An array of healthy snack ideas.
Photo: James Worrell

To fuel their growing bodies and provide the energy necessary to study and stay active, kids and teens need to eat every 3 to 4 hours, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That’s where snacks come in.

But not any snack will do. "Unfortunately, many popular kid snacks are filled with sugars, sodium, and/or refined flour,” says Amy Keating, R.D., a CR nutritionist. The solution: Come up with healthy snack ideas that are as satisfying as the less nutritionally desirable options. "Snacks can be a great way for your child to get in an extra serving of foods they need, like vegetables or dairy," Keating says.

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And remember that it’s not all about individual nutrients, or fat and calorie counts, especially with options for kids. In our example below, for instance, a cheese stick and Triscuits have more calories and fat than cheddar Goldfish crackers. But the cheese and crackers provide more calcium, more protein, and more fiber—making them a healthier choice overall. 

Below, we have five healthier snack swap ideas—just in time for school.