Snacks to Fuel Winter Fun

Snacks to Fuel Winter Fun

By Amy Nelson Makechnie

As winter drags on in the Upper Valley, children continue to be active, playing indoor and outdoor sports. Activities may vary, but there is always a constant need for food.

Packing your own snacks versus eating out is advantageous if you’re packing healthy alternatives your child will eat. Usually, food from your own kitchen means greater variety, comfort, money savings, and far better nutrition than the vending machine.

With the goal of a snack that contains complex carbohydrates (your body’s first energy source), protein, and “good” fats, here are some ideas for kid-friendly, portable snacks during the winter months:


For kids who love to dip:
• Hummus and vegetables (carrots, celery, pea pods, zucchini sticks)
• Peanut butter and fruit (apples or bananas)

For kids who like to squeeze:
• Almond butter or nut butter squeeze packets
• Greek squeezable yogurt (low sugar)

For kids who like variety:
• Granola with nuts, seeds or coconut
• Pretzels and dark chocolate-covered almonds
• Cheese and whole grain crackers
• Trail mix with nuts, seeds, cereal and/or dark chocolate
• Homemade popcorn with (or without) peanuts
• Spiced nuts
• Homemade or store-bought 100 percent fruit leather

For kids who like hearty:
• Tuna or salmon packets
• Bagel sandwiches (they don’t crush or get soggy like bread)
• Boiled eggs
• Plain Greek yogurt (add fruit and granola for flavor)


Many parents make larger dinners at night so their children can pack the leftovers the next day. When packed in a microwaveable container, in a thermos, or eaten cold, these portable “small meals” are popular with kids:

  • Pancakes
  • Burritos
  • Rice and beans
  • Rice and chicken or steak
  • Homemade pizza

Hot Drinks and/or Soups

If kids have a water bottle and access to hot water, pack:

  • Tea bags
  • Hot cider packets
  • Hot cocoa packets
  • Hot soups

Foods on Sticks

Many kids will eat just about anything if it’s on a stick — even grilled vegetables are more appealing. For perfectly bite-sized stick food:

  • Pork kabobs
  • Chicken kabobs with red and green peppers
  • Cheese, cherry tomato and basil kabobs
  • Fruit kabobs


Filling, versatile and tasty smoothies are much more portable in cold weather as no extra refrigeration is required. Homemade is almost always preferable, but there are some great options on the market right now. Look for smoothies that are 100% juice, using the whole fruit, not just the juice.

Berrylicious Smoothie

  • 1 cup water (more if needed)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup frozen kale or spinach
  • ½ banana or ½ avocado (to make the smoothie creamy)

Blend fruit and greens and put in thermos! Berries provide a nice sweet taste, and all of the ingredients provide a variety of vitamins and nutrients, including “good” fat, protein, and fiber for longer-lasting energy.

Amy Nelson Makechnie is a sports nutrition specialist, freelance writer and the mother of a wily flock of children. You can find her at

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