20 Easy Snack Ideas for Busy Parents
Snack time is crunch time for busy parents everywhere. When your kids are always in motion, it seems like they’re also always seeking their next nosh. Whether it’s between school and extracurriculars, after summer camp, or multiple times a day on weekends all year ‘round, there’s always someone reaching a tiny hand out for something to eat.
When you’re a busy parent, there’s rarely time to prepare complicated and creative snacks from scratch. But packaged options like chips and cookies only get you so far: They tend to be lower in nutrients, higher in harmful fats and refined sugar, and less likely to fill up growing kids for long stretches of time.
While grab-and-go food is very much needed at times, we’ve got plenty of (almost) as quick and easy, much more nutritious and delicious inspiration to share. A lot of these easy snack ideas for kids can be whipped up with things you probably have in the fridge or cabinet anyway, making them a hectic-day win for hungry kids and maxed-out parents alike!
Frui-shi Snack for Kids
Sushi is the inspiration behind this incredibly yummy and adorable snack idea for kids. But unlike the real thing, this fruit sushi recipe requires no skill or fancy technique and can be made with just a few ingredients. You’ll just want to pick up some sushi rice ahead of time for the right consistency and flavor.
Cold Cut & Cheese Roll-Up Snack
Packed with protein, these no-effort roll-ups create the perfect savory snack for after school or in between activities on weekends. Simply layer one slice of cheese (American, cheddar, or Swiss) and one-to-two slices of your child’s favorite deli meat, roll, and hold in place with a pretty toothpick. The cuter they look, the faster they’ll be gobbled!
Simple Muffins for Kids
Muffins are a great “cheat” for parents because they’re easy to make, and the cupcake cousins are a sneakily healthy treat for the kids. These banana oatmeal muffins contain three ingredients and require only five minutes of prep time. You can make a batch or two over the weekend and freeze half, or whip them up whenever you have five minutes to spare.
Apples & Dip Snack for Kids
Good, old-fashioned snacks are sometimes the absolute yummiest. Presentation goes a long way, so take 30 seconds to slice the apple into long strips, then lay the pieces around the plate like the petals of a flower. In the center, a large dollop of peanut butter, or a small saucer of honey, are perfect for dipping.
Baked Oatmeal Bar Snack for Kids
Kids love granola bars, but if you want a non-packaged alternative, consider these three-ingredient, no-bake oatmeal bars that only take 10 minutes to make and are a sweet yet healthy answer to those after-school cookie cravings.
‘Cado Strip Snack for Kids
Once the cool teenagers started eating avocado toast like it was going out of style, the ‘tweens and littles followed the trend. Make this wholesome, healthy-fat breakfast into an easy snack that the kids will love. Just toast a slice or two of bread per child, spread on some mashed avocado, and slice into thirds for easy gripping. Avocados can be refrigerated for a day after they’re cut into, so save the rest to throw in the blender with oat milk or yogurt, berries, and kale tomorrow morning for a nutrient-rich breakfast smoothie the kids will love!
Photo & How-To: Ana Ankeny
Apple Ring “Donut” Snacks for Kids
A treat for the eyes and the taste buds, this snack takes only a couple minutes to pull off, but looks really special. Simply remove the pit of your apple and slice into rings. Then let the kids help (or don’t, if you want it to go quickly and not make a mess!) as you spread on a layer of peanut butter and decorate with coconut and chocolate chips, or nuts and sprinkles, for a sweet finish.
Cucumbers & Hummus Snack for Kids
Parents everywhere are cramming veggies in as creatively as they can, but cukes are one of those universal pleasers that lots of kids like from an early age. Go with what you know and keep things simple with a pile of sliced cucumbers and some hummus to dip them in. Bonus points if you take the extra minute to slice them into cute shapes.
Fridge Fruit Salad
Cut up whatever fruit you have on hand—apples, pears, orange slices, and berries hold up beautifully while bananas are best as a last-minute toss-in—and place in a bowl. Drizzle with a half cup of orange juice and refrigerate it for up to four days for easy snacking.
Energy Ball Snack for Kids
These yummy bites are loaded with the good stuff and will provide your kids with a much-needed boost from whole grain carbohydrates (oats) and the protein in the peanut butter. Using only five ingredients and two steps, they’re a cinch to make and require zero baking time and minimal cleanup.
Banana Boat Snack for Kids
This is another one of those super-easy snacks that looks exciting, but takes absolutely no effort. Peel a banana and place it on a plate with the ends turned up (to look like a little gondola), use a butter knife to cut out a narrow wedge along its entire center, and fill with peanut butter. Sprinkle on nuts or raisins for extra texture, taste, and nutrients.
Lazy Trail Mix Snack for Kids
Forget packaged trail mix that gets crummy and contains a ton of sugar. Make your own with fresh, unbuttered popcorn, pretzels, raisins, nuts, and a few carob chips or M&M’s tossed in for flavor and fun.
Cereal Yogurt Bark Snack for Kids
Bright and colorful, crunchy and sweet, this any-time snack for kids only looks complicated and fancy. The cereal yogurt bark only requires two ingredients and two steps, meaning ultimate simplicity for busy parents.
Zucchini Stick Snack for Kids
If your kids love fried treats, consider these four-ingredient zucchini sticks which take only 10 minutes of prep time. You can make the dipping sauce in the recipe, or simply set out some ketchup or Greek yogurt for dipping.
Homemade Fro-Yo Bite Snack for Kids
Adorable, cheerful, yummy, and healthy, instead of a yogurt cup and a spoon, you can whip up these two-ingredient frozen yogurt shapes in three easy steps: blend, pour, freeze. The end.
Purée in a Pouch
Rather than pre-packaged squeeze snacks like yogurt and applesauce, reusable food pouches for kids are easy to use and clean, and let you put their favorite pureed snacks in a pouch for easy snacking, even offering seconds without any waste.
Air Fryer Chip Snack for Kids
Who doesn’t love potato chips? Cut way down on the salt and oil by making your own in a few easy steps. Julienne a potato or two (or sweet potato, zucchini, etc. to add some variety), spray with just a touch of olive oil, sprinkle on a dash or two of salt, and air fry for 15-20 minutes. Pro Tip: if you want your homemade chips extra crispy like the real thing, soak the potatoes for 15-30 minutes once sliced, and pat dry before dressing and air frying.
Broccoli Cheese Cup Snack for Kids
Salty, cheesy, gooey “muffins” made with an egg, some broccoli, cheese, and Ritz crackers? That sounds like a crowd-pleaser if we’ve ever heard of one. These kid-friendly broccoli cups only happen to be healthy; much more importantly for your little ones, they’re delicious and easy to eat one-handed. The best part is, you only need to mix the ingredients together in a bowl, pour into a muffin tin, and bake for 15 minutes. Done!
Fruit & Veggie Cracker Pizza Snack for Kids
This is one of those snacks that can be really fun to prepare together if you have time to involve the kids, but they’ll love them just as much if you power through and just prep and serve them yourself. Lay your decent-sized crackers out on a plate, spread with peanut butter, jelly, or honey and then top with small pieces of dried or fresh fruit. Or, do the same process with hummus topped with small chopped peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives. Buon appetito!
Banana Blueberry Fritter Snack for Kids
These yummy, fruity fritters only take 10 minutes of prep time and 5 minutes to cook, using pantry and fruit basket staples you likely have on hand. If your kids love them as much as ours do, they’ll quickly become a staple for quick and easy, healthy snacks for the family.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.