain items as the base.

6

Veggies and Dip

fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with dip on a plate

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

For this snack, you’ll need to be in charge of cutting up the vegetables ahead of time for younger preschoolers but kids with more developed fine motor skills (and self-control) can try out their knife skills.

Aim to make enough to create small containers filled with carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, cooked mini potatoes, and/or cucumbers.

Provide small tubs of hummus, ranch, or other dips. Store the items together with the veggies in the refrigerator. The next time your child wants a snack, encourage them to grab some veggies and dip. And when the stash is out, they (with help as needed) can work on replenishing your supply of cut veggies.

7

Yogurt Parfait

Natural yogurt with fresh raspberries, black currant and muesli
istockphoto

Kids love to create colorful yogurt parfaits. Help your child (as needed) spoon some vanilla yogurt into a clear bowl or cup. Then, let your child alternative layers of fruit, granola, nuts, shredded coconut, and/or more yogurt.

Offer strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and any other fruits your child likes. Some kids might also like peanut butter or a drizzle of Nutella. Let them pick the order and quantity of the items that they want to go in the middle.

Lastly, top it off with another layer of yogurt. Let them sprinkle the top with a little bit of granola or a crunchy whole-grain cereal to add a little crunch.

8

Smoothie

fruit smoothie with strawberries

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Gather your child's favorite fruits, as well as yogurt, ice, and juice, to create quick and delicious smoothies Your child will get to learn how to make blended drinks and discover the magic of the blender.

Be sure to keep the blades out of reach (while making the smoothie and during clean-up), otherwise your child will get lots of hands-on experience, from dropping the items in the blender and putting on the top to pushing the buttons. For toddlers and young preschoolers, you may need to assist. Make sure they don't overload the blender and that the top is secured before it's turned on.

Let them choose the ingredients for their smoothie. If they need inspiration, old favorites such as strawberry banana, mango pineapple, and mixed berry will likely be hits. You can also experiment with incorporating veggies as well. Avocados, cucumbers, and carrots make delicious additions.

They can't really go wrong with their ingredient combinations. The same goes for the yogurt, juice, and ice pairings, so let your child play chef to come up with their smoothie masterpiece.

9

Crackers and Cheese

healthy snack of crackers with string cheese

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Toddlers will have fun just stacking cheese slices on the crackers. Older kids can practice their slicing skills by cutting the cheese themselves. A peeler can also be used to more safely make thinner slices. Or keep things simple and use string cheese!

Make cheese and crackers more exciting by expanding your notion of a cracker. Anything can be used, such as graham crackers, rice cakes, pretzels, slices of bread, dried fruit, even apple or pear wedges. Cheese options can include any type of cheese your child likes (from cheddar to mozzarella), as well as spreadable toppings such as cream cheese or cottage cheese.

Raisins, other dried fruit, veggie slices, olives, or fruit slices can also top off this snack. Let your child experiment with combinations that appeal to them.

10

Ants on a Log (With a Twist)

Homemade Ants on a Log Snack with Celery Peanut Butter and Raisins

bhofack2 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Instead of making the traditional ants on a log with peanut butter, make this classic snack using other fillings. Experiment with variations to find your child's favorite combinations. Here are a few you can try:

  • Fill the celery stalk with hummus. Give your child chopped up vegetables to represent the ants. Small chunks of colorful peppers or carrots work well.
  • Use cottage cheese to fill up the logs. Then, let your child top each log with chopped up fruit or veggies. 
  • You can also fill up the logs with guacamole. Then, use black beans to represent the ants.
  • If your child isn't a fan of celery, use a piece of banana or a carrot stick as the log. Slices of pepper, cooked sweet potato, or cucumber also make great logs.

To make, wash and dry a few stalks of celery (or other veggies) and cut it up into pieces that are about three inches long. (Assist your preschooler in these steps until they are comfortable doing so independently.)

Making this snack provides a good opportunity to teach your child about why and how we wash and dry produce before eating it.

Let your preschooler spread the filling on each stalk. Then, add a few raisins or other toppings to represent the ants on a log.

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