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Healthy Snacks for Kids on the Go or at Home

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Publication Number: P3568
View as PDF: P3568.pdf


After a long day of school, children look forward to that afternoon pick-me-up. From soccer practice to dance recitals, here’s a list of on-the-go and make-ahead snacks to keep up with your daily tasks!

On-the-Go Snacks

Pre-portioned snacks like trail mix, nuts, or popcorn that have 130 or fewer calories make great snacks. You can purchase snacks in individual portions or try one of these ideas!

  • Cheese sticks and fruit
  • Chocolate hummus and pretzels
  • Ranch dip, creamy salsa, or hummus and fresh veggies
  • Sliced fresh fruit and a yogurt cup
  • Whole grain snack crackers and cheese
  • Pre-portioned snacks (like trail mix, nuts, or popcorn)
  • Jerky and cheese cubes
  • Fruit and veggie pouches (like applesauce)
  • Protein packs (nuts, cheese, and meat)
  • Fruit kabobs
  • Yogurt sticks
  • Granola bars
  • Fresh fruit and nuts
  • Nut or seed butter with fruit
  • Hummus and pita chips
  • Muffins

Tip: For lasting energy, pair lean protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates, such as cheese sticks and fruit.

Make-Ahead Snacks

Kitchen Sink Monster Mix

Use whatever is on hand to make a snack mix, such as pretzels, popcorn, nuts, dry cereal, cheese-flavored crackers, chocolate candies, and chocolate chips.

Homemade Flavored Water

Make your own flavored water! You can freeze 100 percent fruit juice in ice trays and add the cubes to water. Or add frozen fruit, chopped fresh fruit, or sliced vegetables to water. If you make a large pitcher, drink it within 3 days.

Beach Cups or Dirt Cups

Open a pudding snack cup (low-fat or sugar-free vanilla or chocolate flavor), and add crumbled graham cracker squares or Oreo cookies, and gummy bears or gummy worms.

Homemade Popsicles

Mix yogurt and chopped fruit, and freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray or popsicle mold. Enjoy!

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza

  • Fruit pizza: Top a tortilla, graham cracker, or rice cake (instead of the typical sugar cookie) with whipped topping or flavored cream cheese. Top with fresh fruit of your choice.
  • Snack pizza: Top English muffins (or tortillas, bread, buns, or crackers) with pizza or spaghetti sauce, cheese, and your favorite cooked or deli meat or veggie toppings. Heat until cheese melts and enjoy!
  • Pizza peppers: Cut large bell peppers into four pieces and top with pizza or spaghetti sauce, cheese, and your favorite cooked or deli meat or veggie toppings. Heat until cheese melts and enjoy!

Chocolate-Covered Fruit

Freeze bananas or strawberries until firm. Melt your favorite chocolate and drizzle it over the frozen fruit. Enjoy!

Homemade Dips

Children love dips! Here a few fun and easy dips to try with fresh fruits or veggies:

  • Vanilla yogurt
  • Ranch dressing
  • Salsa
  • Hummus
  • Sour cream
  • Creamy salsa (1 cup mild salsa mixed with ½ cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt)
  • Peanut butter dip (microwave ½ cup peanut butter for 10–20 seconds, then add a pinch of cinnamon)

Frozen Fruit

Simply snack on pieces of frozen fruit, like blueberries or grapes.

Fruit Salad

Mix two or three of your favorite fruits—canned, frozen, and fresh all work. If you use fresh fruit, sprinkle it with a little lemon juice to keep the fruit from turning brown.

Fun Popcorn Toppings

  • Take popcorn up a notch by drizzling it lightly with oil after popping, and then adding these fun seasonings!
  • Taco popcorn: Sprinkle popcorn with 1 tablespoon taco seasoning.
  • Doritos popcorn: Mix and sprinkle popcorn with ¼ teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder, and salt.
  • Ranch popcorn: Mix and sprinkle popcorn with ½ teaspoon each of dried dill, dried chives, garlic powder, and onion powder, plus ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Or try 1 tablespoon of homemade or packaged ranch seasoning.
  • Cinnamon and sugar popcorn: Mix and sprinkle popcorn with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 bananas (very ripe)

1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla

½ cup chocolate chips


  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  3. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until mostly smooth.
  4. Add oats, cinnamon, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Mix well.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a lightly sprayed or oiled baking sheet. Flatten with the back of a spoon or bottom of a drinking glass.
  6. Bake 10–15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool before serving.


The texture of these cookies is best right after baking.

Instead of chocolate chips, try dried cranberries or chopped nuts.

Fruit Sushi Roll


1 tortilla

1–2 tablespoons nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc.)

1 cup fruit (like bananas, apples, or strawberries), sliced


  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Spread the nut butter onto the tortilla.
  3. Add any fruit combinations.
  4. Roll the tortillas.
  5. Slice into bite-sized pieces.


Try in-season fruit for a budget-friendly snack!

Fruit Smoothie


½ cup milk

¾–1 cup fruit

¼ cup yogurt


  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Add all ingredients to the blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add a straw and enjoy!


Frozen fruit is a great option for smoothies.

Add a handful of spinach leaves for more nutrients and fiber.

You can use any variety of milk or milk substitute.

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins


1 (18.5-ounce) box devil’s food cake mix

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin OR 2 cups fresh pumpkin (cooked and mashed)

1 cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Mix the cake mix, pumpkin, and chocolate chips in a large bowl.
  3. Spoon the batter into a greased muffin pan.
  4. Bake 10–12 minutes at 350ºF.
  5. Let cool and enjoy!


Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants!

Energy Balls


1 cup quick oats

½ cup mini chocolate chips

¼ cup honey

¼ cup nut butter (any variety)

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir.
  3. Cover with foil. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll into 1-inch balls.
  5. Enjoy!

Note: Do not give honey to children younger than 1 year old.


Try this snack to add more fiber to your diet!

Apple Nachos


2–3 apples (in-season or your favorite variety)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

¼–½ cup nut or seed butter

¼ cup mini chocolate chips

2 tablespoons shredded coconut


  1. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  2. Wash the apples under cool, running water.
  3. Core and slice the apples into 8–10 slices per apple. Drizzle with lemon juice.
  4. Arrange the apples evenly on a plate in a single layer.
  5. Microwave the nut butter for 20 seconds or until smooth.
  6. Drizzle the apple slices with nut butter.
  7. Add toppings and enjoy!


Add raisins for more fiber.

Add nuts for more crunch.

Add a dash of cinnamon to enhance the flavor.

Publication 3568 (POD-06-24)

By Qula Madkin, Extension Instructor, Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion; Lara Angel, Extension Agent III, DeSoto County; and Sara Cagle and Sara Talley, former Dietetic Interns, Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion.

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Portrait of Ms. Qula Madkin
Extension Instructor
Portrait of Ms. Lara Savage Angel
Extension Agent III

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Portrait of Ms. Qula Madkin
Extension Instructor

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