Are you looking for cheap and healthy snacks for kids? This list of 12 different easy to serve snack foods should do the trick. Some are homemade and others are store-bought, but all are inexpensive.
These snack options have been time tested with our five kids and should do well for your family.
Do you ever feel like you’re feeding a bottomless pit?
We’re talking about those kids or teens with “hollow legs.”
Remember when they were babies and we fed them every two hours? Well, the two-hour feedings start all over again in the pre-teen and teen years.
You want to provide nutritious snacking food without going broke, but how?
And while there are some healthier options out there, they also cost a lot and take more time to prepare.
With each snack food, we’re giving you an approximate cost per serving. Our pricing was based on sale prices that we usually pay for the item. Your price may be different, but should still be proportional.
Here are 12 Cheap Snacks for Kids to fend off the “munchies.”
1. Fruit in Season
We all know that fruit is good for us. It is an excellent source of fiber, enzymes, and vitamins. We love to make large amounts of fruit salad with fruit that is in-season. Sometimes we eat it straight up. Other times we add some yogurt and mini marshmallows.
This is one of the great affordable snacks for kids.
RELATED RECIPE: Disappearing Fresh Fruit Salad
- Summer: cherries, melons, peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, raspberries, blackberries, figs, blueberries, corn on the cob (yes you can eat it raw) cherry tomatoes, Chinese pea pods
- Fall: pears, apples, and peppers
- Winter: all types of citrus, pineapple
- Spring: strawberries, asparagus
What about Fruit that is past it’s prime?
If some of our fruit is past its prime, but not moldy, we have two options:
- Freeze it for later use in baking or smoothies
- Make a smoothie
How we Freeze Fruit
We stock up and freeze lots of fruit – particularly berries.
We lay them out on a cookie sheet and pop ‘em into the freezer. When they’re frozen solid, we put them into a zippered bag and store them in a larger canvas bag full of other frozen fruit.
Related page: We have a couple of videos on our fresh produce money saving tips page where we show you how to easily store and cut up and freeze pineapples and strawberries, freezing grapes and how to rejuvenate droopy carrots.
Cost: When fruit is purchased on sale, in season, the cost per serving can be as low as $.10.
Whipping up a smoothie is a great way to use up aging fruit. We mix together crushed ice, fresh fruit, milk or juice and a little jelly. Protein powder can be added for extra nutrition. Other “mix-ins” include pineapple juice (from canned pineapple), older bananas, oranges, peaches, watermelon, berries of all kinds and yogurt. We avoid pears and apples; they tend to make the smoothie grainy.
This is another one of the terrific affordable snacks for kids.
We have pinned tons of ideas on our Drinks, Tea and Smoothie recipes Pinterest Board.
Cost: When fruit is purchased on sale, in season, the cost per serving can be as low as $.30.
3. Veggies & Dip
Try these ideas to make your veggie snacks more filling and interesting by offering:
– Celery with peanut butter (and raisins) we called it Ants on a Log
– Celery with cream cheese
– Ranch dip or salsa can make raw veggies more fun
– Carrot Sticks
– Red, Green or Yellow peppers
– Jicama (a sweet white root vegetable)
Veggies should always be used as affordable snacks for kids.
Cost: When veggies are purchased on sale, in season, the cost per serving can be as low as $.10.
We buy large jars of pickles (gallon sized) and pull them out for a crunchy snack. You can buy whole pickles or spears. We’ve found that spears are easier to serve. We let the kids use a pair of large tongs to fish the pickles out of the jar (we don’t want them using their fingers).
Our son Joe goes nuts over pickles and even loves to drink the pickle juice. Truly these are one of the favorite affordable snacks for kids.
Cost: We usually buy the gallon-sized pickle jars, so the cost for one pickle is about $.20.
5. Hard-boiled Eggs
We store hard-boiled eggs in specially marked egg cartons to avoid cracking the wrong eggs. Once they’re cooked, they can be easily stored for a week or two. Just crack the shell and add a little salt and pepper and you have great affordable snacks for kids. Or chop up the eggs, add diced onion and celery, and you have delicious egg salad for a sandwich.
When eggs are $1.20 per dozen, one hard-boiled egg will cost 10 cents – that’s an affordable snack. Many times you can find eggs on sale for $.77 a dozen, and that’s a real bargain!
Cost: We’ve purchased a dozen eggs for as little as $.19. But if you take an average price of $1.20. One hard-boiled egg costs $.10.
6. Nuts – Raw or Roasted
Nuts can be expensive, so look for them on sale (usually before the winter holidays) and store them in a freezer to keep them from going rancid. We’ve found deals on nuts at Walgreens after the holidays. One year they were selling 12-ounce spiced almonds in a variety of flavors for 99 cents! They were packaged in vacuum sealed glass jars and stored well for a couple of years. What a deal!
There’s a store near us called Sprouts that will often have nuts from the bulk bins like walnuts or almonds for $3.99 a pound. You can bet we stock up at that price! You could also consider planting a nut tree. We stock up on walnuts, pecans, almonds, and peanuts. Peanuts are the least expensive nuts available. Nuts are one of the best affordable snacks for kids.
Cost: If you pay $3.99 per pound for nuts, then a one-ounce serving costs $.25. But since it’s hard to eat just one ounce, count on a snack costing closer to $.50.
7. String Cheese
We stock up when they’re on sale. Because they are vacuum-sealed and processed, they store well for months. String cheese is a great source of protein and calcium for growing kids. Really slices of cheese for any variety could work here, especially if you find it on sale.
Cost: If you get a 12 pack for $3.99, then one serving costs $.33
8. Pumpkin & Sunflower Seeds
Pumpkin seeds made from free pumpkins collected at Halloween time are a wonderful, inexpensive snack. We roast them and then store in a glass jar in our pantry. Get our pumpkin seed recipe here.
Sunflower seeds We’ve grown our own and bought them from the store. Inexpensive and a great treat to get fiber and nutrition into our kids.
Cost: If you get a 16-ounce bag for $3.50. Then a one-ounce serving is about $.20.
9. Quick Breads & Muffins
We bake banana, pumpkin, zucchini, cranberry/orange and other quick breads. We bake muffins three-dozen at a time using several muffin tin trays to bake them. Line the muffin tins with paper cupcake liners to make them easy to get out and for the kids to eat.
We put half of the batch into a plastic container or zippered bag to freeze and the other half goes into the refrigerator to eat this week. See all of our bread recipes here.
Cost: A large loaf of quick bread costs about $1 if you make it at home. If you get 15 slices out of the large loaf, that comes out to $.07 per serving.
We made huge batches from scratch, but you can do it in the microwave to save time. A large bowl of scratch popcorn costs just pennies. We use an air popper — they can usually be found at thrift stores or garage sales. Margarine and salt make it great; add a little sugar or honey and you’ve got kettle corn. You can get directions on how we make delicious air-popped popcorn here.
Cost: A 3-pound bag of popping corn costs less than $2. We usually use about 1 ounce of uncooked kernels when we make a batch of air-popped corn. That makes the bowl of popcorn cost about $.04. Add a couple of cents more for salt and margarine or butter.
Total Cost per bowl with about 5 servings is $.06 or $.012 per serving.
11. Chips & Pretzels
Pretzels Some of the warehouse clubs sell huge bags. These snacks store well because they have no oil in them so they usually won’t go rancid. And they are a low-fat option if you need that!
Tortilla Chips and Salsa We purchase 5-pound bags at warehouse clubs and use coupons for the salsa. This isn’t the healthiest snack because they are fried, but once in a while, it’s okay.
Cost: A one pound bag of pretzel sticks costs about $1 on sale. So a one-ounce serving costs $.06.
12. Potatoes – Baked or Toasted
We know this one may seem unusual, but for a teen that burns a lot of calories, this could work.
Baked Throw a potato into the microwave and top with cheese, bacon bits, broccoli, peas or any number of other toppings and you’ve got a great, nutritious snack.
Photo Courtesy of Sargento
Sliced and Toasted Cut a potato into thin slices and toss into the toaster oven. Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese and some salt and pepper on top for a scrumptious snack.
Cost: A ten-pound bag of potatoes costs about $1.99 or 19 cents per pound. A good sized baked potato is 5 ounces. So the cost for a 5-ounce potato snack with cheese would be about $.20 (6 cents for the potato and 14 cents for the cheese).
As you can see, snacks don’t have to come prepackaged and be potato chips or Cheetos to be terrific, no matter what the kids say. Look for items that can be purchased in bulk, stored and packaged for individual sized servings in zippered bags. Involve your kids and teens in preparing