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7 healthy snack must-haves HELLO! moms are shopping for back to school

Plus expert advice on how to make sure your kids get the nutrition they need

healthy back to school must haves hello moms love
Karen Silas
Senior Lifestyle Editor
Updated: August 29, 2023
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Fall is approaching which means it's goodbye summer and hello back-to-school season! If you're a parent who is looking for fun and healthy back to school snacks for your kids to help kick off the school year, you’ll want to keep reading.

Figuring out the right food for your kids that they'll want to eat is the great parental unifier - even royals have to do it – and many of the editors at HELLO! Online are moms and dads, too – including myself! So I asked the parents on the team to tell me what their snack essentials are when it comes to their kids heading back to class, and discovered some great tips and must-have products to make life easier during one of the most hectic times of the year.

Let's just say that for all of us, the struggle is real!  "As a mom-of-two, I know how hungry children are when they come home from school so it's important to have those tasty but nutritious snacks ready," says HELLO! Online's Parenting Editor Sophie Hamilton.

"Both kids and parents want quick and easy snacks to fit in with busy schedules - a piece of fresh or some dried fruit is a good choice, hummus and chopped veggie sticks, or homemade flapjacks or banana bread as a treat. A staple in our house is a plate of crackers, cheese and cut up apple, and wraps are both filling and easy.”

As for mom-of-one Carla Challis, HELLO!'s Shopping Partnerships Editor, her four-year-old is visibly offended by anything healthy - so she sneaks in nutrition with dried fruit snacks. "When my daughter turned three, she changed from eating anything and everything to having a problem if there's a lone vegetable on her plate. Even fruit offends her, so I rely on dried fruit snacks to help sneak in a little nutrition where possible."

Why healthy snacks are important - and how to get kids to eat them

I asked How to Feed Your Family author Charlotte Stirling-Reed, who is also a Weaning Expert for celebrity-loved children's product brand Stokke, for her thoughts on healthy snacks for kids – and why it's so important for a child's well being.

"Often children need topping up on energy and nutrients between meals. This is especially likely to be true if they are using a lot of energy at school with play, learning and lots of concentrating," she advises. "When it comes to snacks, it’s ideal that they are nutrient dense options – meaning that they contain plenty of nutrients per bite to allow your little ones to top up on important nutrients. Kids have little tummies and high nutrient needs so we need to use snack opportunities to offer healthy, nutrient packed options."

But as a mom myself, I also wanted to know: How can a parent balance the nutrition their child needs with what kids will actually eat?

"It’s always a challenge," says the nutrition expert. "The best thing you can do is to offer balanced meals to your toddler and also role model eating a balance yourself. You can’t FORCE your child to eat anything you offer them – and trying to do so is likely to have the opposite effect."

Charlotte suggests balanced and kid-friendly snack options like energy balls, falafel bites, mini pita pizzas, or fruits like blueberries, cherries or peaches. "Try to remember that, 'You decide what goes on their plate and they decide how much of it they eat!'. Then, role-modeling, offering a balance at each meal and making mealtimes pressure-free and enjoyable are going to be the best ways to help your little one learn how to enjoy, and accept, a variety foods in the long run."

Healthy snack hack must-haves

Now that you're armed with the knowledge of what's best for kids when it comes to healthy back to school snacks, the next question is: what can make healthy snack prep easier? 

Well, HELLO! Editors (and moms) are coming to the rescue with our favorites, from quirky gadgets and containers you may not have even known existed to healthy ready-made snacks. 

  • A genius apple slicer

    oxo apple divider for kids snacks

    OXO Good Grips Apple Divider

    We say:

    "Filed under: things you never knew you needed but changed your life. As silly as it sounds, buying an apple slicer was a game changer for me. This genius tool cores and slices an apple into even wedges in just seconds, making them ready to be snacked on alone or my family favorite, dipped into a nut butter. Yum. It's basically the easiest healthy snack in the world."

    OXO's apple slicer will be the best $12 you've ever spent - it has stainless steel blades that easily cut through apples for perfect slices every time. And the clever design automatically cores the fruit, too.

  • Dried fruit snacks Dried Fruit Variety Pack - 24 servings

    We say:

     "Even the pickiest eaters love a sweet snack and dried fruit is a big hit (maybe the only healthy one!) with my little one," says Carla Challis, HELLO!'s Shopping Partnerships Editor.

    For a grab-and-go healthy snack they can take to school or you can keep handy in your bag, this variety pack from is a life-saver, with 1.5oz single-serve packs of vitamin-rich Diced Apricots, crunchy Banana Chips and naturally sweet Jumbo Flame Raisins. With 24 single serves in each pack, it works out to less than $1.25 per snack, and you can save 5% if you set up auto-delivery.

  • Snack containers

    kids snack must haves benelabel stackable containers

    Stackable Containers by BeneLabel

    We say:

    "Almost as important as the snacks are the containers you're going to put them in, believe me!” says HELLO! Online Senior Lifestyle Editor and mom of two Katherine Robinson. “Cute containers mean that your kids will be more inclined to eat the snacks (don't ask me why, it just works!) and you avoid getting a mess of crumbs and sticky bits in the bottom of bags. These stackable ones are great as they fit perfectly into backpacks and have so many different compartments for holding a multitude of different snack types."

    This 4-piece stackable set of leak-proof containers, each with its own lid, is BPA and phthalate free – plus its sterilizer, dishwasher and freezer safe for easy convenience and cleanup.

  • munchkin snack catcher on amazon

    Munchkin 2-Piece Snack Catcher

    We say:

    "The Munchkin ones are better for younger kids - they have a non-slip base, two easy to hold handles and really help stop mess!" says Katherine.

    These toddler-ready BPA-free containers, which each hold 9oz of snacks, feature easy-grip handles and a soft flap lid for easy food access.

  • A to-go smoothie blender

    ninja blender for easy kids smoothies

    Ninja Nutri Pro Compact Personal Blender

    We say:

    “Children love smoothies and milkshakes and they are super-easy to make in a blender at home,” says Sophie Hamilton. “I throw in oats to bulk up smoothies, and for milkshakes, a simple combo of banana, strawberries and milk keeps my two happy."

    This compact blender has two Auto-iQ preset programs for easy smoothie-making, and you can even blend directly into the 24oz cup which comes with a to-go spout lid. That way if you have a teenager, they can take it with them for their school commute.

  • A good water bottle

    contigo kids water bottles

    Contigo Water Bottle

    We say:

    "We've been through what feels like hundreds of water bottles over the years, and this Contigo one is the absolute winner,” says Katherine. “The size is perfect, it's easy to clean and has survived many brutal drops on hard surfaces. It's super cute too and is a firm favorite with the kids. It's still going strong after three years of loyal service and shows no signs of breaking."

    The Contigo water bottle for ages 3 and up features a secure spout design and pop up straw with a spill proof valve to prevent mess and an Easy-Clean Lid to make washing it easier. It’s top rack dishwasher safe.

  • Bento Boxes

    bento boxes for kids after school snacks

    Bentgo Kids Bento Box

    We say:

    "I love bento boxes to help keep snacks organized - you prep in advance and keep them ready in the fridge. These cute bento boxes for kids (ages 3-7) have five different compartments to make sure each snack comes in its perfect portion. And there are so many themes, from construction vehicles to mermaids, so every child can have one that reflects their style."

    These are for ages three to seven, but you can find Bento snack and lunch boxes for different ages groups, including adults, everywhere from Amazon to Target.

Healthy back to school snack ideas

Preparing exciting snacks doesn’t have to be difficult and you certainly can't go wrong with the basics. Get inspired by our round-up of simple snacks that are not only nutritious but yummy too – the perfect fuel for any school day.


Fruits and vegetables are essential snack  items, although it can sometimes be difficult to encourage fussy eaters to have their five a day. Try carrot sticks or cucumber slices served with a dip like hummus or cottage cheese for a balanced, filling snack, or make a colorful fruit salad with berries, apples and mandarin slices packed with vitamins and antioxidants.


A healthy snack can also be a source of protein. Some protein-packed snack ideas include a hard-boiled egg, which they could eat with cherry tomatoes, or a small piece of cheese. Snack cheeses like string cheese will provide them both with protein and calcium, a vital mineral to support their growth.

You could boost your child's calcium quota with a low-fat and low sugar yogurt or Greek yogurt served with berries.


You can't beat this classic combination. Adding peanut butter is a great way to make a plain piece of fruit feel fresh and exciting. Apples are a good source of fiber, while peanut butter is rich in protein and healthy fats – meaning your kids will stay fuller for longer and won't be begging you for dinner the second they come though the door!


The humble boiled egg is the perfect school snack; easy to prep in advance, they will also stay fresh if you store them in the fridge. Eggs are rich in Vitamin D and B12, as well as two lesser-known nutrients – Choline, which helps brain development, and Lutein, which protects the eyes.


If your little one loves potato chips, trade in store-bought packets for homemade plain popcorn or plain rice cakes, which you could add your own toppings to for variety.

Alternatively, you could try making your own sweet potato chips at home; simply thinly slice a sweet potato and roast in olive oil until crispy. This healthier, homemade 'chip' is free from salt and a rich source of vitamins A, C and potassium.


These delicious three-ingredient fruity pancakes make for the perfect lunchtime treat - and they're so simple to make! All you need is mashed banana, flour and blueberries for this healthy treat that will help curb your little one's sugar cravings without the need for unhealthy candy or chocolate. They're freezable too, which makes them ideal for busy parents on tight schedules.

Ready, set, snack!

All products are independently selected by our editors based on personal reviews, clear selection criteria and expert opinions. While the article is entirely editorial, the edit may contain clearly stated brand partners. If you purchase through our links we may earn a commission or other compensation. Prices accurate and items in stock at time of publication.

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