When Nutrition Meets Yum
One month into the new school year, are you already running out of healthy kids snack ideas? It’s tough to achieve the elusive trifecta: snacks that are nutritious, school-safe, and tasty enough that they won’t come back home uneaten. Never fear, your friends at SnackConscious is here—with a pack of trusty plant-based recipes to get the snacking done right.
"Protein Pancakes For The Win"
If you’re struggling to get more greens into your child’s diet, these pancakes are the perfect Trojan horse. The applesauce and banana mask the taste of the spinach, and these little flapjacks are perfectly portable, delicious hot or cold. They’re also a great recipe to make in large batches of 20 or 30 and freeze for later. Try cooking them in strip shapes instead of circles and providing a small container of maple syrup for snack-sized dipping.
These little vegetable roll-ups with rice and seaweed can be paired with a container of soya sauce for dipping and make a perfect finger food. Pack just a few on the side as a snack, or more to make them the main event; a fun alternative to the usual sandwich that can get a bit boring.
There are lots of gummy bears and fruit snacks advertising the “real fruit” inside, but it’s often at the very bottom of the ingredient list. This homemade version uses a whole berry base, and the magic of agar powder instead of gelatin to keep it free of animal products.
These colourful little pinwheels look and taste great, and they’re easy to modify. If there’s an ingredient your kids don’t like, or something in the fridge that’s in the use it or lose it stage, swap in (or out) whatever you want to.
Photo by: Anna_Pustynnikova
Hummus is full of protein and flavour, and this simple recipe takes literally just five minutes to make. Chop up your kids’ favourite veggies into dipping sticks and this super healthy snack is a great afternoon pick-me-up that travels well and keeps tummies full. Try adding additional ingredients into the food processor to up the flavour game—some great ones are roasted red pepper, olives, artichokes.
With just four ingredients, it’s much easier to make these healthy kids snacks than you might expect. This version of the ever-popular fruit roll-up has much less sugar and more real fruit. You can also try substituting different fruits to make a variety of flavours that will tempt even the pickiest of kids.
Swap the usual potato out with kale for a chip that packs far more nutrients and the same satisfying crunch. These oven-baked chips use nutritional yeast to create their cheesy, umami-rich flavour that kids will love.
These fun crackers have greens baked right in, and are a great alternative to traditional snack crackers, which are often overprocessed and full of salt. Pair these up with a container of hummus (or any other dip your tot is keen on) for a filling, healthy snack for kids that will get them through to dinner.
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We’re big fans of energy bombs as kids snacks (and they’re just as great for adults), but they often contain nut butters, which means they can’t be brought into schools with a nut-free policy. These little bites of yumminess use figs and dates to help stick all the ingredients together instead. Bet you can’t eat just one…
Sometimes a filling and nutritionally complete snack doesn’t need to be complicated. Our SnackConscious Snack Crunch uses peas and chickpeas from the Canadian Prairies to create a delicious, crispy snack that’s just as tasty as a bag of chips but much more filling.
Another alternative to boring (and unhealthy) potato chips, these ruby red crisps are great on their own, or as crackers to top with your child’s favourite spreads. Beets are a great source of fibre, vitamin C, and magnesium, and more importantly for your little ones, they taste great.
These vegan muffins are great on the go and get some extra fruit into your child’s diet without the refined sugar and oil that goes into a lot of grocery store muffins. Try swapping out the strawberries for other berries that are in season to mix up the flavours.
High in fibre, protein, and omega-3s, chia seeds absorb any non-dairy milk you combine with them to create a creamy, pudding-like texture: they’re like nature’s Jell-O! Add your child’s favourite fruits, coconut, or even dark chocolate on top, pack it away in a small tupperware container, and you have pudding to go—with way less sugar and none of the artificial ingredients.
"Easy Peasy Chia Pudding"
Just slice up an apple, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and leave it in the oven to bake. These apple chips provide kids with a crunchy, sweet treat that also incorporates fibre and promotes good gut bacteria. Make a bunch all at once and portion them out into small serving sizes for easy munching on the go.
Vegan coconut-based yogurts like Yoso are becoming more and more common in grocery stores. Chop up an apple (or another favourite fruit) into bite-sized sticks, and let the dipping begin.
Sometimes getting picky eaters interested is all a matter of how good food looks. Skewer a bite-sized piece of fruit in every colour to create a collection of tiny rainbows in your little one’s lunch bag. Lay them flat in a reusable container for easy transport to and from school.
Baking your own tortilla chips cuts down on a lot of the salt and fat you’d find in the store-bought variety. Salsa is also low in sugar and high in vitamin C—turns out there are some “nachos” you can send the kids to school with and feel good about.
Jerky and pepperoni sticks are high in protein, which can keep kids feeling full, but they’re also full of sodium, saturated fat, and preservatives. The SnackConscious SnackStick is a tasty, organic tofu-based snack that uses dried veggies and spices to pack a flavour punch. It’s easy to grab or toss in a lunch bag to add some extra energy to your child’s day.
Muffins that taste like cookie dough? I don’t know many kids who would refuse. These muffins are packed with potassium, protein, and fibre, and while they do call for peanut butter, they work just as well with a nut butter substitute (in case your child’s school has a peanut-free policy). Best of all, this simple recipe calls for all of the ingredients to simply be tossed into a blender before they’re baked.
While there are many protein bars on the market, LARABAR is committed to sourcing ingredients made entirely from plant-based foods. They’re also gluten-free, and include some peanut-free flavours.
Keep this recipe handy for after you scoop out that Halloween pumpkin. High in fibre, magnesium, and anti-oxidants, these pumpkin seeds are a delightful combo of sweet and savoury, and much better for your kid to scarf by the handful than that bag of Doritos.
To deliver on your kid’s cravings for something salty, roasted seaweed is a great healthy alternative. Seaweed is full of iron, calcium, and omega-3 fats, among several other essential vitamins and minerals. And for speed and ease, nothing beats this one—no recipe needed, it’s available in most major grocery stores and health food stores.
Tofu often gets a bad rap with kids, but it actually absorbs the flavour of whatever seasonings you use to cook it. These little tofu fingers are seasoned to perfection. Try adding a container of dipping sauce to your child’s lunch, and they’d devour them faster than chicken nuggets.
On their own, we agree, rice cakes are boring. But why not use them as a base for your child’s favourite toppings and spreads? Pack ingredients like avocado, hummus, roasted veggies or seaweed, and let the little ones pile on the toppings however they like them.
The key to keeping all of these healthy kids snacks handy is batch preparing them in advance, so they’re easy to grab in the morning. To find more snacking inspiration for both kids and adults, check out our 70 Snacks That Are Not Only Plant-Based But Also Healthy. And if you have your own recipes you swear by, we’d always love to hear from you in the comments.