Just as I was resigning myself to a lifetime of snack servitude for my son during at-home learning, I saw Kate post a gorgeous snack tray idea for kids on the @CoolMomEats Instagram feed that she spotted from Prashana Vidanapathirana.
Is it possible? Would a little bit of planning and intentionality save me from bringing my son milk! crackers! and strawberries! from now until I utter my final can you ask more nicely and dissolve into a pile of Goldfish crumbs?
So if you’re like me, and you’d like your kids to have their very own snack access through their at-home school days, take a look at these brilliant snack tray ideas for kids, with hacks, tips, and ideas from some of our favorite food Instagrammers. We’ve added some of our own tips too to make things even easier for us non-professional feeders of children.
These ideas do require a little more prep work than leaving out a box of granola bars on the kitchen counter, but they also set your kids up for independent — and hopefully healthier — snacking all day long. Fingers crossed!
Find even more ideas you can incorporate into snack trays thanks to this brilliant post featuring dozens of mid-morning lunch box snack ideas from our own readers.
Just one note: Most pro food bloggers who post for Instagram go all out. You know what I mean. You don’t need to prepare a pro-quality overflowing charcuterie board each morning for your kids. Just stick with what you know your kids will eat, and how much food they really require, and don’t worry about how it photographs.
Top image: Snack tray from Didn’t I Just Feed You
6 Snack Tray Ideas for Kids Learning at Home
1. Simple snack tray for kids with store-bought shortcuts from @DidntIJustFeedYou
Former Cool Mom Eats editor Stacie Billis is a realist when it comes to feeding kids, as you may well know. You can also see it in her simple snack spread that blends some store-bought treats. I love that it’s balanced — protein plus fruits and veggies and carbs — and the portions are realistic for her two boys. Just seeing this tray made me think of odds and ends in my fridge I could use for snacks that wouldn’t have occurred to me otherwise.
Tip: Get your kids to help you out the night before, boiling eggs or slicing up carrot and cucumber sticks. They can take responsibility for snack-time too.
2. Individual snack trays for kids @WellnessHomemade
I think it’s really clever that wellness coach Tasha Rosales put together a simple, realistic kid version of a charcuterie board — in individual containers so that if you have multiple kids, no one can complain that someone else ate all the cashews out of their mixed nuts. If your kids are okay with food “touching” this is so smart, and I think it’s a great blend of foods. Especially those that won’t get quite so icky as the day goes on. (You know what I mean.)
Related: 10 high protein snacks for kids you can pick up at the grocery store to avoid the hangrys.
3. Airplane food snack tray for kids from @Kids.Eat.In.Color
Don’t worry, it’s not “airplane food” in the way we olds used to think of it! Instead, Jennifer from Kids Eat In Color (one of our faaaavorite food accounts) dreamed up this snack tray idea to keep her boys occupied and fed on a plane trip (thus, the craft supplies down the middle), but I think it’s a brilliant way to feed kids during a day of virtual learning too. The portions are right-sized for younger kids without ruining their appetite for meals, with plenty of variety. And the addition of immune-boosting foods? How perfect they are for this particular moment.
Tip: Mini muffin tins also work well for this idea and make clean-up easier than setting out lots of individual bowls.
4. Mini-sandwich bento tray for kids from @FBDblog
South African mom Fatima inspires with her take on a bento box of snacks — a serving tray with individual compartments of veggies, grapefruit slices (or you could use oranges), plus bite-sized slices of whole-grain bread smothered in natural peanut butter and honey. It’s always hard to get my kids to choose protein-based snacks, so I like the idea of tiny finger sandwiches in a snack tray.
Tip: Mini sandwiches are so underrated for snacks! You could also sandwich nut butters or Sunbutter (try this DIY Sunbutter recipe if you want to make your own) between crackers if your kids prefer. Such a great idea for a grazer.
Related: Mid-morning lunch box snack help: Dozens of ideas from our own readers.
5. Veggie snack tray for kids from @TamingTwins
The kids in my life aren’t likely to harvest veggies from our fridge and graze on them all day on their own. But cutting them up and arranging them on a tray with a delicious dip or two? That might just give those crudités a fighting chance. So I’m totally on board with this veggie snack tray for kids from Sarah at Taming Twins. If you’ve got children who will only reach for veggies when there aren’t sweeter options around, consider skipping standard snack tray additions like apple slices or grapes, and see if this works for you. And take a look at this post on 9 healthy dips for kids if you need some inspiration beyond hummus.
Tip: Don’t worry about the arrangement. At all. If it’s easier to place a few different veggies in separate bowls, then include some hummus, sliced pita or breadsticks, and chips on the side, go for it.
6. Deconstructed s’mores snack tray for kids (and for us!)
You’ve probably figured this out by now, but remote learning is hard. So I’m all about spoiling my kids every once in a while with a fun afternoon snack spread like this S’mores tray from Ashley Merry. It may seem indulgent but look closely and there’s a lot of graham crackers, apples, kiwi slices, strawberries, peanut butter, pecans… it’s not all about chocolate and marshmallows. Find the balance.
Tip: Try this snack tray idea on a Friday afternoon when everyone could use a little extra boost — and make sure you claim some chocolate for yourself before it disappears!
Definitely! Snack trays are the best. Learning the muffin-tin trick saved me when my child was 2-3 years old and asked for snacks constantly. The snack tray kept him going for ages and was fun for him, which meant saved time for me. <3
Where did you get the airplane snack tray?
So perfect for traveling with my 1 year old but I can’t find one anywhere.
Thanks in advance!
Hi Liz! It’s just a pill box that you can get on Amazon or any drug store!