15 Healthy Vegetarian and Vegan Snacks for Kids
- Tapioca Pudding – If pudding is something you love and never thought you could enjoy again then you thought wrong. Tapioca pudding is made from the root of a plant and has a great pudding texture and flavor when cooked. I love the pearly little balls that give tapioca its distinctive appearance and texture! You can easily make a vegan and vegetarian version of tapioca by leaving out the eggs and dairy based milk and replacing it with a mixture of almond and coconut milk and thickening with corn starch. I like plain vanilla flavor but you can add in fresh fruits for tasty variations like raspberry or blueberry. Yum!
- Fruit Kabobs – Fresh fruit is healthiest for your kids and that is why it is important to make it fun for kids to eat. One way to do that is to create fun shapes or new ways of eating the fresh fruits. For my kids I like to use a small cookie cutter and cut out fun shapes for the fruit. Then I make a kabob out of the shaped fruits and they get a big kick out of eating it. This is also a great snack idea for kid’s parties and is so healthy and easy to make! For a simpler version you can just use grapes on a stick to make an edible ‘snake’ or ‘caterpillar’. Add some edible frosting eyes and it is easy to get kids to gobble it up.
- Baby Vegetables – Fresh vegetables are another hard thing to get kids to eat. I find it is easier to serve my kids the baby versions of veggies. The smaller size, more delicate taste, and softer texture helps my kids eat their veggies instead of making faces. Sometimes I will pair the vegetables with a dip like hummus or peanut butter for added protein and flavor!
- Oatmeal Cookies – Cookies may seem like dessert instead of a healthy snack, but you can easily make healthy oatmeal cookies in no time. Substitute apple sauce for the eggs and soy milk for the dairy. You can also add in extra spices and vanilla and cut down on the sugar. Toss in raisins and nuts for extra protein and vitamins and don’t forget the oatmeal. My kids love the addition of dried cranberries and walnuts!
- Apple Sandwiches – Want a change from your child’s every day peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Make this easy and healthy substitution. Core and apple and slice it, with the core in the center. On one apple slice spread a thick layer of peanut butter. Sprinkle on raisins or dried cranberries. Top with another slice of apple. There you have it, a PB & J without any bread. Healthier and great for kids with gluten allergies.
- Fruit Rolls – While store bough t versions are anything but healthy you can make your own fruit rolls that are! They are super easy to make and only have two ingredients.In addition you can make a bunch and store them for up to two weeks, far longer than they will actually last considering how tasty they are. In your food processor puree two pints of fresh strawberries and simmer until thickened. Mix in a cup of applesauce, and spices like cinnamon if you would like, and pour into a lined cookie sheet. Let the sheetdry in a two hundred degree oven overnight and cut into strips. Store in a cool, dry place for a few days or in your refrigerator for longer.
- Smoothies – A smoothie is a great way to get your child to eat fruits and veggies without a fight. Add in your child’s favorite fruit combinations, like peach and pineapple or strawberry banana, toss in some veggies like juiced carrots or kale and add in a bit of almond or soy milk for that tasty creaminess. You can also freeze your smoothies to make tasty and healthy popsicles for hot days! There are endless variations, so try to find a recipe that works for your kids.
- Frozen Grapes – Speaking of frozen treats, you can make a super simple and healthy frozen treat with just plain grapes. Wash a cluster of grapes well and then pop them into your freezer. I like to put them in still wet so they get a nice crunchy ice coating. Or you can sprinkle them with a bit of sugar for a sparkly and fancy look. After a few hours they will be frozen and ready to serve. They never get too hard and hurt your teeth and are a perfect, healthy way to cool down on hot days. Keep in mind that they will turn brown if you let them defrost, so eat up!
- Frozen Banana Pops – Another healthy and all natural frozen treat is frozen bananas. It is so easy to make banana pops by just peeling and cutting the banana in half. Insert a stick and freeze for a fresh, ice cream textured popsicle. You can also make bite sized treats by slicing the banana. My kids love banana bites coated in chocolate and sprinkled with chopped nuts! You can make those quite easily by melting chocolate chips and dipping the banana slices into it. Then lay out, not touching, on wax paper and quickly sprinkle with chopped nuts. Set in the freezer for a few hours until the banana is frozen. Yum! A great alternative to ice cream!
- Fresh Fruit Pops – You can make a healthy alternative to sugar filled popsicles at home with fresh fruit. Just cut fresh fruit like strawberries, bananas, kiwi and so on into bite sized chunks. Berries also work well. Drop the fruit into a popsicle mold or small paper cup. Fill in the spaces with white grape juice and freeze. Beautiful and healthy! You can also make a fun, less healthy version with gummy fish, worms or bears and white grape juice or sprite. Great for parties!
- Pretzels – Although I am not a big fan of the small, crunchy pretzels my kids love them. Their favorite recipe involves making a sandwich out of them. A slice of banana covered in peanut butter and pressed between two crunchy pretzels is a fun treat they can whip together in no time flat. I like to make my own soft pretzels and coat them in a variety of flavorful topping including sea salt, cinnamon and sugar, and even spicy flavors. Dipped in mustard or peanut butter these treats taste great and are low fat too!
- Trail Mix – Forget about buying expensive trail mix at the store. Who knows what is in that stuff? Instead cut down on the salt and add more flavor by making your own trail mixes. I like to buy raw nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans in the baking aisle. It is much cheaper to buy them that way and I enjoy the salt free, natural flavor even more. If you like salty nuts try sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Tasty and nutritious! I add to that dried fruit like apple rings, apricots, and cranberries. Even dried banana chips add a tasty crunch. Be sure to buy good quality dried fruit as it can sometimes contain additives that give people headaches. Or you can easily dehydrate your own! Freeze dried fruits and berries like strawberries are a tasty option too! You can also add granola, pretzels, chocolate candies for a bit of sweetness, dried cereals and more. Whatever your family likes that travels well is a great item to add to this easy on the go snack.
- Granola – Making your own granola for use in trail mixes and bars is very easy. Most granola recipes only have a few healthy ingredients like oatmeal and honey. You can add nuts, dried fruit, other spices like cinnamon, and pretty much anything you would like. Sprinkle in some flax seeds or glue it all together with peanut butter for a healthy and fiber full snack.
- Dried Fruit (and Veggies) – Just dried fruits and veggies alone are a kid favorite in my house. While it is not good to eat too much dried fruit without drinking a lot of water to ‘reconstitute’ it, you can enjoy a small snack without a problem. Dried veggies like okra and peas are surprisingly flavorful and a hit with kids. One of my kids would rather have dried okra than French fries any day of the week. The other child loves dried peas covered in spicy wasabi! Crunchy banana chips replace greasy potato chips and soft apple slices are great for even young kids to nibble on. Freeze dried berries are light, crunchy, and taste just like fresh! There is a treat here for everyone!
- Dry Cereal – Last but not least, dry cereal is a great way to keep kids full and happy on the go. Try to opt for less sugar and more whole grains. There are many cereals that are kid friendly, vegan and vegetarian, and taste great. It is not just for breakfast. Mix up cereals and take it as an on the go snack, or make up baggies for eating at special events like soccer games and road trips.
As you can see, eating vegetarian and vegan does not mean bland and tasteless. Kids can enjoy a variety of healthy snacks and have fun too! It is always a treat giving your kids something that is good for them and taste great. Try out some of these simple healthy snack ideas for your next snack time, at home or on the go!
This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for www.4nannies.com. She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @ gmail.com.