10 Healthy Treats for Kids

Preparing healthy treats for kids can be a challenge.   Picky palates seem to prefer junk over wholesome, natural and healthy treats, but even the pickiest kids may find a treat among this list of healthy treats for kids that suits their liking.   Many of these are stand-by healthy treats for my family: figs stuffed with almonds, raw cheese and apples while others like strawberry milkshakes (they’re good for you, promise!) and frozen bananas we eating only occasionally.   So give up the gogurts, the little debbies, the fruit leathers and handisnacks for these tasty and healthy treats for kids.

Healthy Treat #1:

Frozen Bananas Rolled in Walnuts and Coconut

Replacing frozen ice cream pops, we love frozen bananas rolled in walnuts and coconut as a delicious and healthy treat.   They’re super simple to prepare and pleasantly sweet with mouth-pleasing crunchy coating.

It’s simple, grab a few chopsticks, skewers or popsicle sticks and thread a banana on to it.   Next, melt a bit of coconut oil and prepare bowls of crushed walnuts and unsweetened shredded coconut. Slightly coat the banana in coconut oil and sprinkle it with walnuts and shredded coconut, then set it on a baking sheet greased with coconut and allow it to freeze overnight.

Bananas are rich in potassium, and prebiotic compounds that nourish the intestinal flora that helps to keep you and your little ones healthy.   Walnuts are a source of the amino acid L-arginine which is critical in maintaining a healthy circulatory system.   Nuts contain enzyme inhibitors and may upset the digestion, so take care to eat walnuts that have been soaked overnight in clean water slightly salted with sea salt and subsequently dehydrated.

Healthy Treat #2:

Strained Yogurt with Dried Fruit & Nuts

Consider this healthy treat before feeding your kids sugar- or high fructose corn syrup-sweetened yogurts and puddings.   Rich in probiotics, protein and wholesome fats, strained yogurt or greek-style yogurt is a fantastic treat for kids. We frequently serve it with raisins or currents and pecans, walnuts or even crushed almonds.   Some kids may find that real yogurt – plain yogurt – is too sour for their liking so consider mixing a few tablespoons of maple syrup or raw honey into the mix – decreasing it ever so slightly until they’re taste preferences become accustomed to yogurts natural sour flavor.

Healthy Treat #3:

Popcorn with Butter & Nutritional Yeast

A favorite healthy treat of ours is popcorn with butter, nutritional yeast and sea salt.   If your kids are craving something salty, this is a great treat and it’s super easy to make. We don’t do microwave popcorn around here (or microwave anything for that matter) partly due to the carcinogens present in the packaging.     Simply heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat, and add a kernel or two of popcorn.   When the corn pops, add about 1/3 a cup of kernals and place the lid over your pot.   Agitate the pot over the flame until the sound of popping slows, then remove it from the heat.   Pour the corn into a bowl and top with plenty of melted butter (a great source of vitamin A and CLA).   Toss in some unrefined sea salt and as much nutritional yeast as your kids care for.   Nutritional yeast is a great source of those B-vitamins that we all need.

Healthy Treat #4:

Creme Fraiche with Fresh Vegetables

Kids love the animation and interactivity of dipping foods – perhaps because it’s the closest you can get to playing with your food without getting in trouble.   By preparing wholesome dips, like this creme fraiche dip you can serve them food they enjoy that is also wholesome and nourishing.   creme fraiche, like yogurt, is rich in beneficial lactic-acid producing bacteria and the vegetables provide an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.   Try this creme fraiche dip recipe and serve it with celery sticks, carrots, sliced salad turnips and radishes.

Healthy Treat #5:

Honey Custard

Ditch the handisnacks and powdered puddings in favor of a wholesome, natural custard sweetened only with a touch of honey.   The mildly sweet custard is easy to prepare, and rich in fat soluble vitamins.   It’s definitely a favorite in our home during springtime when both cream and eggs are plentiful and easy to find. Check out this recipe for honey custard.

Healthy Treat #6:

Caprese Salads

Another favorite in our household are caprese salads.   The wonderful flavors of summer: beautifully ripe heirloom tomatoes and brightly flavored basil leaves combine with fresh mozzarella, unrefined sea salt and unrefined extra virgin olive oil for a delicious treat that both children and grown-ups love.     The basil and tomatoes provide plenty of antioxidants while the unrefined olive oil supplies natural vitamin E.   Stack them into towers for extra fun.

Healthy Treat #7:

Strawberry Milkshakes

No child should be deprived of the delicious, creamy richness of a strawberry milkshake.   Fortunately, you can ditch the factory farmed milk and refined sugar for a wholesome, but equally delicious treat.   The milkshake is rich in nutrients and wholesome fats, which kids need, as well as the vitamin C and antioxidants that strawberries are known for.   Combine 1 ½ cups whole, raw milk with 1 cup frozen, hulled strawberries and a tablespoon of raw honey in a blender and blend until smooth and well-combined.

Healthy Treat #8:

Figs Stuffed with Almonds

Dried fruit and nuts always make for a good treat.   In this version, we combine dried figs with raw almonds for a sweet treat with a nice, satisfying crunch.   Figs are rich in soluble fiber, vitamin K, manganese and potassium while almonds represent a good source of vitamin E and riboflavin.   All you have to do is slightly pierce the skin of dried fig and insert a raw almond into its center.   A bag full of these is a great snack to bring to the park or on long road trips.

Healthy Treat #9:

Sweet Potato Chips

Instead of packing snack bags filled with crackers or potato chips, try preparing sweet potato chips at home in your dehydrator.   With a nice, midly sweet and salty flavor these sweet potato chips pack a great nutritional punch: they’re loaded with beta-carotene a known cancer fighter.   Take two or three sweet potatoes or garnet yams and slice them as thinly as you can manage.   Toss them with a teaspoon or so of olive oil and a bit of unrefined sea salt to taste before setting them on a mesh screen in your dehydrator.   Allow them to dry at about 105 º until they’re thoroughly crisp.

Healthy Treat #10:

Raw Milk Cheese with Sliced Apples & Pears

Lastly, we love raw milk cheeses with their fantastic flavors that vary from sour to salty paired with ripe apples and pears.   The fruit provides carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals while the cheese provides protein, fat, vitamins and food enzymes for good digestion.   This is a much more nutrient-dense and much more delicious version of that classic kid’s treat: processed cheese and crackers.

So there’s our top 10 healthy treats for kids.   What are your household standbys?

 

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What people are saying

  1. Emily says

    Hey what a cool list! All my food intolerances and health issues have led me to believe that when I have kids, they will definitately be eating healthier than I did growing up! For those of you that are interested, I just started a new blog http://foodintolerancescook.wordpress.com for gluten free, dairy free, and sugar free people out there. It has both recipes and reviews and more of each is coming soon!! Try it out!

  2. Mom says

    Frozen homemade popsicles are also great, just puree fruit with a little fresh squeezed juice or yogurt in a blender. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze. A delicious cold treat on a hot day!

  3. Martha says

    This is a great list, thank you! I’ve been making homemade filmilk (Swedish type buttermilk) and have recently started making smoothies for my son with them and freezing the left over into popsicles–which he loves. Do you know if the active cultures are destroyed by freezing (or heating, in pancakes, for example)?

    I’m an American living in Sweden and it’s amazing that most of the dairy products (I’ve never seen so many yogurt/fil milk choices in my life!) do not have live, active cultures in them. I cannot find one yogurt with live culture, and no one likes to eat the live filmilk, so I’ve started adding it to milk and making my own, which they like.

  4. says

    Love the list!! My kids would really appreciate this. Our snacks have always been relatively simple and unglamorous: fruits, nuts, cheeses, the end. Your snack ideas all require just a little more preparation (obviously), but I definitely need to mix things up more.

    Question about the popcorn: do you do anything to the corn kernel first, like soaking it in lime then dehydrating it again?

    Thank you! I’m stumbling this post, tweeting it, and will be sharing it on my blog later in the week.

    Cheers,
    ~KristenM
    (AKA FoodRenegade)

  5. Jen says

    YUM! I have been eyeing the dried figs at my organic delivery service for weeks now, but could’nt think of a way to use them. I already have crispy almonds on hand, so now I know what to make! I will be ordering the figs next week. Thanks! :)

    • Lauren says

      Most readers here will be limiting grains and avoiding all “diet” foods, for both themselves and their children.

  6. says

    These are all fabulous suggestions and who doesn’t want ideas for healthy snacks for their kids? I also like to serve hummus w/ og carrots and grape tomatoes. I have a recipe for hummus that is out of this world or from another world because it comes straight from the middle east and it is good. My kids love it and eat it plain with a spoon.

  7. Wardeh @ gnowfglins.com says

    I’d like to know about popcorn and soaking in lime also.

    Fantastic list! I just had some apples and homemade cheese yesterday for a snack – never had it before, it was so good!

  8. says

    This is a really great list. We have tried a number of them or their variants. Some days my son eats nothing but snacks when he is so focused on a project that he doesn’t care about food. Sometimes I serve him custard uncooked (aka egg nog without the liquor). :)

  9. Jenny says

    Michelle – that’s exactly it! Everyone can appreciate good food. The milkshakes are to die for and the almond-stuffed figs have made their way to an appetizer a few times too many.

    As for soaking in lime, I’ve never done it with my popcorn but I’m not terribly concerned about phytic acid in popcorn as it is an occasional treat for us. But, of course, my curiosity is piqued and I wonder how popping lime-soaked corn would do for us!

  10. Tracey R says

    One of my kids loves Greek yogurt with local raw honey as her favorite snack. She’s four and has loved this since she was around 2. The older two like it plain or with chopped fruit. All of them like various dips made from Greek yogurt, usually: from Taramasalata made with fish roe to artichoke dip. And they all like spiced crispy nuts. So far, Pumpkin Pie-Spiced Walnuts have been their favorite but they also really liked my attempt at Curry Cashews.

  11. says

    I love the sweet potato “chip” idea!!! We’re regular potato free right now do to babies allergy. I’ll have to try that!

  12. says

    Great article! I love some of these ideas….for me! The dried figs and almonds sound like the perfect energy food for me to pack when I travel.

  13. David A. says

    These sounds great, lots of good ideas! Another good idea for yogurt is the Disney themed Breyers yogurt which contains no high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors and has Disney characters on the box.

    • Jenny says

      Hi David –
      Thanks for the tip; however, I would not recommend Breyers Disney Themes Yogurt to my readers under any circumstance. While there may be no high fructose corn syrup in the yogurt, which is a very good thing, its first ingredient is low-fat pasteurized milk followed by fructose and sugar. Kids don’t need more sugar, but they do need wholesome fats found in full-fat, whole milk.

      Other ingredients in the yogurt include modified food starch and gelatin which Breyers wouldn’t need to add if they used full-fat milk – indeed, these are just fillers that pack little nutritional punch that the growing bodies of children desperately need. To add insult to injury, the yogurt includes artificial flavorings and is colored with things like carmine (dye from bugs and a powerful allergen). Further, the banana flavor includes no bananas; the peach flavor includes no peaches; the mixed berry flavor includes no berries and so on.

      And if the poor nutritional value weren’t enough to steer folks away from this yogurt, consider that Breyers is owned by Unilever – a corporation implicated in deforestation in Africa and dumping toxic waste into Indian nature preserves.

      But I’m sure you know all this given that your email and IP addresses indicate you work for CrierPR whose clients include Breyers. Nice Try.

  14. David A. says

    Thanks so much for your feedback Jenny. Comments we’ve left in the past we’ve clearly said we are with the company and should have done so in this case as well. Nutritional info for your readers can be found at ******. We appreciate all the healthy and natural tips you give in your posts. Here’s to good and healthy eating, David with Crier

    SPAM link removed by admin.

  15. Merina says

    Homemade coconut yogurt is popular with my dairy allergic toddler. I flavor it with cocoa powder and honey. It has taken several tries to get it right so that she will actually eat it though. I haven’t found a way to make it thick without using gelatin.

    Soaked crackers (Kitchen Stewardship recipe) and soaked pancakes (my own recipe) are also big hits.

    I wish I could make coconut flour cake for my son’s upcoming birthday, but my daughter is allergic to eggs. There’s no way around the eggs when baking coconut flour confections is there?

    Can the sweet potato chips be made in an oven that only gets down to 170? Also I had okra “chips” from the farmer’s market a few weeks ago that were too expensive to repurchase (and contained canola oil) but I think they were made the same way. They were addictive! I tried to duplicate it but never at such a low temp, now I’m curious if it would work.

  16. says

    I love apples and cheese, it’s a fall favorite. Great idea using honey to sweeten custard. I do custard every year at the holidays when making trifle. By kid is pudding obsessed right now, so I’ll have to try this.

    Could you make sweet potato chips in an oven? I don’t have a food dehydrator.

    Thanks!

  17. says

    Thank you for this post! We’ve been wanting to discuss nourishing snacks at one of our upcoming Food Groups, and this is a great addition to the list of ideas. Keep up the great work…

  18. Whitney Lemons says

    Sounds delicious!

    Just two quick questions:

    1) Are raw sweet potatoes very hard to digest/digestible?? I have an excalibur, but I never thought to make potato chips, especially not raw…but YUM!

    2) How do you feel about cornstarch? I used 1 Tbs to make pudding last night and it was fabulous! 4 yolks + 1 Tbs cornstarch…slowly incorporate hot mixture of 1 can co.milk + 1/2 c. chopped dark choc/cocoa+sweetener/etc…simmer 5 min while whisking…cool while mixing…mix in any extract or zest (peppermint, vanilla, almond, orange)

    OK, I guess I have a 3rd question! How do you feel about extracts? I’m buying nice ones, but we like the organic, fair trade vanilla flavor (vanilla bean in glycerin) and I really don’t know much about it.

    THANKS!
    Whitney

    PS I thoroughly enjoyed your reply to the PR guy ;)

  19. says

    What an awesome idea for chips! I don’t mind deep frying in good fat, but it’s a. expensive and b. messy. So I was so excited to see your recipe for sweet potato chips in the dehydrator! I just made them with butternut squash for my daughter who’s on GAPS and this is the first time in a year that she’s had *chips* She’s thrilled! Thank you Jenny :)

    • Jenny says

      That’s exactly my philosophy, too – I don’t mind the fat, provided it’s good fat, in fried foods – but it’s very expensive and very, very messy. That said, we did hazelnut chicken fingers in ghee this week (serious YUM!). I like these and squash “chips” but always serve them with a nice dip full of good fats to help absorb the antioxidants and vitamins in the vegetables.

    • Heather says

      Oh my goodness! Squash chips! We are still up to our ears in squash from the garden (yes it’s almost februrary) and everyone is getting sick of it. Thanks for the wonderful idea!

  20. says

    I love making homemade granola bars for our kids. I can pack them easily for school lunches and they are good enough to serve as dessert. We also do a lot of smoothies. Works great as a “side dish” too, because the kids feel like they are getting a treat, but it’s packed with fruit.

  21. says

    This is fantastic, thanks! My first baby is on the way and I have been thinking about what kind of healthy kid-friendly sweet snacks I could provide for him when he gets older. My parents wouldn’t let me have anything sweet when I was a kid, so I overcompensated by buying and eating TONS of candy bars and junk when they weren’t looking! So I want to strike somewhere in the middle. I love your site, thanks a lot.

  22. Elizabeth Brunson says

    Neat! I have a 3 y/o and a 1 y/o. I will definitely be trying the strawberry smoothies for our afternoon snack that we enjoy outside and the bananas rolled in coconut are a must for the evening treat! I will also be trying the sweet potatoe chips in my 11 y/o lunch…mmmm my mouth is watering :) Thanks for all the ideas!

    – Elizabeth

  23. Beth says

    Can I make the sweet potato chips without a dehydrator? I use my oven set on “warm” for everything else, like drying soaked nuts , buckwheat groats, and chickpeas.

  24. says

    Thanks to the admin for providing us such informative treats of healthy snacks for our kids. Really those above treats are very much help us to improve health of our kids. Because healthy snacks always provides lots of mineral and nutrition to our kids which is truly helpful for them.

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