If your kids are at all like mine, some days it feels like if I hear the words “I’m hungry” or “I need a snack” one more time my brain might explode! And I’m sure all moms can relate that those words are most likely to come the moment you sit down to relax or the moment you go to the bathroom or hop in the shower. While I’m sure our bank account would thank us if we just didn’t feed our kids every time they were hungry (because we all know how much groceries cost), there’s actually a better and more plausible solution. Teach our kids how to make their own snacks! Gasp! I know my kids are always shocked to hear that their hands actually work and they can open a cupboard themselves. But having snack ideas easily on hand will make your life so much easier…at least when it comes to snack time. The level of independence will vary depending on your children’s ages so make sure you cater to your children’s abilities. Here are 13 snack ideas that your kids can make themselves and will actually enjoy!
13. Trail Mix
This healthy snack is a great option for kids to make! Even my two year old could whip together a bowl of trail mix. If you want this snack to be pre-made just have a container within reach always full with a great mixture of nuts, pretzels, cereal, dried fruit and maybe even a chocolate treat.
However, if you have multiple kids you will know that they probably will not all like the same ingredients. Have a few containers in your pantry that have all the fixings for a great trail mix and allow your child to fill their bowl with the things they like. You can even put them in to categories (nuts, crunchy, dried fruit, treat, etc.) and tell them they get to pick one thing from each category for their mix.
12. Crackers and Peanut Butter
I’ll be honest…this is my go to snack for myself when I’m in the mood for something sweet and salty! Have some plastic, kid safe knives on hand and allow them to grab some crackers and peanut butter (and jam, if you want!). The bonus with this is that it will take up time for them to spread the peanut butter on to each cracker and could actually entertain them for a while.
The downfall is that you may have to be prepared to wipe peanut butter off of every surface! If your child is a bit messy an alternative you could do is pre-make some crackers and peanut butter sandwiches and have them in a container in the cupboard where little hands can grab them easily.
11. Ants on a log
This childhood favourite is a yummy healthy snack for kids and can have many variations. I don’t recommend young kids using sharp knives though, so make sure you do have cut up celery ready in a container in the fridge. Kids can load their celery with peanut butter, cheese wiz or even guacamole (yum). Then allow them to add their ants (raisins or chocolate chips work great).
Let your kids get creative! It may look gross to us to have peanut butter with tomatoes on top but if they eat it, let them enjoy. Just make sure you convince them not to use real ants on their logs (yes, this needs to be said when kids are involved).
10. Microwave Popcorn
If you are wanting your kids to gain some independence or just want to let them enjoy making their snack themselves, allow them to put a bag of popcorn in the microwave. It’s also a fun game for them to make sure they stop it in time! Teach them which buttons to press and how to listen for the popping sound and time in between pops (I recommend stopping the microwave once you get 2 seconds in between kernel pops).
You can also buy a big bag of already popped popcorn (yay for Costco) and fill your cupboard with individually filled ziplock bags of popcorn so it’s quick and simple for them to grab without a mess.
9. Whole fruit
This is a very basic and healthy snack for kids to grab. We can go through so many bags of apples in a week because they have easily become our go to, get yourself snack option. Having fruit washed and ready for kids gives them the chance to just grab it and eat it when they are hungry and you don’t have to do any work.
Some great options that don’t need any cutting are apples, bananas, mandarine oranges, berries and grapes. I also feel comfortable with my older kids (6 and 8) cutting up fruit themselves if they prefer something like apple slices.
8. Raw or Frozen Vegetables
This is another simple and healthy option. Have raw vegetables ready to eat in the fridge for kids to grab quickly. I always try to keep some ranch dressing or hummus in the fridge for them to be able to dip their veggies in. You can pre cut vegetables like carrots, celery, cucumber or peppers to name a few, or you can buy vegetables such as baby carrots or grape tomatoes that they can just grab and eat. My kids love sweet peppers and one of the greatest days was when my 6 year old learned how to cut up a pepper all by herself!
Maybe my kids are a little weird, but they also love to snack on a bowl of frozen vegetables. They actually prefer to eat their peas and other vegetables frozen somedays. I can even offer frozen vegetables as a treat, it’s crazy!
7. Bananas with Peanut Butter
Have those kid safe plastic knives available again! Bananas with peanut butter (or any type of nut butter) are a filling and healthy snack for kids and can be eaten easily. They can either add some peanut butter before each bite or they can cut up their bananas and spread peanut butter on each piece.
To amp it up, kids can also add on some chocolate chips or raisins and make a snack similar to ants on a log. Be prepared for a bit of a mess though whenever peanut butter is involved.
6. Yogurt and Granola
Another great and filling snack that has so many variations for those picky eaters! My kids can serve their own yogurt from a big container, but to make it easier and less messy you can have individual yogurt cups stocked in the fridge. There are also so many variations of granola.
You can find a lot of great granola recipes online or you can buy some yummy ones as well. If your cupboard is always stocked your kids can just add in the kind they like. You can have berries or other fresh fruit on hand, or frozen fruit comes in handy here too!
My kids LOVE to make their own popsicles. Sometimes I don’t even know that they made some until I catch them pulling them out of the freezer. If you buy some popsicle molds (I love these ones), the kids can fill them with whatever they want.
My kids have made them with just water (which I know is just ice on a stick but don’t tell them), they’ve made them with juice and they’ve added fruit in too. There really are many options. (I also recommend teaching your kids how to make ones for mommy made with coffee…just an idea!)
4. Crackers and Cheese
A classic yet delicious snack! If your kids are not old enough to use a sharp enough knife to cut cheese there are some simple alternatives. A kid safe plastic knife works great with cream cheese or any other cheese type spreads. You could also have cheese pre sliced in the fridge for them.
Babybel cheese wheels are a favourite in my house because then the kids get to play with the wax wrapping after. Having a variety of crackers and cheese on hand helps with picky eaters and to add variety. Add some sweetness with a bit of jam too.
3. Granola Bars
Basically a go to snack when we are on the run. I always have my cupboard stocked with a variety of granola or cereal type bars. They are easy to grab and eat on the go for times when kids are so hungry they cannot possibly put their coat on to leave the house until they have food in their hands!
There are also some amazing homemade granola bar recipes online that older kids could even make themselves! For younger kids it could be a fun activity to do together and then you’ll have a delicious, healthy homemade snack ready for them to grab when you want them to get it on their own.
2. Mini Muffins
Store bought or homemade, I swear my kids could live off of muffins! With so many varieties I can usually find a few staple recipes for my house that all the kids love.
My favourite thing to do is bake a batch of mini muffins and throw them in a big freezer ziplock bag. Then my kids can easily grab them from the cupboard when they want a snack and they are the perfect size for little hands. I also like to bake two batches (I’ll either double the recipe or make two different kinds) and then I’ll throw one bag full in the freezer and keep one bag in the cupboard. Muffins thaw so fast too that it’s easy for kids to grab from the freezer for snack time. My kids don’t even wait for them to thaw they are happy to eat them frozen!
1. Snack Wraps
Have some tortilla wraps on hand in the cupboard and the options are endless. They can spread some nutella or peanut butter on a wrap and roll it up with a whole banana inside. They can spread on some cream cheese and add vegetables.
For a sweet treat, nutella and berries would be delicious. Alternatively for older kids, they can add a variety of items like deli meat, shredded cheese, or any other sandwich items and can make it like a light lunch. There are so many ways kids can make these as they can basically add anything in. And they can be as filling or light as you want.