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Kids are balls of energy in constant motion. But after a day of play, in that gap between afternoon and dinnertime, a bite to eat is the key to avoiding hangry meltdown mode.
Now, there are a ton of great homemade snacks you can whip up for your kids. But if you’re short on time (or kitchen-averse — no judgement!) there are a lot of store-bought snacks on the market these days that aren’t loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients, or weird preservatives.
So if you’re looking for options when it comes to taming the hunger beast until it’s time for dinner, check out these 12 store-bought snacks your kids will love — and you’ll love, too.
From a kid’s perspective, a snack needs to be yummy and fun to eat. From a parent’s perspective, it’s gotta be quick and easy while still having solid nutritional value. We took both into account by taking recommendations from real parents, including our editors.
Wherever possible, we picked products that are made from whole grains, non-GMO, and organic ingredients. We’ve included nut-free and grain-free options as well. If your kiddos have special dietary restrictions, be sure to read the entire ingredients list or check with your pediatrician.
- $ = under $5
- $$ = $5–$10
- $$$ = over $10
Your little one will channel their inner astronaut as they pop these tangy dehydrated cheese bites into their mouth. Aside from being downright delicious (cheese is the only ingredient — how can you go wrong?) and fun to eat, Moon Cheese is high in protein and calcium with 0 grams of sugar.
If Gouda isn’t your cheese of choice, this gluten-free, keto-approved snack also comes in cheddar, pepper jack, and Parmesan varieties. A word of warning, though, they’re highly addictive so you might want to get your own bag.
Popcorn with Everything Bagel Seasoning
Popcorn makes a great snack because it’s whole grain, low fat, and high in fiber. If you have the time, you can bust out the air popper or pop corn in a lidded skillet. But if you’re looking for a fast snack, this microwave popcorn from 365 Everyday Value will do the trick.
There are a bunch of ways you can make popcorn more delicious, but our favorite is everything bagel seasoning. The combo of garlic, salt, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds takes this familiar snack to the next level.
Annie’s Organic Cheddar Bunnies
These cheesy bunny crackers from Annie’s Organic are a fan-favorite for their softer texture and organic, natural ingredients. Baked with real cheese, they’re less salty than Cheez-Its but as cheesy as Goldfish, and made without synthetic preservatives. Plus, their bunny shape makes them fun to play with.
According to reviewers, these crackers don’t last as long when opened (due to the lack of synthetic preservatives, so not a bad trade-off) and are sometimes inconsistent in the level of cheesiness. Still, they’re a staple in many a mom’s pantry.
Pirate’s Booty Veggie Sticks
Not only are Pirate’s Booty Veggie Sticks a hit for their fun name, they’re also a delicious snack for all ages. Made without artificial ingredients, you actually get a half cup of veggies in each serving (which is sneaky because they really just look like french fries).
These baked sticks are made using less than 10 ingredients, including beet powder, kale powder, and spinach powder. They’re low in fat, too, but they’re almost like eating air so you can go through a bag pretty quickly if you’re not careful.
LesserEvil Paleo Puffs
Parenthood’s editorial director Jamie Webber loves sharing these Paleo Puffs from LesserEvil with her son. “They’re shaped like Cheetos but with quality ingredients,” she says.
These grain-free puffs are made with a combination of cassava flour, coconut flour, and sweet potato flour, topped with Himalayan salt. They honestly don’t sound delicious, but Jamie says, “I could eat a whole bag in one sitting.” That’s an endorsement if we’ve ever heard one.
Roland Lightly Salted Dry Roasted Edamame
These dry roasted soybeans pack a punch of protein, fiber, and carbs and make a quick, healthy snack. They’re lightly salted and crunchy, making them a yummy snack on their own or a savory addition to homemade trail mix.
This option is shelled and dry roasted, but you can also defrost raw, frozen edamame pods in the microwave — kids love biting the pod to squeeze the beans out so much they’ll forget they’re eating a vegetable!
Stretch Island Fruit Leathers
Fruit leathers have truly come a long way. Like a lot of brands on the market today, these from Stretch Island are made with 100 percent fruit and 0 grams of added sugar.
These pocket-sized leathers are perfect for a quick playground pick-me-up or a lunchbox treat. Plus, this variety pack of 48 includes six different flavors — including apricot, grape, and cherry — so you can always mix it up.
MadeGood Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Parenthood editor Sara McTigue has a kiddo with a peanut allergy, so these nut-free granola bars from MadeGood are a staple in her family’s household. On top of being school-safe to pop in his lunchbox, they’re organic, dairy free, gluten free, and tasty enough for Sara to steal a few for herself.
And although they look like your average chocolate chip granola bar, these have a sneaky serving of vegetables baked inside — we won’t tell if you don’t.
Larabar Kid Chocolate Brownies
Another bar option you can feel good about? These soft-baked, gluten-free chocolate brownie bars from Larabar Kid. They might look like a pastry counter indulgence, but they’re made from only nine non-GMO ingredients including buckwheat flour, honey, and chia seeds.
While the reviews are favorable, it’s helpful to note that these are pretty small and still contain a decent amount of sugar (10g), so they definitely fall more in the treat category.
Gerber Yogurt Melts
Another editor-endorsed snack is these yogurt melts from Gerber. “They’re like candy!” says Parenthood editor, Sara. Made with real yogurt and strawberries, they’re basically little drops of fro-yo in dehydrated form.
Because they’re designed for crawling babies and older, they’re meant to melt in your mouth — yum. And while they’re not the most natural or organic snack on this list, they are free of artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
Chia Squeezes from Mamma Chia
These squeeze pouches from Mamma Chia are a blend of chia seeds — which are packed with fiber, omega-3s, and protein — and puréed fruits and vegetables. They make a great on-the-go snack to keep in a bag (no refrigeration required) or to store in the pantry for the kids to help themselves to.
One reviewer shares her favorite hack: “I’ll freeze one overnight and throw it in as the ice pack with lunch — by lunch time it thaws to a delicious slushy treat!”
GoGo squeeZ Applesauce
Applesauce is a timeless snack. But add in the ease and functionality of a squeezable, resealable pouch and easy-open top for little hands, and you have one of the greatest kid snacks ever invented.
These GoGo SqueeZ applesauce packs are made of 100 percent fruit with zero added sugars or mysterious ingredients. They’re perfect for on-the-go snacking and come in yummy strawberry, apple, and banana varieties.