Parents Food Awards 2022 blue banner with foods inside blue rectangles

Best Snacks for Kids Awards 2022

Snacks are serious business. Our parent and kid-testers put every chip, cracker, puff, and bar we could get our hands on to the test to bring you 25 award winning snacks for kids.

Little nibbles get families through those tough daycare mornings, stave off the dreaded pre-dinner meltdown, and are always the best part of playdates. But for parents, picking snacks can feel like an impossible task. Our list of the Best Snacks for Kids arrives just as children head back to school and parents once again begin the hunt for the foods that kids not only enjoy, but that they feel good about buying.

Endless grocery aisles and fridges brim with all things artificial and devoid of nutrients, tempting children into ruining meals, but unicorns hide among them: snacks that appeal to kids and hit the nutritional notes parents hope to hit when feeding their children.

We surveyed 20 parents and 22 kids—from infants just exploring solid food to hungry teens—asking them to test more than 150 different options to see what snacks children loved and which ones parents felt good about buying. We found 25 that checked all of our boxes, making them worthy of receiving our Parents Food Awards seal for 2022.

“As a parent and dietitian, I choose snacks that generally contain little to no added sugars and synthetic fats,” says Maya Feller MS, RD, CDN. “With that said, we are pretty flexible and try not to create too many restrictions around what the kids can and can’t have—my hope is that they develop a balanced relationship with food and can make healthy choices in the long run.”

With Feller’s mentality in mind we searched for snacks that had minimal added sugars, no hydrogenated oils, and no artificial dyes. But also remembered to remain flexible with food. Most importantly, the products considered had to be an actual snack. What does this mean? Each item requires minimal preparation (so a quick toast or microwave is okay, but no mixing and cooking), must be easily eaten standing up and with one hand, and is not something normally associated with a specific mealtime.

How We Chose The Winners

  • We Kept it Real. We looked for snacks that taste good, but also like the ingredients or supposed flavor: cheese puffs that taste like cheese, chocolate chip granola bars that taste like chocolate.
  • It’s What’s on the Inside That Counts. In assessing ingredient lists, we wanted them to be easy to read, contain nutrients, and avoid artificial sweeteners, artificial dyes, added sugar, no hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup.
  • Kid Approved. It doesn't matter how much the adults liked a treat or its nutritional benefits: nothing passed our tests if our panel of kids weren't excited to eat it.
  • Tastemaker Status. We weighted our preference a bit toward innovative ideas, whether in product or presentation, because everybody loves knowing about the cool new items (and probably already has their old favorites).
  • Good Packaging Matters. Yes, bright colors and fun graphics might lure our kids in. But it was less about the snacks looking good, and more about them being easy enough to open and use.
  • Easy Peasy To-Go. Snacks rarely happen at a table, so we chose items that are simple to pack or could be eaten on-the-go.

Check out The 25 Best Snacks for Kids in 2022!

Best Overall Snack: Pure Organic Layered Fruit Bar

pure organics layered fruit bars parents food awards 2022 winner

courtesy of pure organic

No snack tested better than the Strawberry Banana Pure Organic Layered Fruit Bar. Kids loved the flavor and texture, and parents loved that the short ingredient list sticks to fruit and vegetable juices, concentrates, and purees. “My 3-year-old devoured it,” says parent-tester Alex.

Best Classic Snack: Goldfish Baked with Whole Grains

goldfish whole grain parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Pepperidge Farm

Everybody still loves the classic Goldfish crackers, but what we learned in testing with a group of kids is they were indifferent to the various types. For parents, this made the decision to go with the Pepperidge Farms Goldfish Crackers Baked with Whole Grains a no brainer—an easy way to get more whole grains into kids.

Best Snack for Not Ruining Dinner: Trader Joe's Organic Seaweed with Sea Salt

trader joes organic roasted seaweed parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Trader Joe's

Cooking a school night dinner can feel like a race against the hungry snack monsters, but these kid-pleasing Trader Joe’s packs of Organic roasted Seaweed with Sea Salt keep little ones busy and happy without filling them up. “Salty, crunchy, and really good,” says kid-tester Jordana, age 6.

Best Cracker: Annie’s Sea Salty Crackers with Hidden Veggies

annies cheesy vegan crackers - parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Annie's

I worried that my 6-year-old might automatically dismiss these as she read the box—kids don’t like getting tricked. But even armed with the information that Annie’s Sea Salty Crackers with Hidden Veggies were made of sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots, she preferred these thinner, crispier ones to the standard white cheddar Annie’s Bunnies. "They are salty enough that they are good!” she said.

Best Grain-Free Cracker: The Greater Good Snacking Co. Organic and Grain-Free Crackers

greater goods grain free crackers parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of The Greater Goods

With a mild, salty flavor and classic cracker look, these almond-flour based crackers achieve a grain-free, gluten-free cracker without bringing in all kinds of artificial products. Set out with a cheese plate as afternoon snack, a group of school age kids happily dove in, alternating the The Greater Good Snacking Co. Organic and Grain-Free Crackers with the variety of classic crackers.

Best Classic Style Cookie: Back to Nature Mini Classic Creme

back to nature plant based mini classic creme cookies - parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Back to Nature

When my daughters called these Oreos, I didn’t bother to correct them, given their excitement over the Back to Nature Mini Classic Creme cookies. But my partner and I later agreed they were the superior sandwich cookie—the vegan ingredients gave it a less artificial flavor, less cloying sweetness, while still ringing true to the old school favorite.

Best Innovative Cookie: Mavericks Cookies Birthday Cake Plant-Based Bolt Cookies

mavericks birthday cake plant based bolt cookies - parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Mavericks Cookies

"It tastes like frosting," said an anonymous kid tester, immediately after trying these Birthday Cake flavored plant-based cookies from Mavericks. Designed to use less sugar than most cookies, these managed to still deliver plenty of cake flavor, and they came in very appealing and fun boxes.

Best Cheese: Mini Babybel Original Semisoft Cheese

mini babybel - parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Babybel

It’s unclear how string cheese developed its reputation as the de rigueur dairy snack, because these were the runaway favorite cheese among the children we surveyed. Simple ingredients and no artificial growth hormones in the milk keeps parents happy, and little kids love playing with the red wax coating after they pull it off their Mini Babybel Cheese. “My kids grow tired of snacks easily but this is one I know will always be eaten,” says Parents editor and mom of two Kaity.

Best Multi-Serving All-Fruit Snack: Gold Emblem Abound Freeze-Dried Fuji Apples

abound fuji apple crisps - parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Gold Emblem Abound

Freeze-dried fruit seems like an easy win with kids and parents, given it consists only of fruit and is naturally both sweet and crunchy. But while there were a lot of dusty and bitter rejects in this category, including chocolate-covered versions, these Gold Emblem Abound were a clear winner. Jordana, age six, declared these the best for their good texture, and all the kid testers kept coming back for more.

Best Single Serving All-Fruit Snack: Solely Organic Mango All Fruit Gummies

solely mango gummies parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Solely

Parents and vegans alike celebrate the arrival of a gummy fruit snack actually made entirely of fruit (with added vitamin C). The Solely Organic Mango Whole Fruit Gummies won over kids on the full fruit taste and the lightly chewy texture. The only downside: the looks. "If I have to eat with my eyes, I say no, but if I eat with my mouth, I say yes,” explained kid-tester Hazel, age 6.

Best Gummies: Signature Select Mixed Fruit Snacks

signature fruit snacks parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Signature Select

The kids spoke loudly with both words and actions, grabbing these from the tasting table even after tasting through a dozen snacks at a time and unswayable in their votes that these were the best gummies. Parents liked the value and, though there is added sugar, appreciated the lack of artificial flavors and colors.

Best Toddler Fruit Snack: Happy Tot Organics Strawberry Fruit Sticks

happy tot fruity sticks parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Happy Tot

While 18-month-olds don’t say very much, parent-tester Alex says hers loved the sorghum flour-based, agave-sweetened Happy Tot Organics Strawberry Fruity Sticks. “A good mild-flavored snack with crunch,” mom noted.

Best Yogurt-Based Snack: Kids Whole Milk Yogurt Pouch

stonyfield pouches parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Stonyfield Organic

These easy-to-use packages let kids have the independent snacking experience they crave with the kind of healthful food parents feel good about buying. Though they have added sugar, it's organic cane sugar, and the rest of the ingredients are limited to fruit and vegetables purees and concentrates, plus the yogurt itself, with live active cultures. 

Best Mixed Snack Pack: Hillshire Farm SNACKED! Turkey with Chocolate Chip Cookies

hillshire farm snacked parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Hillshire Farm

If your kids like the variety of a bento box, these Hillshire Farm SNACKED! Turkey with chocolate chip cookies packs are an excellent option. They make a satisfying larger snack for tots and a solid small snack for larger kids. The variety appealed to testers, and they seemed to enjoy the cheese and meat as much as the cookies (which were good enough that Tove, age 4, began comparing the rest of the cookies we tested to them).

Best Chips: Siete Family Foods Sea Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips

siete kettle chips parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Site

With simple ingredients and great flavors, Siete Family Foods potato chips quickly became a favorite among testers of all ages. The Sea Salt and Vinegar flavor, particularly, pleased adults with its hint of serrano pepper, and my kids liked it well enough that after testing, I found the rest of the bag squirreled away in my daughter’s room, saved for later. “No, THOSE chips!” a 5-year-old tester kept insisting, rejecting all others. 

Best Alternative Chips: 12 Tides Puffed Kelp Chips

12 tides puffed kelp chips

Courtesy of 12 Tides

Of the things I expected to fight my 4- and 6-year-old over, a bag of puffed kelp chips was low on the list. Yet, when we opened a bag to try them, it was like a hurricane hit: turn your head, miss the whole bag. With a crunch worthy of pork rinds, the flavor of everything bagel, and the nutrition of green veggies, 12 Tides Everything Puffed Kelp Chips were winners even before we learned about how sustainable they are.

Best Granola Bar: Nature Valley Crunchy Dipped Salted Caramel Granola Squares

nature valley crunchy dipped - parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Nature Valley

"Can I have these in my snack for camp?" Tove, age 4, asked, immediately after trying her Nature Valley Crunchy Dipped Salted Caramel Granola Squares. They walk the fine line between candy bar and granola bar, but lean toward the latter, thanks to the heartiness of the whole grain oats. The frosting-like dipped part did get a bit messy on warm days, so these portable bites do best at room temperature or colder.

Best Quintessential Granola Bar: KIND Kids Bars

kind kids chewy chocolate chip bars parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of KIND Kids

These Kind Kids Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are the platonic ideal of the genre, nailing that classic sweet, chewy, oaty flavor. “They’re good and chewy,” said Arthur, a 7-year-old tester. Other tiny testers liked that they were small enough to slip into a pocket and held together even in warm weather.

Best Toddler Bar: Happy Tot Organics Blueberry and Oats Bar

happy tot superfoods oat bar parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Happy Tot

Testing snacks on small children can be hard, but not with this one. “Well, the [Happy Tots Organics] Blueberry and Oats Bar is definitely a hit,” parent-tester Isabella texted, with photo proof of a smiling 8-month-old Charlotte chowing down on one.

Best Puff: Annie's Cheddar Cheese Smiles

annies cheddar cheesy smiles parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Annie's Homegrown

When a kid from a house that regularly stocks Cheetos says they like an organic brand of cheese puffs, we pay attention. "I love them! They are amazing," the anonymous kid-tester wrote. Parents liked that they are organic, baked, and use whole grains.

Best Alternative Puff: From the Ground Up Cauliflower Stalks

from the ground up cauliflower stalks parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of From the Ground Up

In a head-to-head match up of 12 types of puffs, these won unanimously among testers ranging from age 4 to 44—and that was just on flavor and texture. The added bonus of simple vegan, gluten-free, ingredients made the From the Ground Up Cauliflower Stalks the clear winner in the category.

Best Baby Puffs: Gerber Toddler Plant-tastic lil' crunchies 

gerber plantastic lil crunchies parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Gerber

These protein-packed puffs were a big hit with all our baby testers, especially 13-month-old Harper. “She just started walking, so she’d been waddling around with that jar for two days straight,” reported her parent about the Gerber Lil Crunchies White Bean Hummus. “Finished every single one of them. Will definitely have to get her more of those.”

Best Frozen Snack: Diana’s Bananas Milk Chocolate Banana Babies

Diana's Bananas

COURTESY OF DIANA'S BANANAS

The way Diana’s Bananas manages to keep actual banana halves so sweet and in-tact inside the Milk Chocolate Banana Babies seems like magic. But these simple frozen treats made for an easy, healthful option on hot days. “Yummm, tasty,” said Oliver, a 10-year-old tester usually averse to healthier snacks.

Best Dessert Bar: Blake's Seed-Based Birthday Cake Crispy Treats

blakes seed-based birthday cake crispy treat - parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Blake's Seed-Based

Silas, age 11, spoke for all the tasters when he said, “It's a little weird eating sprinkles and seeds at the same time, but it's actually really good.” The crunchy vegan desserts were a big hit among all the kids and adults, with the seeds adding a hint of savory complexity to the classic sweet.

Best Pouch: Trader Joe's Apple Strawberry Fruit Sauce Crushers

trader joes fruit sauce crushers parents food awards 2022 winner

Courtesy of Trader Joe's

These came on a recommendation from parent-tester Julie, and quickly became a favorite among kid-testers. “I couldn’t get a quote due to the focused slurping happening from my 5-year-old,” said Charlene, a parent-tester who also reported that her kiddo went back to the cabinet for more. While all of the Trader Joe’s Fruit Sauce Crushers were well-liked, Apple Strawberry was preferred for its sweetness and hint of sour.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles