It’s inevitable; growing kids are going to snack. Snacking can help kids maintain their energy, provide fuel for after-school activities and fill in the nutrition gaps of their diets. While it may seem convenient to parents to stock up on multi-packs of packaged potato chips or sugary candy, opt instead for wholesome snacks which give your child the nutrition her developing body needs.

It’s easier than you think! Encourage your child to develop healthy eating habits early on by setting an example in your home. Your child won’t crave cookies, chips or candy bars if you don’t have them on hand. Model healthy eating by choosing nutritious snacks for yourself, too!

Dig into these healthy snack ideas:

Fruit & Veggie Snacks

I live by the mantra, “the more colorful your plate, the healthier it is.” Fruits and vegetables provide a wide variety of flavors and come in a convenient, natural form. For a yummy snack which will last throughout the week, I like to make my own fruit salad cups. I start by making a large fruit salad and then divide it into smaller containers. For an easy veggie snack, I like to make veggie cups. Start by adding a layer of your favorite dressing or hummus on the bottom of a container and then place sliced carrots, celery and peppers vertically inside.

Whole Grain Snacks

Whole grains contain fiber (a plant-based protein), vitamins and minerals essential for optimal health. Because whole grains take longer to digest, they’ll leave your child feeling fuller than the refined grains found in cookies or white bread will. I like making a batch of these crunchy granola wedges and divide them into smaller portions to last throughout the week.

Healthy Fat Snacks

It’s important for your child to have healthy fats as a part of her diet. Nuts and nut butters are the perfect go-to snack for kids’ developing bodies, plus they provide an extra energy boost needed to carry your child through the day. I love to pair sliced apples with almond butter and a dash of cinnamon. I opt for all-natural nut butters, as some processed brands can be high in sugar.

Protein Rich Snacks

Protein is a critical building block of bones, muscles and cartilage among other things. Plus, a healthy protein intake will give your child strength and ensure that she will bounce back from injuries quickly. For a protein rich snack, I like to make parfaits of Greek yogurt with a handful of fresh fruit, a drizzle of honey and a spoonful of toasted oats.

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