5 Easy and Healthy Sweet Snack Recipes

Before we talk snacks, let me clarify something – I’m not a healthy food expert.   In fact, for dinner last night, my kids ate re-heated fast food fries and a bruised banana.  For dinner. What can I say? It was a rough day, and I abandoned any real dinner plans early in the afternoon.  So if your kids are snacking on high fructose corn syrup straight from the bottle – no judgment here, friend.  We’re all doing the best we can.

And I do try my best to provide wholesome, appealing snacks, but sometimes it’s tough. My kids usually snack once in the morning and then sometimes again in the afternoon, depending on what time we’re having dinner.  On days where I serve three meals and two snacks, my kitchen starts to feel a little more like a diner.

So even though I aim to serve healthful snacks, as the cook/waitress/busboy, I tend to get in ruts. Those Veggie Straws at Costco are just too cheap and too easy.  I mean, they’re veggies, right?  Some of them are even green!

Come mid-winter, I need some new snacks.  Though whole fruits and veggies (we love clementines, baby carrots, cucumbers, etc.) are always top choice, it’s nice, and sometimes cheaper, to switch it up.

If you’re in a snack rut, here are 5, semi-easy ideas for sweet snacks that are hopefully a little more nutritious than reheated fries.  I’ll cover savory snacks in another post.

1.       Oatmeal Energy Balls

I tried these at a friend’s house and have made almost every week since.  Though I’m not sure about the “energy” claim, it’s a great recipe to make with kids, and there’s no baking time.  There are lots of versions online.  Here’s what I do:

½ cup honey

Warm the honey in a small pan on the stove until it’s bubbling.  Turn off the heat and whisk in

½ cup peanut butter (preferably unsweetened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of cinnamon

In a mixing bowl, stir together

1 cup oats
½ cup toasted almonds, chopped (or packaged roasted/salted almonds.  If using salted almonds, omit the salt.)
¼ cup ground flax seed
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
Pinch salt

Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Let it cool in the fridge for a bit (or not) and then shape into balls.  Or forget about it in the fridge and tell your kids you’re having spoonfuls of energy chunks instead.

2.       Sweet Potatoes with Maple Cinnamon Yogurt

I discovered this by accident when I had to bring snacks for my son’s preschool and had nothing snackish in my cupboards!  I wondered how it would go over, but the kiddos loved it!

I simply cut up sweet potatoes into sticks and serve them with a yogurt dip.

Yogurt Dip (serves 2)

Stir together

½ cup plain, whole milk yogurt
1 tsp real maple syrup or honey (use more or less based on your taste)
pinch of cinnamon

3.       Peanut Butter Popcorn

This is an extra special snack for us – often on Friday afternoons. We love popping popcorn on the stove.  I use coconut oil but have used olive oil or even vegetable oil if I’m out.

Here’s the recipe from Frugal Granola;

1/3 Cup Honey
scant 2/3 Cup natural Peanut Butter
3/4 to 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 quarts Popped Corn

Heat honey in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it starts bubbling. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir vigorously over heat until well blended and smooth. Be careful; mixture is hot and will stick to skin! Immediately pour honey mixture over popcorn and stir to coat. Let cool slightly before serving (if you can resist).

My only tweak to her recipe is to turn the heat off when you stir in the peanut butter.   Otherwise it has a really stiff texture that’s hard to pour on the popcorn.  Also, I like to add some sea salt after the peanut butter mixture goes on the popcorn.  It hits that sweet/salty spot.  Watch out – this is addictive!

4.       Pistachios

This is obviously not a recipe, but I’ve just discovered that pistachios are an awesome kid snack.  1) They’re great for practicing fine motor skills.  2) They take forever to eat – always a bonus if the day is dragging a bit.

The only drawback is that they’re not cheap, so these are a special treat for us.  Also, be sure to check the label carefully.  I bought some Salt and Pepper Pistachios that my kids looovvveed, but later I happened to glance at the label and realized, of course they like them, sugar is the number three ingredient!  More like Salt and Pepper and Sugar Pistachios.  Next time I’ll go for the plain old roasted and salted ones.

5.       Homemade Green Smoothie Popsicles

Who doesn’t love popsicles?  I got these molds a few years ago for my birthday, and we use them all the time.  But I don’t spend a lot of time making fancy orange creamsicles (although now that I think about it, that sounds awesome).  My secret – I throw any leftover green smoothie into a popsicle mold for a snack the next day.  My kids turn their noses up at some of my smoothies – especially the greener, less sweet ones, but they have never not gobbled down a popsicle.

Ladies, what recipes would you add to the list? Share them below!

Lindsey lives on and loves the west side of Chicago with her husband Mike and her kids – Caleb, 4 and Lily, 2. She works part time as a doula and childbirth educator and is fascinated by all things birth. In winter she likes to bake with sourdough, and in summer she likes everything. In all things, she is covered with God’s grace.