Ask the Dietician: Snacks for Kids

Q: Our family is excited to try a vegan diet and we are gradually making the transition. One big challenge is finding snacks for our two kids, ages 6 and 8. What are some healthy vegan snack ideas for kids? In the past, our snacks have relied heavily on things like low-fat yogurt, string cheese, and raw veggies with ranch dressing. We’re struggling to come up with new ideas — especially easy ones.

Ginny Messina, R.D.:

Snacks are certainly important for young children. Small meals throughout the day can help kids meet nutrient needs, and smaller serving sizes — rather than a few big meals — can be more appealing to children. Kids especially need foods rich in minerals such as calcium, zinc, and iron, so it’s helpful to include beans, seeds, and nuts in snacks whenever possible. Here are some ideas for healthy, nutrient-dense, kid-friendly vegan snacks:

  • Baked pita chips or toasted pita triangles with bean dip
  • Sliced bananas with soy yogurt
  • Homemade trail mix (use whole-grain cereal, raisins, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and chopped nuts)
  • Instant oatmeal with fortified soy or almond milk (top with frozen blueberries or sliced strawberries and chopped walnuts)
  • Whole-wheat pretzels with peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter
  • Edamame (green soybeans) in the pod
  • Hummus and whole wheat crackers
  • Graham crackers dipped in applesauce
  • Mini rice cakes with peanut butter
  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Frozen bananas blended with a little non-dairy milk

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