Looking for some low mess snacks for kids? This post has been highly requested and I’ve finally gotten around putting it together!
Before we dive in, let’s address a few things:
A lot of you asked for low mess car snacks. I think it’s important to note that eating in the car can be a choking hazard. I try to limit my kids eating in the car to times when a time crunch makes it pretty much necessary. For us, that’s one day a week when I have to go straight from my oldest’s swimming lesson to pick my daughter up from preschool and then turn around at get home and get my oldest on the bus for school, all in a span of about 20 minutes. In most cases, if they need to eat in the car, I pack their lunch boxes and then they sit in their seats and eat either before we leave the parking lot or after we arrive. I recognize that sometimes eating in the car is unavoidable, but I encourage you to make it the exception, not the rule. Also, I don’t let my kids eat in the car until they are big enough to have their seats facing forward so that I can see them.
Also, the term low mess is pretty relative. Some kids (mine) are extremely messy eaters. They can turn pretty much anything into a giant mess and it’s the main reason why the floors at our house are never ever clean. Some kids eat very neatly. Also, age can impact the messiness factor. In most cases, a 5-year-old is more capable of limiting their mess than a 2-year-old. So, this list is snacks that I find to be lower mess, but messes can still be made. It might come down to a little trial and error with your own kids.
I put this list of low mess snacks for kids together with a few situations in mind. Times when you need snacks but do not need 100 cheerios all over the floor or half a box of goldfish crushed into the carpet. I try to bring our snacks in a Bentgo lunchbox or stasher bags (aff links) So these snacks are good for:
- In the car – which we’ve already covered…
- At an appointment or in a store – because sometimes kids NEED a snack in order to survive a quick errand or accompanying mom to a doctor’s appointment, right?
- While waiting – if you’ve got more than one kid, chances are they’re going to be waiting on their siblings fairly often, whether it’s to pick up from school, at a sports practice, etc and snacks can be helpful and/or necessary depending on the time of day
- At a brewery or restaurant while the adults enjoy a beverage 🙂
- Pretty much any time, really…because when do kids not want snacks? Am i right?
When I make snacks for my kids, I like them to include protein and/or healthy fats, not just carbs. I want them to have some staying power, not just cause a blood sugar spike and crash. We talk about this A LOT at home. They know a bunch of foods that are sources of protein and if they ask me for an apple, i usually say that’s not a complete snack and they know they need to add some peanut butter or a cheese stick or something to pair with the apple!
Here are some ideas for low mess snack pairings:
- Waffle pbj sandwich
- Beef stick+ clementine
- Cheese stick + fruit leather/dried fruit
- Hard-boiled egg whites + energy ball/bar
- Turkey, cheese & avocado rolled in a tortilla
- Egg wrap + banana
- Slice of pizza or quesadilla
- 8oz kefir or yogurt tube + apple slices
- Smoothie made with yogurt, fruit and veggies
- Rice cakes w/ peanut butter + snack bar
And here’s a big list of ideas so you can make your own pairings. Note that some of these can be choking hazards for younger kids so do your research! And again, some kids can make a mess with any snack so it may take some trial and error!
Low Mess Snacks for Kids
- Freeze-dried fruit
- Dried fruit (raisins, mango, apples, peaches, pears etc)
- Fruit- apples, clementines, bananas
- That’s it fruit bars or fruit leathers
- Pouches – Not my favorite, but can be helpful occasionally. Try to find one with some veggies in it. Mama chia is another good option.
- Veggie sticks (carrots, celery, peppers, cucumbers)
- Yogurt pouches or tubes – Siggi’s is a favorite and just came out with pouches, Stonyfield tubes are another option. I freeze mine to reduce the mess or only cut a small part of the top off instead of all the way across
- 8oz drinkable kefir or yogurt – leave the foil seal on and poke a straw through
- String cheese or cheese slices
- Smoothie made with yogurt – get a cup that doesn’t leak and that has a straw that can’t be pulled out
- Beef jerky, meat sticks – Chomps is my go to. They have a mini size and a full size.
- Hard-boiled egg whites (the yolks tend to be crumbly and messy)
- Egg wraps (plain or filled with cheese, turkey, avocado etc)
- Dry cereal – Barbara’s puffins are a fave of mine because they’re bigger than something like Cheerios and easier for my kids to grab one at a time instead of a whole handful that spills everywhere
- Annie’s Bunny Grahams
- Rice cakes/pop chips
- Crackers – wheat thins, Triscuits, Bitsy’s, mini pb sandwich crackers
- Homemade energy balls or bars
- Pancakes/French toast sticks
- Leftover pizza slices
- Quesadilla wedges
- Tortilla cream cheese rollups
- Peanut butter sandwiches (on waffle or bread, can pre-cut into bite-sized pieces)
- Tortilla with peanut butter wrapped around a banana
- Think beyond traditional snack food – things like chicken nuggets, tortellini, meatballs, etc can be relatively low mess
- Clif z bars
- Nature’s Bakery Fig bars
- Simple Mills Bars
- HappyTot Bars
- Quaker Organic Strawberry Bars
- Dragon Bars
These are just a few bar ideas. I have a giant list of Healthy Store-Bought Granola Bars for Kids. Some are more crumbly/sticky/messy than others but bars are definitely one of our go-to low mess snacks.
What are you favorite low-mess snacks?