Here's a list of packaged toddler and kid-friendly snacks that are not loaded with sugar and other additives.
Snacks for kids
While it's wonderful to make nutritious, homemade snacks for your child, between 3 meals and 2+ snacks every.single.day, getting some help from the store is often needed.
But with SO many choices out there, it can be daunting trying to choose ones that you feel good about serving to your child.
Here are some practical tips for selecting healthy store-bought snacks as well as specific examples that are found in most grocery store chains and superstores like Target and Walmart. You can also buy in bulk from retailers like Amazon.
What to look for in a healthy snack?
- First consider snacks as mini meals that include at least 2 food groups (whole grains, fruit, vegetables, protein, and dairy).
- Look for whole food ingredients. Examine the ingredient list and make sure the first 3 include whole grains, protein, fruits, or vegetables.
- Aim for 6 grams or less of ADDED sugars per serving.
- Contains at least 2 grams of protein.
- Contains at least 2 grams of fiber - always opt for whole grain products.
- It's ok if a snack doesn't meet ALL of these criteria. You can always combine with other foods. For example, if your crackers don't contain enough protein, you can pack them alongside some cheese.
- Don't over scrutinize. Most likely not every single ingredient in a packaged snack is going to be "perfect." Consider the snack as a whole and also remember that it is just a small portion of what your child eats in a day and week.
- All of the snacks mentioned here are peanut-free so you can pack for school.
Best Store-bought Bars for Kids
Made Good - These are especially perfect for kids with allergies or food sensitivities. I like the variety pack as it comes with so many flavors. They also meet the added sugar, protein, and fiber criteria (except for the vanilla crispy square which contains 7g of added sugars).
RX Bar Kids- These bars also contain 0 grams of sugar. I love that each bar has at least 5 grams of protein, which is pretty hard to find, and 2 grams of fiber. The core ingredients are dates, oats, and egg whites. I think of these as bars I'd make at home if I h ad the time.
Larabars - Available in so many different flavors, these bars are made with unsweetened fruits (mainly dates), nuts, and spices. They are also available in a mini size, which is great for toddlers. But you can always cut the regular-sized bars in half too.
Skout - These are similar to Larabars in that they are sweetened with dates and come in a variety of flavors. However, they are more allergy friendly as they're made with sunflower and pumpkin seeds instead of nuts. They contain at least 2 grams of protein and fiber. My personal favorite is the Raspberry Rush flavor!
Use the code "MJ" for a 25% discount!
Kind kids granola chewy bar - These are made with 100% whole grains and no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. While they contain more added sugars than the others mentioned here (5grams), they are also a more budget-friendly option.
Best Dairy Snacks For Kids
All of these are great sources of protein, fat, and calcium.
This includes Babybel, mini mozzarella balls, string cheese, and cracker cut cheese. I oftentimes purchase a big block and slice it myself to save money.
Stoneyfield Yogurt Tubes - These contain fruits AND vegetables and also 4 grams of added sugars, which is less than most brands. I recommend grabbing the whole milk variety as the extra fat will help keep your child fuller for longer. You can also find them sold as pouches and cups.
Lifeway Probugs - Each pouch has 12 live and active probiotic cultures to help support digestion.
Chobani probiotic drink - a delicious drinkable yogurt although I wish there was a whole milk option.
Fresh fruits are always wonderful, but it's nice to have these options on hand at all times. There's no need to worry about them getting bruised or spoiled.
That's It Bars - I love that the only ingredients are fruits!
Made in Nature Fruision Pops - Soft and slightly chewy with plenty of fruits, these are seriously so delicious! This company also makes unsweetened dried fruits.
Bare - Baked apples are the only ingredient! These are crunchy and sweet and the best freeze-dried apple chips.
Freeze-dried fruit - It's basically fruit that's been dehydrated to remove moisture while retaining flavor and nutrients. It's light with a crispy texture.
Fruit and Root Veggie Yogurt Smoothie Melts - These are perfect for babies, toddlers, and kids! My 5 year old still loves this. The texture is similar to freeze-dried fruit and made with real fruit, beets or carrots, and yogurt. Use the code MIN5 for $5 off your order.
Dehydrated fruits - Just like freeeze-dried fruit, these fruits have been dehydrated. However, these have a chewy texture. Raisins, mango, apricots, dates...so many options!
Applesauce or other fruit pouches - I always love having some of these on hand. My son is 5 years old and he still loves them. Regardless of which brand you choose, make sure it is whole-food based with zero fillers.
Fruit Cups - be sure to look for ones that are packaged in water or fruit juice NOT syrup.
Crackers and Crunchy Snacks for Kids
Simple Mills - The ingredient list can't be beat as far as crackers go! The first three ingredients are almonds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds, which will all provide a healthy dose of protein and fat. It is pretty crunchy so these crackers are best for older toddlers.
Harvest crisps -These are baked green peas with 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving.
Hippeas chickpea puffs - These are made with chickpea flour which means more protein and fiber compared to the other popular cheddar puffs made from corn flour.
Triscuit - This is my personal favorite. It's made with 100% whole grains and just 3 ingredients. Plus, it’s less expensive compared to the other better-for-you crackers. For younger toddlers, the Thin Crisps may be a better option.
Rhythm Super food - These dried vegetables pack in a TON of fiber! The carrot one has 11g and the beets 7g. And the only ingredient is the vegetable itself.
Veggie Straws - While they are made mostly from potato and corn, they contain minimal ingredients and are fun and easy for little ones to eat.
Pirate's Booty Puffs - Just like the Veggie Straws, these don't provide much nutritional value, but they are fun to eat with just enough crunch. Be sure to pack alongside some type of protein or fat source.
Dry Cereal - Serve any of these low sugar options alongside some type of protein or fat.
All of these options are great for snacks as well as school lunch. Here are some additional resources to make feeding your child fun and doable.
A long overdue thank you for all of your informative posts! This post in particular is so helpful... while I love to make homemade food for my kids, sometimes I just need something fast/packaged/ready made. Will be adding a bunch of your suggestions to my shopping list! 🙂
I'm so glad this post is so helpful to you! I hope you enjoy these snacks as much as we do!
Thank you so much for these great suggestions 🙂 . I have been thinking about stocking allergen friendly snacks for our son. This post came at a great timing. I'll definitely trying some of these.
Oh I'mm so glad!! Hope you discover some new favorites!
This was so helpful. Thank you so much for putting this together, I’ll definitely be trying some of these!
I'm so glad!! You're welcome!!
These are great suggestions! I've added several of these to my list. I'm especially excited about the veggie chips and frusion pops1
We also LOVE Cerebelly bars. They're sweetened with dates (no added sugar!) and are chock full of veggies and fruit.
Ooh yes I love their products too!
Min, you are wonderful... Thank you for always helping busy parents that tries the most to bring quality food to their children in this sugary world. Love your blog and posts always.
Hi Vanessa! You are so welcome! And if you have any recipe or topic suggestions, please let me know ;). I am here to help in any way I can!