Sustainable Snack Ideas for Kids

White Male Child Around 4 holding a handful of strawberries

Do your kids snack a lot?

Like…

All.

Day.

Long?

That’s my kids. They eat constantly! And I try to be a good mom and make sure that those snacks aren’t too terribly unhealthy. But I had an awakening recently, as I was scooping up the discarded, individually-wrapped-for-convenience combos bags up off the floor after my toddlers’ snack time.  (What? Your kids don’t just throw the wrappers on the floor? Please tell me our secret!) We were NOT making very sustainable choices when it comes to snacks. In fact, it wasn’t been something I had thought about much. Oops.  So, I went on a hunt to round up some sustainable snack ideas for kids that would meet our needs.  My toddler-age girls really only have one criterion; it has to be tasty.  I want a snack that is convenient, affordable, relatively mess-free, and resembling nutritious (or at least not totally unhealthy). If these criterion are resonating for you, read on, my friend! We’ve got a basic list of general sustainable snacking ideas, our favorite (no affiliate!) sustainable snack products, and a list of low-waste snack recipes.

General Sustainable Snack Ideas for Kids 

01

Fruits &  Veggies

Fruits and veggies are always a nutritious option. When you buy local, in-season fruits and vegetables, you are lowering the carbon footprint by cutting out shipping packaging and emissions related to transportation.  You also support your local economy, too! If you buy fruits and veggies with your reusable produce bags, you have nothing more than a little compostable waste left after your nutritious snack! 

Our littles love apples, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and clementine oranges.  We try not to buy out-of-season items, especially berries in winter.

I find vegetables are often a little less convenient as many of them need to be cut or otherwise prepped.  But my girls both enjoy carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and sugar snap peas.

02

Bulk

Buy in bulk to reduce packaging. Buying from a zero-waste store is the best way to do this because you can make your purchases in containers you bring from home to avoid waste packaging.  To see if you have a zero waste store near you in the US, feel free to check out the list from Litterless. If this isn’t a reasonable option for where you live, you can still opt for buying larger packages to reduce the packaging.  You can divide larger items into smaller containers at home. 

03

Packing & Serving in Reusable Products

In conjunction with buying in bulk, utilize reusable products for packing and serving your kids snacks. For young children, glass jars aren’t a safe option. So I opt for reusable plastic snack containers to replace the single-serving packages of combos that were plaguing our house. For packing snacks, I have plastic snack containers with lids and reusable sandwich bags.  I honestly prefer a dishwasher safe snack cup because I find them easiest to clean and have on hand– and convenience is still a major factor in choosing a snack in our house.

04

Choose Vegan & Plant-Based 

You don’t have to BE vegan to include more vegan and plant-based snacks.  By reducing your meat-based snacks (Bye, Bye Slim Jims) and your animal-product snacks (Sorry, Cheese sticks!), you will be reducing your carbon impact on the environment, as animal products produce more greenhouse gasses in their life cycle than produce, nuts, grains, legumes, etc.  Interested in a more plant-based diet? For an easy transition, check out our Month of Meatless Monday Dinners post. 

Sustainable Snack Products That We Love

For parents and caregivers, it can be a big ask to make every single snack (In my house that’s like 5 or more in one day!) homemade or waste-free.  So, while I really have been making an effort to move away from all the individually pre-packaged snack options, I know that I still need to have convenience items on-hand.  Luckily, my kids already love some snacks from eco-friendly brands.  And better yet, these products have been regularly available at our local grocery stores.

6 pack of individual Stonyfield Organic YoBaby Yogurt

Stonyfield YoBaby Yogurt (And other Stonyfield Products)

My girls have been eating this yogurt since they were 6 months old and they still love it and ask for “baby yogurt.”  They seem to really like the mild taste and I like that it’s lower in sugar.  They are also at that age where they are obsessed with babies (even though I still think they’re babies!) so the image of the baby on the packaging is a win with them.

While my girls like YoBaby yogurt best, Stonyfield makes other delicious products so you can find an option that works best for your littles.  As a company, Stonyfield has placed sustainability at the heart of their mission since their beginning.  They use organic products, offset their greenhouse emissions, utilize waste water, send excess yogurt whey to farmers for feed, and package their yogurt multi-packs in plant-based plastic– just to name a few ways that this company walks the talk! 

Box of Stretch Island Fruit Leather

Stretch Island Fruit Leather

I stumbled upon this gem by accident one day and we all love it. Yes, I sneak them for myself sometimes because they’re so delicious.  They’re made from real, organic fruit and are an excellent vegan option.  Vegan and plant-based options contribute less greenhouse gas emissions and organic produce keeps toxic pesticides out of the ground and our food! 

 

Box of Annie's Bunny Grahams in a Tie Dye Box with a pile of variety bunny grahams beside it.

annie’s Bunny Graham’s (And Other Annie’s Products)

I love that Annie’s has put an organic and aesthetic twist on some of our favorite products. The girls love the Bunny Grahams best, but they enjoy the Cheddar Bunnies, too! 

In addition to offering organic products, Annie’s utilizes regenerative agriculture, has developed a cereal liner from 35% post consumer recycled plastic, educates and partners with others, and strives toward reducing their waste with a goal of diverting 90% of waste from the landfills.

 

Package of Harvest Snaps Lightly Salted Pea Snack Crisps

Harvest Snaps: Green Pea Snack Crisps

This salty snack offers a crowd-pleasing crunch to my little snackers. And I love that they’re made with peas!

These crunchy munchies are also non-GMO and organic, which is good for the kids and the environment. They also have a terracycling program so you can save up the packages and print a free label to send them off to be recycled.  I love a company that pays attention to their packaging! 

 

 

A single Clif Kids ZBar Chocolate Brownie Flavor

Clif Kid Zbar

I think this snack tastes a little “healthy,” but my two-year-old liked her first bar so much she refused to share a bite and my three-year-old hesitated before generosity won out.  This snack provides a sweet organic treat for my littles without the guilt! 

Clif has a long, impressive history of sustainable efforts including sustainably sourcing their chocolate, offsetting their carbon footprint, educating and inspiring their employees, using and supporting alternative energy, and much more! 

The important thing to remember is that sustainable snack ideas for kids in your home may look a little different than mine. Would it be great if we could all cut out the individual packaged snacks and only offer zero-waste, healthy options? Sure! But is that real life? Not in my house.  It’s more important to find options that are “better” than “perfect” because it’s much more likely that you’ll be able to adopt the change for the long haul! 

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