gluten-free snacks

Kids typically love to munch on different treats, and eating healthy snacks throughout the day can boost their energy and nutritional intake. Keeping your kids gluten-free, though, can be challenging, especially when it comes to snacks. By the time you finally find the right afternoon fix, your kid is likely already in the middle of a meltdown. Lucky for you, help is on the way with these 21 easy and gluten-free snacks.

Gluten-Free Diet Basics

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. If your child has celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, you already know that they should avoid all products made with gluten-containing grains. For them, eating gluten could result in serious side effects such as:

  • anemia
  • malnutrition
  • rash or eczema
  • joint pain
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • nervous system issues

One of the biggest misconceptions about eating gluten-free is that it’s automatically healthy. But many prepackaged, gluten-free products are high in calories, fat, sodium, and added sugars. But don’t despair! Arm yourself with the right ingredients and a little knowledge, and you’ll keep your kids gluten-free and healthy.

1. Sweet Potato Crunchies

Sweet Potato Crunchies
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Source: Photo courtesy of Skinny Ms.
URL: http://skinnyms.com/

Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. Kids will love munching on these crispy, spiced chips fried in olive or coconut oil.

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Fun Facts: The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil »

2. Cheez-It Crackers

If your kids are fans of mini cheese crackers (and which kid isn’t?), try this homemade version. It’s made with gluten-free flour, sharp cheddar cheese, butter, sea salt, and water — that’s it. Your kids will love the taste and you’ll love that it only requires a few pantry staples.

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3. Homemade Honey Tiny Teddies

Homemade Honey Tiny Teddies
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Source: Photo courtesy of Southern-in-law
URL: http://www.southerninlaw.com/

What kid doesn’t love dipping those tiny teddy bear graham crackers into a cold glass of milk? You can make a healthier variety at home using gluten-free flour, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Best of all, your kids can pick out the cookie cutter shape.

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Read More: 9 Unexpected Uses for Honey »

4. No-Bake Gluten-Free Granola Bars

Store-bought granola bars may seem like a healthy snack, but they’re often packed with added sugar and preservatives. These gluten-free bars provide taste and nutrition from honey, gluten-free oats, unsweetened coconut chips, and coconut oil. Make a batch on the weekend, and package them up for a weekday grab-and-go breakfast.

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5. Gluten-Free Corn Dog Muffins

While they’re not exactly healthy, corn dogs are still a favorite for kids. Fortunately, these mini muffin tin corn dogs are smaller in size and made from gluten-free corn muffin mix. Choose uncured hot dogs to avoid artificial nitrates and preservatives.

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6. Allergy-Free Soft Pretzel Bites

Chewy, warm soft pretzels are the perfect snack, but most are made with flours containing gluten. These pretzel bites can be made with gluten-free flour and are even more delicious when dipped in your kids’ favorite gluten-free dipping sauce.  

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7. Gluten-Free Cucumber Sandwiches

Gluten-Free Cucumber Sandwiches
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Source: Photo courtesy of Family Focus Blog
URL: http://familyfocusblog.com/

Healthy cucumber rounds take the place of bread in these bite-sized sandwiches that are just as fun to make as they are to eat. This recipe calls for avocado, tomato, turkey, and cheese, but feel free to substitute with your child’s favorite lean meats, veggies, or hummus.

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8. The Best Gluten-Free Chex Mix

Despite being a snack staple for kids, store-bought Chex mix isn’t always gluten-free. Forgo the packaged brand and make a healthier version at home by controlling what you put in and what you leave out! This recipe uses gluten-free pretzels and bagel chips, as well as rice and corn cereal and peanuts.

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9. Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

When it comes to enjoying a PB&J, no child should be left behind because of food allergies. If you nix the bread and replace it with gluten-free oats, your kids can enjoy the timeless snack duo too. Choose natural peanut butter for healthier results or almond butter if your child has a peanut allergy.

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10. Applesauce Banana Spice Bread

Applesauce Banana Spice Bread
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Source: Photo courtesy of Raia's Recipes
URL: http://raiasrecipes.com/

Replacing oil with applesauce in a quick bread recipe results in moister, healthier bread. Add brown rice flour, honey, and arrowroot powder to make a snack that you’re proud to give your kids.

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11. Healthified Fruit Roll-Up

What makes some prepackaged fruit leather brands so colorful? High fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes, and unnatural flavorings, of course! This recipe is not only gluten-free, but it’s made from fresh pureed fruit, water, and a natural sugar substitute, so you can avoid the artificial dyes and flavorings found in the store bought versions.

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12. Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips
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Source: Photo courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction
URL: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/

Apples are full of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. Baking thin slices results in a naturally sweet, crunchy, and may we say addicting, snack. These take a few hours, so be sure to plan enough time for this recipe.

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Read More: Apple Facts »

13. DIY Freezer Protein Bars for Kids

Nuts are packed with protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Made with raw cashews, almonds, almond butter, and maple syrup, these bars are hearty and delicious. The next time your kids start driving you nuts, go ahead and give them one of these premade bars of goodness!

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Read more: Go Nuts! The Health Benefits of Nuts »

14. Gluten-Free Buffalo Sauce-Flavored Popcorn

Popcorn is supposed to be good for you, but the vending machine or snack aisle brands are often coated in artificial, powdery cheese and full of trans fats. Avoid those ingredients, and orange fingers, by popping it on the stove or in an air-popper. Add some extra flavor to your homemade popcorn by using just a dash of gluten-free hot sauce, a shake of gluten-free celery salt, and a pat of butter.

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15. Goldfish Crackers

Known as the “snack that smiles back,” goldfish crackers are a childhood favorite. Unfortunately, most contain wheat flour, meaning gluten-free kids are often out of luck. This goldfish cracker recipe comes to the rescue with almond flour: It’s not only gluten-free, but the all-natural ingredients make it preservative-free too.

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16. Gluten-Free Vegan Animal Graham Crackers

Gluten-Free Vegan Animal Graham Crackers
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Source: Photo courtesy of Petite Allergy Treats
URL: http://petiteallergytreats.com/

Parents love that animal crackers are portable, and kids love how they taste and look. However, most store-bought versions are high in sugar and off-limits to gluten-free kids. Enlist the kids to help you make your own zoo using gluten-free flour, molasses, vanilla, and cinnamon.

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17. Easy, Crispy Baked Kale Chips

Kale is a good source of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. It may not seem like a kid-friendly snack, but kale can be delicious when it’s tossed with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt, and baked until crisp. Don’t be surprised when your kids start begging for more!

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18. Strawberry-Banana Blender Muffins

What do you get when you throw strawberry chunks, mashed bananas, and oats into a blender? A muffin batter packed full of nutrients! You’ll love how simple it is to make, and your kids will love the taste.

When buying oats, check the label to make sure they are gluten-free. While oats don’t have gluten, they can easily become contaminated.

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19. No-Crust Gluten-Free Pizza Bites

It’s no surprise that pizza is a favorite food among Americans. But gluten-free kids struggle to find an Italian pie that won’t make them sick. With a Canadian bacon crust, this muffin-sized recipe isn’t traditional, but it still gives kids all the pizza flavor goodness they crave.

For individual servings, you can also try cutting a store-bought, gluten-free crust into small circles and placing them into a muffin tin. Then, just add your toppings and bake.

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20. Apple Cookies

Gluten-free kids must avoid traditional cookies made with white or wheat flour. These apple “cookies” aren’t like the typical dessert, but are more like apple “pizzas” topped with nut butter and chocolate chips. Still, they’re a treat that’s bound to please.

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21. Baked Gluten-Free Mozzarella Sticks

These mozzarella sticks are coated in gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs before they’re baked. Baking them instead of frying cuts calories and fat, and using calcium- and protein-rich mozzarella cheese sticks makes for a nutritious snack.

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Get Snacking

These recipes provide some wonderful, kid-friendly alternatives to the gluten-containing, processed snacks in the grocery store. Even if you feel you don’t have the time or energy to make something from scratch, fruit or veggies with a dip is a quick, healthy, gluten-free option, so stock up!

Do you have a favorite gluten-free snack? We’d love to hear from you!