It’s easy to forget about eating nutritious nibbles when you can quickly grab store-bought cookies or crisps. But it shouldn’t be a problem to put snacking and nutrition together if mums know how to make cheap healthy snacks.
So, I’ve come up with my little cheat sheet of homemade snacks that are healthy yet kid-friendly. These require minimal cooking and simple ingredients, too. More importantly, these snack ideas won’t make a dent in your monthly food budget.
Affordable Healthy Snacks for Kids
Making kid-approved snacks to satisfy hunger cues is easy. All you have to do is list down the food items your little ones enjoy eating, then make it extra healthy and delicious.
Ideally, try to highlight the different food groups in every snack idea. Also, remember to make them in small portions, according to your kids’ age and appetite.
Make-ahead snacks for kids that you can store in the pantry or fridge are excellent time-savers as well. Just make sure you have the proper containers, ice packs or cooler bags to keep them fresh on the go.
Here are some of the cheap healthy snacks I make at home. Try making them, or use these simple recipes as inspiration!
1. Crisp Healthy Toast
Bread and bread spreads are often the first things that come to mind when you need cheap healthy snacks. But there are other affordable fillings or toast toppers you can use to make snack time more exciting.
Here’s an idea. Toast bread slices until golden and crisp. If you need to make a lot, I suggest using the oven for toasting to save time and energy.
Then come up with a good protein, fat and fruit or vegetable combo for a balanced snack. Here are some examples:
- cheese + cherry tomato + mayo
- ricotta + berries + honey + almond slices
- tuna + cucumber + Greek yoghurt
- hummus + shredded carrot + raisins
- hard-boiled egg + lemon juice + mashed avocado
2. Mini Pizzas
Who would say no to pizza for a snack? But instead of making homemade pizza dough, you can use mini pita bread or cookie-cutter tortilla. It’s quicker that way.
Just like toasts, pizzas go well with either savoury or sweet toppings. For example, you can pair tomato sauce with a mix of veggies. Or use softened cream cheese to go with sliced berries, kiwi and mandarin orange. You can use canned fruit, too.
To make it more fun, why not turn your afternoon snack time into a mini build-your-own pizza party? It will be a fun way to bond with your kids.
3. Popcorn Nibble Mix
Popcorn is the best healthy food swap for a bag of crisp. It takes no time to cook and is cheaper if you make your own (instead of buying microwave popcorn).
And a little sprinkling of garlic or cheese powder is all you need to turn it into an even tastier snack. But if you want it healthy, I suggest tossing your popcorn with breakfast cereal and dried fruit.
Simple ingredients like banana chips, chocolate chips, freeze-dried strawberries or toasted coconut sound delightful, too. The sweet and salty combo always makes the best-tasting snacks don’t you think?
4. Crunchy Chickpeas
Do you have a can of chickpeas in your pantry? Or perhaps some leftover frozen peas? These are great additions to soups and stews, but they also make an addictive protein-rich snack.
All you have to do is thaw or drain your legumes, toss them in olive oil and salt, then roast them in a preheated oven. Roasting time should take 30 to 40 minutes, or until the legumes are brown and crisp.
Once cooked and cooled, they’re the perfect snack during homework or movie time. You can add these in salads or wraps, too.
5. Yoghurt and Fresh Fruit Cones
Ice cream for a snack? OK, but let’s fill the sugar or waffle cones with alternating layers of yoghurt and fruit instead.
Yoghurt is not only gut-friendly, but it’s also super versatile. Practically any fruit tastes delicious with plain yoghurt.
Just make sure to look for those with live cultures in them. Or you can make homemade yoghurt, too, which is cheaper.
If your kids are craving frozen cheap healthy snacks, dip fruit slices in yoghurt, like blueberries or ripe bananas. Then freeze them until set.
Or you can also blend your fruit and yoghurt, pour them into moulds, then freeze for 6 hours or so. And voila, yoghurt ice pops!
6. Veggie Sticks and Dip
Are you having trouble making your kids eat their veggies? Well, I’m sure every mum has their picky-eater story to tell.
But the good news is any vegetable stick can be yummy when paired with a healthy, delicious dip. Hummus, salsa and tzatziki are the most popular options.
To save money, buy vegetables in season and make your dipping sauce homemade. You can serve pita or tortilla chips, too, for an extra crunchy snack.
Most kids are not fans of meals in large portions. That’s why having a stash of healthy snack ideas ensures they get the calories they need for the day without sacrificing nutrient value.
Yes, making them homemade requires extra kitchen time. But then again, you get to save money (and trips to the grocery). Also, you know what your kids are munching on and putting in their little bodies!