Lacrosse practice in thirty minutes? In the pickup line and remembering you forgot to start the slow cooker this morning? Finishing up errands, and your toddler is screeching for fries? Whether you’re shuttling one kiddo to afterschool activities or a carload of teens to a choir concert and they’re famished (aren’t they always?), eating on the run can be just another long day in the hectic schedule of your minivan.

Healthy, kid-friendly snacks keep energy levels up and prevent busy days from becoming meltdown central. Good-for-you treats boost metabolism, help burn calories and keep kids from becoming cranky––no one wants that, right? Whether you have a toddler or teen, here are a few ways to encourage positive eating habits even in the busiest of households.


Mixed nuts

For older kids, nuts are a protein-packed snack and a great grab-and-go choice. Varieties without flavoring or added salt are the healthiest, yet your kids may be more inclined to eat them if accompanied by dried fruit or chocolate chips.



If you have access to a small cooler, single-serve yogurts pack a massive portion of protein in a small package. If you can stick with Greek, unsweetened versions, that’s 15 grams of protein goodness, not a lot of sugar and a snack with low-fat content.


Cheesy popcorn

That’s definitely not a typo. Popcorn is an excellent source of fiber and, when not dripping in movie-theater butter, is low in calories. A little parmesan sprinkled on top is oh-so-good. If you can air pop a batch ahead of time, even better!


String cheese

Fun to peel and perfectly portable, string cheese has 8 grams of protein in each serving. Although processed, it’s a favorite with nutritionists, moms and also kids who love fun-to-peel, portable snacks.


Whole-grain protein bars

Not all protein bars are created equally. You may see “protein” on the label, but that doesn’t mean it is the healthiest bar to reach for. Choose ingredients that are low in sugar and include more protein than carbs.


Low-fat chocolate milk

Chocolate milk is gaining a big reputation as a recovery drink of choice in the fitness world. It’s delicious, high in protein and––for goodness sake––it’s chocolate milk, people! Low-fat versions reduce caloric intake without sacrificing the protein needed to help build muscle.



Stock your car with bottled water and snacks that can withstand a little time in the car. Drinking water can help stave off hunger, quench thirst and may just hold everyone over until they get home. Be mindful of temperature fluctuations, not letting bottles become too hot or icy.

When it must be fast food

Fast food is better than no food. If you need to grab something quickly, choose deli-style restaurant chains. Order a sub on whole-wheat bread. Stay away from mayo-laden tuna salad and opt instead for more veggies. Stop by the supermarket and pick up a small tray of fresh fruit or veggies and hummus. Although tacos and double burgers are delicious, healthier choices abound when you’re feeding your crew on the run.

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