Teens need consistent nutrient-dense meals and snacks to fuel their growing bodies.
Adolescents undergo a period of rapid growth and development that requires optimal intake of both macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Plus, proper nutrition may help teens excel in academic and athletic pursuits.
Yet, many popular snacks are high in refined grains, added sugars, and other ingredients that should be limited in teenagers’ diets.
All the same, a variety of wholesome snacks can be purchased premade or easily made from scratch.
Here are the healthy snacks for teens.
1–5. Quick, homemade snacks
Many homemade snack recipes are time-consuming, but the following can be prepared in just minutes and provide numerous nutrients.
1. Apple and nut butter sandwiches
Nut butter and apple is a delicious and filling combo. Have your teen spread their favorite nut butter between sliced apple rounds for a fiber- and protein-rich snack.
You can roll the edges in hemp seeds, chia seeds, or chopped nuts for extra crunch.
2. Cashew, almond, cherry, and dark chocolate trail mix
Trail mix is an easy, super healthy snack. You or your teen can mix creamy cashews, crunchy almonds, and chewy dried cherries with dark chocolate chips for an irresistible combination.
Notably, these ingredients are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that teens need for optimal health.
3. Hummus jars
Hummus is a filling dip made from chickpeas. It’s packed with fiber, magnesium, folate, manganese, healthy fats, and protein.
Layer the bottom of a Mason jar with a few scoops of hummus, then fill the jar with sliced veggies like carrots, cucumber, celery, and zucchini for a nourishing snack.
4. Mozzarella and cherry tomato skewers
Although teens have an increased need for calcium to support their growing bodies, inadequate teen calcium intake is a common issue, especially among teenage girls.
Skewers of whole milk mozzarella balls and juicy tomatoes are not only loaded with calcium but also healthy fats, protein, and lycopene — a powerful antioxidant found in tomatoes that’s associated with numerous health benefits.
5. Bento snack boxes
Bento boxes are food containers with several compartments to keep snacks separated. They allow your teen to mix and match their favorite foods.
Fill a bento box with a variety of foods rich in fiber, healthy fats, and protein. For example, pair a hard-boiled egg with veggie sticks, fresh fruit, whole grain crackers, and guacamole.
6–10. Homemade snacks to make ahead of time
If you have a bit more time to spare, try out the following teen-friendly recipes.
6. Apple and almond butter overnight oats
Overnight oats are prepped ahead of time so your teen can eat them right away. You can make snack-sized portions by using small 4-ounce (118-mL) Mason jars.
This particular recipe is easy to prepare and combines nutritious ingredients like apples, almond butter, oats, and yogurt.
7. Chocolate no-bake energy bites
Chocolatey snacks are a teen favorite.
Unlike most chocolate treats, these chocolate no-bake energy bites are packed with healthy ingredients like oats, dates, cashews, and almond flour to keep your teen energized between meals.
8. Peanut butter and jelly chia pudding
Chia seeds are loaded with nutrients that teens need, including protein, healthy fats, magnesium, calcium, manganese, and phosphorus.
This peanut butter and jelly chia pudding recipe combines antioxidant-rich wild blueberries with creamy peanut butter and uses coconut milk so it’s safe for kids who need to avoid dairy.
9. Veggie, cheese, and egg muffins
Egg muffins are a smart choice for a make-ahead snack. Store these protein-packed muffins in the fridge or freezer so your teen can reheat them as needed.
10. Copycat RXBARs
RXBARs are made with minimal ingredients, and they’re many teens’ favorite granola bar. If you want to save money, try making your own at home.
11–15. High protein snacks
Protein-rich snacks can help your teen stay full between meals. Because this nutrient helps build muscle and maintain optimal health, it’s especially important for teenage athletes, who need more protein than non-active teens.
Some research indicates that teens’ protein needs are 20–60% greater than adults’ due to the increased protein demand of growth and development.
The following snacks provide a rich source of protein.
11. Deviled eggs
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, as well as healthy fats and a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Deviled eggs are a tasty way to boost your teen’s protein intake.
This healthy deviled egg recipe uses Greek yogurt.
12. Greek yogurt parfait with fruit, nuts, and chia seeds
You or your teen can make a tasty, protein-packed parfait by layering a Mason jar with full fat Greek yogurt, fresh berries, chopped nuts, and chia seeds. Greek yogurt packs 15 grams of protein per 6-ounce (170-gram) serving.
13. Tuna and cheddar lunch box bites
If your teen enjoys seafood, give these tuna and cheddar bites a try. Tuna is an excellent source of highly absorbable protein and provides omega-3 fats, which are important for teens’ brain development and function
14. Edamame, chickpea, and feta salad
This tasty salad is packed with plant-based protein and makes a perfect choice for vegetarian teens. Plus, the feta adds a boost of calcium and healthy fat.
15. Chicken salad with apple, cranberry, and walnuts
This filling chicken salad combines protein-packed chicken with apples, dried cranberries, and walnuts for a savory and sweet snack. It’s great served on apple rounds or with crackers or celery sticks.
16–20. Nut-free snacks
Food allergies are on the rise, and tree nuts and peanuts are some of the most common allergens. In fact, a recent study found that around 2.2% of children and adolescents in the United States are allergic to peanuts (15).
Here are some nut-free snacks perfect for teens with allergies.
16. Roasted chickpeas
Crunchy, salty, and packed with plant-based protein, roasted chickpeas are a nut-free snack that your teen is sure to love.
17. Five-ingredient nut-free trail mix
This nut-free trail mix contains a mix of nutrient-dense seeds, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips that’s perfect for teens with nut allergies.
Find the recipe here.
18. Easy banana oatmeal muffins
Most muffins are loaded with ingredients like added sugar and white flour, both of which should be limited in teenage diets. However, this recipe uses wholesome ingredients, such as bananas, rolled oats, and whole milk Greek yogurt.
Their natural sweetness comes from the bananas and a dash of maple syrup.
19. Cheese, apple, and grape skewers
Stick cubes of cheese, whole red or green grapes, and apple chunks on wooden skewers to create a nutrient-dense, teen-friendly snack that can be prepared in minutes.
20. Guacamole, veggies, and tortilla chips
Avocados are high in healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, folate, and potassium. They’re easy for you or your teen to make into creamy guacamole, which can be paired with veggies and tortilla chips (16Trusted Source).
21–28. Healthy premade snacks
Although homemade snacks are a great option for teens, you can also choose from plenty of nutritious packaged options.
21. Trail mix, nuts, and seeds
Many companies sell packaged trail mix, as well as salted or unsalted nuts and seeds.
Shop for these products from companies like Go Raw, Food to Live, 365 Everyday Value, and Sahale Snacks online.
22. Granola bars and protein bars
Encourage your teen to choose protein and granola bars made with whole foods.
The following bars are only sweetened with fruit and provide a good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats:
- Thunderbird Real Food Bars
These bars contain less than 6 grams of added sugar per bar:
- Purely Elizabeth Granola Bars
- Health Warrior Chia Bars
- Autumn’s Gold Granola Bars
23. Cheese sticks
Teens need healthy fat sources in their diets.
Whole milk cheese not only provides calcium, protein, and healthy fats but also important minerals, including zinc and selenium, that support immune health (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Tillamook and Organic Valley are two companies that make high quality cheese sticks perfect for snacking.
24. Healthy chips
Chips may be scrumptious, but most don’t provide a good source of nutrients for teens.
Yet, some flavorful chips are packed with colorful veggies and boast more fiber than traditional chips.
Shop for Brad’s Veggie Chips or Made In Nature Veggie Pops online.
25. Turkey sticks
Turkey sticks are a jerky alternative made with ground turkey that provide a convenient, portable protein source.
Shop for Chomps or Paleovalley turkey sticks online.
26. Dried fruit
Teens can enjoy dried fruit as a sweet snack, and pair it with a handful of nuts or seeds if they want something more filling.
Fittingly, several companies sell unsweetened dried fruit products.
Shop for Steve’s PaleoGoods, Fruit Bliss, or Good & Gather dried fruit online.
27. Premade energy bites
Some companies make nutrient-dense, premade energy bites that are packed with healthy ingredients like dried fruit, coconut, nuts, and oats.
Shop for Nomz, Navitas, or Kate’s Real Food energy bites online.
28. Nut butter packets
Nut butter packets are an excellent snack for teens to have on hand. They can be spread on fruit, veggies, or dark chocolate — or simply enjoyed on their own.
Shop for Artisana, Justin’s, and RX nut butter packets online.
29–35. Mini meals
The following options are higher in calories and make the perfect choice for hearty, substantial snacks or small meals.
29. Chicken and avocado salad
This recipe combines rotisserie chicken and avocado for a super satisfying combo that can be served alone or on crackers or sprouted grain bread.
30. Nut butter and banana open-face sandwich
Spread almond, peanut, or cashew butter on a slice of nutritious bread like Ezekiel bread, then top it with a sliced banana and drizzle of honey.
31. Veggie frittata
You or your teen can make this protein-packed veggie frittata that’s easy to slice and enjoy as a snack or meal.
The recipe is customizable, so you can use your teen’s favorite ingredients.
32. Stuffed sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are loaded with protein, provitamin A, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium (20Trusted Source).
Stuff a small roasted sweet potato with ingredients like baked veggies, chicken, beans, or avocado to create an irresistible mini meal.
33. Whole grain quesadilla
Your teen can easily fill a whole grain tortilla with roasted veggies and cheese for a savory quesadilla packed with important nutrients.
34. Quinoa salad jar
This recipe combines cooked quinoa with sundried tomatoes, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese.
Top it with a protein source like grilled shrimp, chicken, salmon, tofu, or beans for a more filling mini meal.
35. Charcuterie box
Use a bento box to create a filling snack with your choice of fresh fruit, veggies, cheese, crackers, hummus, nuts, and meats.
36–40. Nutrient-dense smoothies
Many store-bought and premade smoothies are loaded with added sugar. Yet, the following smoothies call for nutrient-dense ingredients and can be whipped up in minutes.
36. Peanut butter and jelly date smoothie
This smoothie recipe boasts a classic peanut butter and jelly taste without the added sugar. It’s naturally sweetened with dates and has a pop of protein from natural peanut butter.
37. Chocolate cherry smoothie
Don’t let the chocolatey taste of this smoothie fool you. It’s loaded with healthy ingredients like cottage cheese and sweetened with fruit — not sugar.
38. Green smoothie
If your teen avoids veggies, this smoothie might sneak a few in their diet. It has a fruity taste from orange, banana, and strawberries but contains a healthy dose of spinach.
39. Avocado berry smoothie
This smoothie combines creamy avocado and sweet berries in a super nutritious beverage. You can easily add Greek yogurt or nut butter to up the protein content.
40. Peanut butter oatmeal apple smoothie
Apples and cinnamon make for a flavorful combo in this filling smoothie. Add a scoop of protein powder to make it more substantial.
The bottom line
Teenagers need proper nutrition to fuel their growing bodies. Snacks for teens should focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods that provide the macro- and micronutrients your teen needs for optimal health.
If you’re running low on nutritious snack ideas, have your teen try out one of the recipes — or buy one of the packaged options — listed above.