Looking for new healthy snack ideas for your picky eater as we head back to school? Or maybe you’re just hoping to find something more nutritious than cheese puffs for your child to nosh on every few hours. Wherever you’re at, this list has you covered.
I know that while health and nutrition might be at the top of your list when you’re considering new foods to bring into the home, for your picky eater, the sensory profile may be a bigger consideration. This list of healthy and sensory-friendly packaged snacks checks both boxes.
Because this list is not comprehensive, I wanted to share my recommendations on what you should look for when looking for healthy packaged snacks.
How to Find Healthy Packaged Snacks
- Look for minimal added sugar – Go as low as you can. Sugar is in just about everything, so it’s best to limit whenever possible.
- Read the ingredients – Check out the ingredients listed on the back or side of the packaging. Pay particular attention to the first 3. Those are the most concentrated, so make sure they’re ones that you feel good about! Beyond that, a good general rule of thumb is that a shorter list of ingredients is better.
I also like to avoid foreign and artificial ingredients including food dyes.
Look at protein, fiber, and fat content – These are nutrients that have staying power. In other words, they’ll keep your child feeling full. If you’re unable to find something that fits your needs (ie lacks a lot of protein), you can always pair with another food.
9 Awesome Sensory-Friendly Packaged Snacks for Picky Eaters
Convenient and tasty Dino Bars have a killer ingredient list. It’s short and free of artificial colors and flavors so you’re only getting real food and real ingredients. My favorite part, though, is that they come with an edible paper so there’s no stick or mess – a sensitive kid’s dream! These are a great snack or fruit-filled addition to a meal and are perfect for a picky eater who likes chewy and smooth foods. Use code JENNY10 for 10% off!
Bare Fruit Chips
I love Bare Fruit Chips. Like the name implies, these are a minimalist snack that usually contains just one simple ingredient: fruit! They’re crunchy and so satisfying. Apple is classic, but Bare now offers banana, pineapple, and coconut chips.
Trader Joes Freeze-Dried Fruits
Freeze-dried fruit is one of my secret weapons for picky eater’s with sensory food aversions. This variety pack from Trader Joes is a great way to sample a few different types. The texture is more reliable and consistent than fresh fruit – much drier and less juicy. They’re lighter and sweet and super easy to eat. These aren’t very filling so I recommend pairing with some protein like a cheese stick.
Pnuff Crunch is a light crunchy snack that has the texture of a cheese puff and a flavor similar to Bamba., but they’re made with healthy ingredients that any parent can get behind. They get a nice dose of protein and fiber from peanuts and ground navy beans. They’re a little sweet and pretty addicting!
Mini Lara Bars
Lara Bars are such a treat and I love this mini version for kids (and their calorie-concerned grownups!). They’re made with dates, so offer a nice chew and sweetness, plus other real food ingredients. There’s a flavor for everyone – chocolatey, fruity, nutty, etc. You can’t go wrong. Each offers a kid-friendly serving of protein and fiber to hold your kiddo over to the next meal.
Rind Snacks are a healthier alternative to dried fruit. There’s nothing wrong with dried fruit, but Rind Snacks are a little stronger on the nutrition front because they’re made with the fruit rind intact and contain no additives like sugar, sulfites, or preservatives. These are ideal for sensory-seekers who like chewy snacks.
Bitsys Crackers and Cookies
Bitsys is a great brand of crackers and cookies boosted with dehydrated veggies and nutritious ingredients like chia seeds. With more sugar and less protein and fiber, they’re more indulgent than the other snacks on this list. That being said, they’re still a more nutritious alternative to many conventional products.
Biena Chickpea Snacks
Biena Chickpea Snacks are a staple at our house. They’re super crunchy. I love the minimal ingredients on the salty option – just chickpeas, oil, and salt! But even the other flavors are minimal. They have spicy and sweet, so you can please everyone. Also check out their puffs for kids who prefer softer foods.
Jerky is a perfect high protein-snack for kids who love chew. Look for a brand with minimal added ingredients. If you’re going for beef, grass-fed is great. Otherwise, check out salmon, turkey, and even vegan jerky.
Looking for more sensory-friendly snacks and foods? Check out my guides of sensory-friendly proteins and snacks!
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