Snacks that are under 100 calories

New guidelines advise limiting children’s snacks to two a day, each under 100 calories. Here are some ideas for easy, homemade snacks the kids will love too.

Three lunchboxes with snacks in

Figures from Public Health England show that the average primary school child could be consuming a whopping three times more added sugar than recommended daily limits, with the average child eating at least three sugar-laden items a day. In response, the NHS’s Change4Life campaign wants parents to limit snacks to a maximum of two a day that contain no more than 100 calories each (not including fruit and vegetables).

Plain rice crackers, carrot sticks, cubes of cheese or a piece of fruit are good choices for little ones if they need a quick bite on the move. For lunchboxes and after-school snacks, try these 10 snack ideas that are lower in sugar and under 100 calories. 

1. Fruity sundae

Fruit sundae with bluberries

This pot of yogurt swirled with mashed strawberries and topped with mixed berries is portable and packs a punch for both presentation and nutrition. Pack in Tupperware or a recycled screw-top jar and you’ll be cutting down on plastic yogurt pot waste, too. (77 calories, 8g sugars)

Fruity sundae

2. Sweet potato crisps

Sweet potato crisps with tomatoes and lettuce in a lunchbox

With just two ingredients – a sweet potato and olive oil – these baked crisps couldn’t be simpler. Why spend money on processed packets of crisps when you can make your own in half an hour? (70 calories, 6g sugars)

Sweet potato crisps

3. Rainbow fruit skewers

Multicolour fruit skewers in a rainbow formation on blue chopping board

Full of colour and nothing but fresh fruit, these vitamin-packed skewers lend lunchboxes a bit of rainbow cheer. Kids like helping assemble them, too, and you can vary the colours and fruit varieties you use. (59 calories, 12g sugars)

Rainbow fruit skewers

4. Almond butter

Almond butter in a pot with a knife

Nut butter spread on a rice cake, or on a slice of apple, provides a brilliant energy-boosting snack. Our homemade alternative to peanut butter (using almonds) is a cinch to make, too. (93 calories per tbsp excluding rice cake and apple, 1g sugars)

Almond butter

5. Smoked salmon & avocado sushi

Smoked salmon and avocado sushi in a line

Kids can help assemble these little bite-sized rolls, perfect for lunchboxes or a quick transportable snack. There’s no sugar in them and the combination of salmon and avocado provides a range of valuable nutrients. (49 calories per roll, 0g sugars)

Smoked salmon & avocado sushi

6. Instant frozen berry yogurt

Frozen berry yogurt in a bowl topped with fruit

Three ingredients and two minutes is all you need to whip up this fruit-filled alternative to ice cream. Keep packs of berries in your freezer and you can have it in your kids’ hands in the time it would take to walk to the ice cream van for a 99p cone. (70 calories, 10g sugars)

Instant frozen berry yogurt

7. Cheese wheatmeal biscuits

Cheese biscuits cut into different shapes

Our quick-cook biscuits combine wholemeal flour with oatmeal and grated cheddar for a savoury bite that’s perfect for lunchboxes. Cut into your kids’ favourite shapes or just roll into balls and flatten for a really simple way to bake. (90 calories per serving, 0.2g sugars)

Cheese wheatmeal biscuits

8. Almond, raisin & popcorn trail mix

Popcorn, raisin and nut trail mix in a bowl

Give plain popcorn more nutritional oomph with this version that adds dried fruit and nuts to the mix and comes in at just a whisper under 100 calories. Easy to store and even easier to make. (99 calories, 6g sugars)

Almond, raisin & popcorn trail mix

9. Choco-dipped tangerines

Tangerines half dipped in chocolate in a lunchbox

We all crave the taste of chocolate sometimes and presenting it as a tempting shell for something fruity is a great way to satisfy the tastebuds. Perfect for kids and adults. (99 calories, 12g sugars)

Choco-dipped tangerines

10. Seeded oatcakes

Seeded oatcakes in a plastic bag

Fifteen minutes to prep, 15 minutes to bake and bursting with oatmeal and seeds – try these moreish, easy-to-make bites and you and the kids might never go back to boring old shop-bought versions. (63 calories per serving, 0.1g sugars)

Seeded oatcakes

More ideas...

Vietnamese prawn spiralized rolls 

Prawn spring rolls on a green chopping board with side dip

Children will love making their own rolls and this makes for a fun after-school activity as well as a light snack. Packed with spiralized courgette and carrot, these rolls are also a fun way of introducing raw vegetables. (41kcal per serving, 2g sugars)

Vietnamese prawn spiralized rolls 

Fresh orange ice lollies

Bowl of orange ice lollies

This recipe uses the whole orange rather than just the juice, with the addition of fresh pear too. They make a great cooling treat for the summer months. (72 calories per ice lolly, 15g sugars)  


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What are your kids' favourite low-calorie snacks? Leave a comment below...

Comments, questions and tips

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6th Jan, 2018
For an after school snack when the Girls were little (elementary and middle school age), I would cut up fresh broccoli florets, add baby carrots and cut up celery sticks, and serve the veggies with low-fat ranch dressing or plain yogurt mixed with Knorr soup mix (strain out the freeze dried pieces) for dipping, along with seedless grapes. The other kids on the street would often join the Girls for "Homework Snack," which I would serve outside in the fresh air whenever possible. The veggies & dip and grapes were a crowd pleaser, and disappeared fast!
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Louis Lévesque's picture
Louis Lévesque
6th Jan, 2018
Those recipes are kind of a total joke, just cut celery and carrots, and pulse some homemade hummus. Better and easier than any of those.