High-Energy Snack Ideas for Kids

Preschool & Older

Munching between meals gets a bad rap, but it’s actually a good idea for you and your kids—as long as you do it right. When meals are more than four hours apart, go ahead and nibble on a high-energy snack. Snack size depends on your child’s age. Start with a small amount of food; if he asks for more, offer another serving. Teach your child to pay attention to hunger cues. This is easier to do when snacks are eaten sitting at the table and out of a bowl or off a plate. No snacking from the bag or in front of the screen ... it’s too easy to overeat! If he keeps asking for more, he may not actually be that hungry—he may just be bored—offer a new activity.

When considering snack ideas for kids, combine a healthy protein with one other food group. This will help keep your kids full until their next meal.

Nut butter

Protein: A spoonful of peanut butter or another nut butter, like almond

Serve with your choice of:
100% whole-grain crackers
Apple slices (kids love to dip!)
Banana slices
Baby carrots

Hint: Choose natural nut butters with no added sugars.

Hard-boiled egg

Protein: One hard-boiled egg

Serve with your choice of:
Apple, orange, other fruits or veggies
1 slice of 100% whole-grain bread
100% whole-grain crackers

Hint: It’s OK to eat the nutrition-packed yolk!

Reduced-fat cheese

Protein: Reduced-fat cheese

Serve with your choice of:
100% whole-grain crackers
Sliced apple
100% whole-wheat tortilla with melted cheese, rolled up

Hint: Choose cheeses made with 2% milk.


Protein: Low-fat plain yogurt

Serve with your choice of:
Favorite berries
100% whole-grain cereal (mix the cereal in the yogurt)
Carrots (use yogurt and dry ranch mix to make ranch dip)
Whole-grain waffle (top the waffle with yogurt and sliced fruit)

Hint: Choose Greek over regular yogurt for more protein.


Protein: Nuts (cashews, almonds, pecans, pistachios, peanuts)

Serve with your choice of:
Low-fat yogurt
Raisins, whole-grain cereal to make high-energy trail mix

Hint: Nuts are packed with healthy fats and proteins, but be mindful, just 1/4 cup (a handful) is a single serving.


Protein: Hummus

Serve with your choice of:
Baby carrots or carrot sticks
Celery sticks
Sliced peppers (red, green, yellow, orange)
Whole-wheat tortilla chips
Whole-wheat pita

Hint: Hummus is made of ground chickpeas (a type of legume) with some added pizzazz. It’s full of protein and fiber.

Deli meat slices

Protein: Deli meat slices

Serve with your choice of:
100% whole-grain crackers
Mini 100% whole-wheat dinner roll
Half a sandwich with fruit on the side

Hint: Choose single-meat lean varieties, like turkey breast, chicken breast, ham or roast beef.