Top Tips for Healthy Snacking

November 11, 2023

We’ve all been there; we arrive home from school or activities absolutely famished and grab the first snack item we see.

Packaged convenience foods are often the most manageable solution to quench that snack craving, however, unfortunately, the problem is that convenience snacks usually contain little nutritional value, are low in fibre, high in sugar and loaded with hidden nasties.

The good news is that there are healthy options around – we just need to know how to find them. As parents, we have the most influence and control over the foods our children eat in the home, so ensuring our fridge and pantry options are as nutritionally sound as possible goes a long way towards healthy after-school snacking.

This may sound daunting, but implementing a few simple swaps, some basic planning and a slight reorganisation of your pantry could significantly boost your children’s and family’s overall nutrition. My best advice is to embrace change gradually and to celebrate every positive step.

Consistency and perseverance are the keys to success.

4 Steps To Overhaul Your Kids’ Snacks

1. Learn to read and understand product labels

A basic understanding of how to read and understand the ingredient labels on food packaging is essential in arming ourselves with the purchasing power and nutritional knowledge needed when at the supermarket.

Our pantries are often filled with items high in sugar and salt and full of preservatives and additives that are cleverly disguised under long and confusing names. If we can identify these ingredients, then we are empowered to make healthier choices.

2. Swap out sugary staples

Now that you understand how to read food labels, sweep through your pantry, and swap out high-sugar spreads with nutritious homemade or low-sugar options.

Choose a peanut butter with no added sugar or vegetable oils.

Substitute commercial tomato sauce for easy and simple homemade options that are lower in sodium and sugar.

Swap out standard lollies to all-natural ones that are preservative-free.

These small changes can make significant headway on our journey towards better family nutrition.

healthy snacks for kids

3. Replace processed white bread and crackers with high-quality whole grain or sourdough options.

Eating good quality bread or choosing healthier wholegrain crackers is, in fact, one of the most beneficial and valuable changes that can be made to improve your family’s nutritional health.

Wholegrains have more vitamins, minerals, and gut-healthy fibre – so don’t delay. Make this swap today!

4. Reposition items in your pantry.

Location, location location right?

Generally, what the eye sees the tummy wants, so assess which are the first items your child sees when opening the pantry.

This simple and helpful strategy could be to move the lesser nutritious options to higher shelves or pack them away in sealed plastic containers. Keeping healthier snacks at lower, more accessible levels can improve snack choices. My advice, cut up veggies and place them in plain view – an easy option with a dip for hungry tummies.

5. Resist the temptation to stock “single serve” kiddie-decorated packaged snacks.

These are often loaded with hidden nasties (more so than the adult versions). They’re also less environmentally friendly and teach our children to always expect snacks to arrive in bright and sparkly packaging, leaving natural and whole food options appearing dull.

healthy snacks for kids

My Top 10 Healthy Snacks for Kids

  • Goat’s cheese or hummus dip and veggie sticks
  • Lightly salted popcorn or plain popcorn
  • Seaweed snacks (use them as wraps for a fun alternative)
  • Wholegrain crackers and cheese
  • Sourdough toast with a boiled egg
  • Pinwheels with hummus and avocado
  • Brown rice cakes with almond butter
  • Frozen banana dipped in dark chocolate and drizzled with tahini
  • Easy Bliss balls (dates, almonds, and coconut oil)
  • Natural yoghurt and mixed berries (Another option: puree together and freeze into popsicles)

MindChamps Global Chief Nutrition Officer Mandy Sacher is Australia’s leading Paediatric Nutritionist, best-selling Author, child nutrition expert, blogger, and mother of two! She is also known for co-developing MEND (Mind Exercise Nutrition Do It!), the world’s largest and most researched childhood obesity prevention and treatment program based in the UK that was developed with over ten years of research. 

Mandy and her Nutrition Team believe in the well-being of all our MindChamps children and that their nutritional needs should be fulfilled in our centres. Mandy’s philosophy is simple – teach children’s taste buds to enjoy nourishing, nutritionally beneficial foods as early as possible to ensure optimal development and establishment of lifelong healthy eating behaviours. Bridging the gaps in food and nutrition, this first-of-its-kind partnership is our commitment to creating and elevating a positive and lasting impact on childhood nutrition on a global level.