Kids can be picky eaters. Add in a food allergy or condition (such as gluten intolerance or Celiac disease), and finding great-tasting, kid-friendly snacks can seem impossible. But don’t fret! There are plenty of delicious, nutritious and safe options for your youngsters. Whether you’re packing lunch for school or just need ideas for anytime, grab-and-go snacks, here are seven hunger-busting, healthy, gluten-free options your kids will love.
Gluten-Free Snack Ideas for Children
A classic snack, did you know that popcorn is naturally gluten-free? Of course, there’s traditional buttery, salty popcorn, but kids also enjoy varieties like kettle corn, white cheddar or even salted caramel. You also can easily make your own popcorn, allowing you complete control over the amount of salt and other ingredients.
Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, nuts are also gluten-free. Depending on your child’s preferences (and any nut allergies), great kid-friendly nuts for snacking include almonds, cashews and peanuts. Serve them plain, or try the seasoned or glazed varieties (these honey almonds are amazing!). For a fun twist, combine several types of nuts in a resuable bag and add a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips.
3. Dried fruit
A no-brainer snack for kids is dried fruit. Consider classics like banana chips and raisins, but also branch out and try some freeze-dried fruit (which has a fun weightless texture and puffy appearance), fruit peels or even fruit bites.
(Tip: Try combining nuts, seeds, and some dried fruit to make a quick trail mix.)
Pretzels still taste good without gluten! A common childhood favorite, pretzels are now readily available in gluten-free form (try a traditional twist or pretzel stick). You’ll also find pretzels dipped in yogurt or chocolate, seasoned (think honey mustard) or even supersized. Quick tip: Serve plain pretzels with nut butter or hummus for fun dipping and added nutrition.
Crackers are perfect for dipping, scooping or just plain eating. And gluten-free crackers come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s sure to be a type your kid will love. A quick search for “gluten-free crackers” on Vitacost.com yields hundreds of results! A couple of the most popular varieties are sea salt and multigrain, but don't hesitate to try lentil crackers or those made from a combination of seeds.
Although not technically a cracker, another fun gluten-free snack is cheddar bites. For years, gluten-free kids had to go without this childhood favorite – but not anymore, thanks to these cheddar puffs!
Bars should be stocked in every parent’s gluten-free pantry. They’re some of the best portable (usually mess-free) snacks for kids. It can be tricky to determine whether a protein or snack bar is actually healthy, but with a trained eye, you can find some pretty great bars for kids. Whether your child loves soft and chewy bars, crunchy ones flavored like peanut butter or you’re doubling the snack as a dessert, the options are almost endless.
7. Sweet treats
Lastly, here’s a snack that makes Friday lunches extra special: cookies. Again, options abound in the gluten-free snack world. You’ll find vanilla honey graham cookies, mini chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon thins and even soft cookies. But good luck resisting sneaking one or two for yourself!