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 snack-time is the perfect place to start.

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

Your kids are more likely to eat snacks they helped make. Letting them join you in picking out, planning, and preparing the food they will eat can also encourage more adventurous eating.

Getting involved in the kitchen will also help your child build other important life skills, such as teamwork; shopping and meal planning; organization and clean-up, and the basics of food safety.

Getting Started

Let your child do as much as they can on their own. You can supervise your preschooler while they wash fruit before they eat it, or show them how to use a butter knife to cut soft foods or spread peanut butter. Keep a watchful eye on them, but after demonstrating skills, let your kids take over.

You can also encourage them to become more independent about getting their own snacks by keeping the fixings at the ready. Stock a dedicated drawer of the refrigerator with choices that are already in preschool-size portions.

Find another place (a kitchen drawer, shelf, or bin) to load up with snackable dry goods, such as pretzels, dried mango slices, crackers, whole grain bread, or nut butter. Kids over 4 years old can add raisins and whole nuts to the lineup.

When your kids say they're hungry, encourage them to choose something on their own from the snack drawer. Giving your child agency in selecting from the dedicated snack area, as well as letting them get it for themselves, builds your child's confidence, excitement, and interest in the food they eat.

Let them experiment, too—even if it makes a bit of a mess. That will give you the chance to teach them how to clean up! "Playing with their food" encourages them to develop their food prep skills, tastes, and imagination.

Here are 10 simple, tasty, and nutritious snacks your little chef can make on their own (with a little help) 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. Having your child assist with cutting up the larger fruit teaches them cutting skills in a safe way. Plus, they might 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 their favorite fruits and/or veggies. Whatever combinations they come up with should be encouraged.

When they're all done, they’ll have a mini pizza to enjoy. Have fun with it by encouraging them to name their creation—who knows, the kiwi berry 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, and 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 longer Pull the dough with your fingers to shape the crust to your desired thickness.

Have your child grease a baking sheet and place the crust, followed by tomato sauce, cheese, and preferred toppings. Let them help grate the cheese, slice the veggies and meats, and layer on their desired ingredients.

Pop it in the oven and 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 and fat to your child's snack, making it more flavorful and satisfying. Cut up an apple for your preschooler or let them use an apple slicer. Older kids can try cutting up an apple themselves with your supervision. Then, let them spread nut butter on their slices.

They could also spoon a serving of nut butter on their plate and dip the apple slices before each bite. Celery, pretzel rods, and crackers can be swapped out for the apple slices for a little variety.

It's OK if things get messy—the point is for your child to practice working in the kitchen by spreading the peanut butter and slicing the apple.

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 using cucumber slices in place of bread. Provide sliced cucumbers and let your preschooler fill them with sliced cheese, cream cheese, lean deli meat, tomato slices, or thinly sliced carrots.

Help your child gather the ingredients, then let them choose what they want for their sandwiches. Assembling these mini-sandwiches is a great way for kids to experiment with different flavor and texture combinations.

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, creative salads (think potato, taco, chicken, steak, fruit, or noodle) are endless. Salads also help your child learn about how to combine ingredients, flavors, and textures to change a dish's taste.

5

Trail Mix

Trail mix

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Give your child a variety of small containers filled with healthy ingredients that they can mix together to make their own trail mix. Options include:

  • Chocolate chips
  • Dried fruit, like apples, papaya, or cranberries
  • Low-sugar, whole-grain cereal
  • Mini-pretzels
  • Nuts, like almonds, cashews, or walnuts (for kids over 4 years old)
  • Popcorn
  • Raisins (for kids over 4 years old)
  • Sesame snacks
  • Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (for kids over 4 years old)

While you want to give them the freedom to decide what goes into their trail mix, encourage them to balance sweeter items with less sweet ones. It can help to start with a whole-grain option as a base. Try adding some whole-grain cereal to the container first and let them build on it.

6

Veggies and Dip

fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with dip on a plate

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

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

Fill small containers with carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, cooked mini potatoes, and/or cucumbers. Add little tubs of hummus, ranch, or other dips.

Store everything together in the refrigerator. The next time your child wants a snack, encourage them to grab some veggies and dip. When the stash needs to be refilled, they can work on replenishing the supply (with some help, if needed!)

7

Yogurt Parfait

Natural yogurt with fresh raspberries, black currant and muesli
istockphoto

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

Offer strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and any other fruits your child likes. Some kids might also enjoy a little 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 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). 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.

Toddlers and preschoolers might need a little extra help—particularly to make sure that 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. Avocados, cucumbers, and carrots make delicious additions to a fruit smoothie.

They can't really go wrong with ingredient combinations. The same goes for yogurt, juice, and ice pairings. 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 is a great way to safely make thinner slicers. You can also keep things simple and just use string cheese.

Classic cheese and crackers can be more exciting if you expand your notion of a cracker. Anything can be used—graham crackers, rice cakes, pretzels, slices of bread, dried fruit, even apple or pear wedges. Use any type of cheese that 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, try using other fillings to make this classic snack. You can experiment to find your child's favorite combination, but here are a few suggestions to start with.

  • Fill the celery stalk with hummus. If your child is 4 years or older, give them chopped up vegetables to make the ants. Small chunks of colorful peppers or carrots also work well for older kids.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 with 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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