Eating three main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) isn’t enough for most children. Experts advise that young children (2- to 8-year-olds) have at least two snacks and older children (8 years and above) have at least one snack along with the main meals (1).
A healthy, well-balanced snack is vital to ensure children’s optimal energy levels throughout the day. Besides, it curbs hunger pangs that often lead to high-calorie, high-sodium, processed food consumption and overeating (2).
While you could make several types of healthy snacks, trying some vegetable snacks for kids ensures they meet their daily recommended vegetable intake. So, here are some easy-to-prepare, healthy, and delicious healthy vegetable snack ideas for children to keep them satiated throughout the day.
Nutritious And Tasty Vegetable Snacks For Children
Below are some unique, versatile, healthy, and easy-to-make vegetable snack ideas for children.
1. Ants on a log snacks
Ants on a log is a common yet attractive and nutritious snack for young children. To prepare this mouth-watering snack, you need celery stalks, a filling (sauce, dip, or low-fat cheese), seeds, diced dried fruits or fresh fruits, and animal crackers (for embellishment).
Once the ingredients are ready, cut the celery stalks in two halves and fill them with healthy dips or sauces, such as guacamole or hummus. Next, top the filling with seeds, nuts, dried or fresh fruits, and decorate with animal crackers. The snack can be whipped up in just five minutes!
2. Veggie rainbow with hummus
Bell pepper, cucumber, and carrot are not only colorful but also nutritious. You can feed these veggies to your child by preparing the “veggies rainbow with hummus” snack to meet your child’s fiber needs.
To make this snack, you need raw, pan-fried, sautéed, grilled, or roasted veggie sticks with homemade hummus. If hummus sounds too bland, try other healthy dips, such as lemon-herb white bean dip or butternut squash dip.
3. Colorful crostini
Crostini is an Italian appetizer with a toasted or grilled bread base and toppings. You can modify this mini appetizer into a hearty snack by experimenting with the ingredients.
You could select whole-grain or multigrain, seeded bread to make the base, and then choose different, seasonal, sautéed, pan-fried, or grilled veggies to make the toppings.
Finally, add some high-protein, low-fat cheese, such as cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, or ricotta, and some aromatic herbs, such as oregano, dill, or lemongrass to make the snack tempting.
4. Veggie chips
Beetroot, sweet potato, zucchini, and plantain are some veggies that can be turned into crispy chips. All you need to do is cut these veggies into thin slices, dehydrate them, and then bake them. While baking, remember to add little to no oil and salt to these chips.
You can feed them to children in moderation with yummy veggie dips, such as garlic and dill yogurt dip, Egyptian beetroot dip, or tuna dip.
5. Zucchini boat
Zucchini boat is a versatile dish that one can serve as snacks or during main meals. To make this tasty snack, you need peeled zucchini (cooked or baked) and vegetable filling. Red onions, green pea, carrot, corn, sweet potato, arugula, and mushrooms are some veggies that usually go into the filling.
In addition, you can add low-fat cheese, herbs, and protein-rich foods such as tofu to make the snack more delectable.
6. Tartlets with roasted veggies
A tartlet or tart is a baked fruit-based French dish that can be turned into a savory dish with a little bit of experimentation. You can make savory tartlets by filling an open-top pastry base with veggies and cheese.
Alternatively, you can use some protein foods, such as cottage cheese and tofu, to enhance the snack’s nutritional value, taste, and texture.
7. Mini sandwich skewers
To make a sandwich skewer, all you need to do is arrange mini bread, veggies, and cheese slices on the skewer. You can follow any order or arrangement you like and add as many veggies and types of cheese as you wish. The goal is to make a mini sandwich skewer that is colorful, tasty, and nutritious.
8. Mini veggie burgers
A burger is an all-time favorite for several children but is often not healthy. However, you can make it portion-controlled and healthy by trying a mini veggie burger recipe.
To make a mini burger, make mini burgers at home or buy them from a store. Then, prepare mixed vegetable patties to go between the buns. Finally, you can add mixed cheese and herbs, such as dill, to enhance the snack’s taste and flavor.
9. Savory parfait
Parfait is a French frozen dessert usually made with cream, sugar, and egg, due to which it’s high in calories. But, you can tweak this traditional dessert’s ingredients and convert it into a savory vegetable snack for children.
First, replace cream and eggs with low-fat, plain Greek yogurt and add some texture by using cereal, such as cooked quinoa.
Then, add cooked, seasonal veggies, such as pumpkin, to add color, flavor, and nutrients to the final dish. Finally, include nuts (almond and pecans), seeds such as sesame and flax, and herbs, such as cinnamon, to make the snack more nutritious, flavorful, and alluring for children.
10. Vegetable crackers
Whole wheat or whole-grain crackers with milk are a common evening snack for several children. However, you can make this simple snack attractive by adding different flavorful veggie toppings to it. Take various seasonal veggies and pan-fry or sauté them in olive oil. Next, add feta or ricotta cheese, herbs, and seasonings. Top this filling onto the crackers, and your delicious snack is ready. Serve it with yogurt dip, salsa sauce, or any other dip or sauce of your choice.
11. Baby frittata
Frittata is an easy-to-make, on-the-go, egg-based dish people eat across meals. You can turn this delicious dish into a tasty, kid-friendly snack by making mini baby frittatas in muffin tins to keep their size small. Then, add several veggies, cottage cheese, and tofu to diversify the snack’s flavors and nutritional value.
12. Cucumber cup
Cucumber cup is a quick, refreshing snack that you can make in different ways. Here’s one way to make it—cut a cucumber into one- or two-inch thick slices and scoop out their seeded flesh. Mix this seeded flesh with Greek yogurt, cheese, herbs, and seasonings and blend them into a smooth mix. Add finely chopped and cooked veggies, such as onion, chives, parsley, bell peppers, mushrooms, and mix them with the seeded flesh mix. Fill this mix into the cucumber cups and serve.
13. Baby bruschetta
Bruschetta is an Italian delicacy made with grilled bread rubbed with olive oil, garlic, and salt. You can make several variations of this delectable snack by modifying the toppings and including several chopped vegetables and herbs. Alternatively, you can experiment with the bread and choose rustic bread, toasted baguette, or ciabatta to make this snack.
14. Baked zucchini sticks with guacamole
Zucchini or courgette is a healthy veggie that some children do not like to eat when boiled or curried. So, add some twist to zucchini and bake crunchy zucchini sticks. Zucchini sticks are a great snack that children can enjoy eating with different dips such as guacamole and tahini. They are a perfect choice for young children aged two to three years—children who are still honing their pincer grasp.
15. Vegetable taco cups
Taco is a Mexican dish made of wheat or corn tortilla stuffed with veggies and cheese. Make this yummy dish snackable for kids by baking the tortillas into cups and filling them with fresh veggies, cream cheese or Greek yogurt, chopped seeds, nuts, dried fruits, and herbs.
16. Quinoa salad jar
A quinoa salad jar is a healthy, easy-to-make snack that children can easily carry and eat anytime, anywhere. To make this nutritious snack, mix cooked quinoa with pan-fried, sautéed, or steamed veggies, such as corn, mushroom, zucchini, kale, and cherry tomatoes.
You can also add seeds and chopped nuts or dried fruits with Greek yogurt or pesto sauce to enhance the snack’s flavor, texture, and nutritional density.
17. Eggplant pizza slices
Pizza is a versatile dish that children love to relish. You can make a healthy pizza at home using several ideas. For instance, you can make an eggplant pizza using eggplant slices as a pizza base topped with different seasonal veggies and cheese. Add homemade pizza sauce, salsa, or pesto to make these pizza slices flavorful and attractive.
18. Rice cakes
Rice cake is a simple snack that is made from puffed red, white, or brown rice. You can buy it from the market or make it at home and enhance its nutritional value by topping it with veggies mixed with seasoning and herbs. You can also add yogurt or cheese to make a customized rice cake for your child.
19. Vegetable muffins
A muffin is a classic snack that has several sweet and savory varieties. You can serve your child savory muffins to let them enjoy some veggies that they usually don’t like eating. Also, add a protein source, such as pulses, legumes, beans, cheese, cottage cheese, or tofu, to make the muffin more nutritious.
20. Zucchini spaghetti with pesto
Spaghetti is traditional Italian pasta made from durum wheat and semolina. But did you know that you can make spaghetti with zucchini? Yes, you can grate zucchini in spirals using a vegetable spiralizer and turn it into a flavorsome snack for your children.
Add different veggies, pesto sauce, and chopped nuts to the spiraled zucchini and pan-fry everything for seven to ten minutes. Your tasty snack is ready!
21. Fruit and vegetable smoothie
When you have less time to make a snack, a fruit and veggie smoothie is a good choice. Smoothie is a tasty beverage made with fruits, vegetables, or a mix of both. Pumpkin, spinach, avocado, baby spinach, and kale are some nutritious veggies that you can use to make a tasty smoothie.
Homemade vegetable snacks are a healthy choice for children. You can make different nutritious and tasty veggie snacks using various seasonal veggies, such as corn, spinach, bell peppers, kale, and broccoli. Add a protein source such as low-fat cheese or yogurt, herbs, and seasoning to make these snacks flavorsome and unique. Ensure your children eat at least one vegetable snack a day to meet their daily requirement of veggies.