24 Best Packaged Snacks for School

Playdates. Sports practices. Family movie nights. For occasions like these, our panel of junior taste testers sampled hundreds of products to find the ones that best tide kids over (and that parents can feel good about too). Ready, set, nosh!

An image of chips on a pink background.
Photo: Peter Ardito.

Parents tested 200-plus snacks with a panel of 75 kids, from toddlers to young teens. To be considered, snacks couldn't contain artificial sweeteners or synthetic dyes. They also needed to be low in added sugars and contain nutrients. Read on to discover the top 24 winners.

01 of 24

Best Dried Fruit: Sun-Maid Fruity Raisin Snacks, Tropical Punch

sun-maid fruity raisin snacks tropical punch
Courtesy of Sun-Maid

This twist on golden raisins is a unique offering in the fruit-snack world. The mini pouches are infused with several fruity flavors but don't contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners. "I can taste the cherry!" one kid said.

02 of 24

Best Crackers: From the Ground Up Purple Carrot Crackers

from the ground up purple carrot crackers
Courtesy of From the Ground Up

Purple carrots are a thing, and this genius company made them the main ingredient in its certified gluten-free mini crackers that are sprinkled with sea salt (parents' fave) or have Ranch flavor (kids' choice). A junior tester told his mom, "I want to take them in my lunch box to show my friends."

03 of 24

Best Chips: Good & Gather Crinkle Cut Sweet Potato Chips

Good & Gather Sweet Potato Kettle Chips
Courtesy of Target

Part of Target's exclusive line, Good & Gather, these kettle-cooked chips are sturdy enough for dipping but thin enough for kids to bite easily. According to one of our panelists, "The ridges helped my onion dip stay on!" Parents appreciated that the product is made with just three ingredients and comes in a convenient resealable bag.

04 of 24

Best Nuts: Wonderful Pistachios No Shells Sea Salt & Vinegar

wonderful sea salt and vinegar pistachios
Courtesy of Wonderful

Families thought the balance of salt and vinegar in these shelled pistachios was spot-on. "They don't taste as tart as some salt-and-vinegar chips," said one kid tester. But if salt and vinegar flavor isn't your family's jam, try the BBQ flavor, which also received high marks.

05 of 24

Best Allergy-Friendly Snack: MadeGood Star Puffed Crackers

Made Good Star-Puffed Cheddar Crackers
Courtesy of madegoodfoods.com

A great one to pick up when it's your turn to send in the classroom snack: These crackers are free of the eight major allergens and are produced in a dedicated nut-free facility. "They're light, airy, and so much fun to eat," according to one snacker.

06 of 24

Best Cereal: 123 Sesame Street C is for Cinnamon Cereal

123 sesame street c is for cinnamon cereal
Courtesy of General Mills

This snack is legit educational. Each whole-grain, cinnamon-coated cereal piece is shaped like a letter—all 26 are in every box—and school-age testers spelled out their names. (Tots were entertained by the mini Sesame Street book that opens from the back of the box.)

07 of 24

Best Rice Cakes: Lundberg Family Farms Organic Rice Cake Minis

lundberg family farms organic rice cake minis
Courtesy of Lundberg Family Farms

Kids couldn't decide whether they preferred the Buffalo Ranch, Sea Salt, or White Cheddar flavors of these tiny rice cakes. "They're all so yummy and crunchy," said one child. A preschooler noted that the Ranch was "a little spicy, but the good kind."

08 of 24

Best Bar: Quaker Chewy Fruity Fun Granola Bars, Amazing Apple

quaker chewy fruity fun granola bars amazing apple
Courtesy of Quaker

It was love at first bite: Our kid testers raved that these soft, whole-grain-oats-based bars are "better than apple pie." Parents were impressed that they have just 5 grams of added sugars and are made in a peanut-free facility.

09 of 24

Best Pretzels: Hormel Soft Pretzel Bites With Cheese

hormel soft pretzel bites with cheese
Courtesy of Hormel

This one's a contender for your new favorite movie-night snack. The soft, warm pretzel nuggets and sidekick cheese sauce received a perfect 10 rating from kids. Parents mentioned that the prep was easy in the oven or microwave.

10 of 24

Best Yogurt: Stonyfield Organic Strawberry Yogurt and Choco Chimps

stonyfield organic strawberry yogurt and choco chimps

Kids said mixing in crunchy chocolate cereal balls made the yogurt "awesomely sweet." And yet these cups have less added sugar than you'd expect (7 grams) while packing 10 grams of protein.

11 of 24

Best Cheese Snack: The Laughing Cow & Go Creamy Original

The Laughing Cow & Go Creamy Original
Courtesy of Target

Cupholder-ready, this whole-wheat breadstick and cheese-dip combo earned glowing reviews from kids and parents alike. "The cheese is so creamy," said one young tester, who licked it off the breadstick on the way to soccer practice. Parents reported that the snack is satisfying, keeping the kids full for a couple of hours. (Word to the wise: Pack one for each person—there will be double-dipping.)

12 of 24

Best Snack Kit: Sabra Kids Taco Dip & Rolled Tortilla Chips

sabra kids taco dip and rolled tortilla chips
Courtesy of Sabra

Kids were amazed by this combo of taco-flavored hummus and crisp tortillas in the shape of breadsticks. "I want to have this every day," enthused one eater. They're sold in packs of three, and the company buys the chickpeas from family farms.

13 of 24

Best Morning Snack: Organic Valley Egg Bites, Uncured Ham & Swiss

organic valley egg bites uncured ham and swiss
Courtesy of Organic Valley

For the days when your crew needs a second breakfast, these "egg muffins," as one of our panelists called them, deliver 8 grams of protein apiece. Kids thought they tasted "fluffy" and got bits of "juicy ham" in each mouthful.

14 of 24

Best Family Snack: Applegate Naturals Charcuterie Plate

applegate naturals charcuterie plate
Courtesy of Applegate Naturals

Stave off "Is dinner ready yet?" with this small, ready-made platter for sharing. Kids happily scarfed down the cheddar-cheese cubes and milk-chocolate-covered pretzels, but the uncured chorizo salami rounds were the crowd favorite.

15 of 24

Best Flatbread: Stonefire Naan Dippers

stonefire naan dippers
Courtesy of Stonefire

These mini flatbreads got the prize for versatility. Kid testers put them to work in mini pizzas and micro sandwiches and dunked the rounds in dips, sauces, and soups. "They make everything more fun," said one tester. Another added, "I like their bubbles."

16 of 24

Best Pudding: GoGo squeeZ AlmondBlend Pudding

gogo squeez almondblend pudding
Courtesy of GoGo squeeZ

Made with almond milk, these pudding pouches—in Chocolate, Cocoa-Hazelnut, Banana, and Vanilla—were, in one kid's estimation, "the best thing I ate today." They supply nearly as much calcium as half a cup of cow's milk.

17 of 24

Best Chocolate Snack: Trü Frü Nature's Raspberries

tru fru natures raspberries in chocolate
Courtesy of Trü Frü

Coated in white chocolate and then dipped in dark chocolate, these berries are "hyper-chilled" at –300°F before they're shipped to the supermarket. Testers agreed the results are delightfully Willy Wonka–esque.

18 of 24

Best Novelty Snack: FarmRich Star Wars Mandalorian Cheesy Potato Tots

farmrich star wars mandalorian cheesy potato tots
Courtesy of FarmRich

How adorbs is "Baby Yoda" as a tot? Kids (and grown-ups) smirked as they ate up these spuds, which are blended with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, then coated in whole-grain breading.

19 of 24

Best Smoothie Bowl: Kind Frozen Smoothie Bowl

Kind Frozen Smoothie Bowl
Courtesy of Target

Tween and teen testers bonded over these bowls layered with a fruit–almond milk mash-up, almond butter, and granola. "It was just what I needed when I was starving and hot after practice," one middle-schooler recounted. Top flavors were Almond + Triple Berry Acai and Almond + Mango Pineapple Passion Fruit.

20 of 24

Best Pocket Pie: Del Monte Veggieful Broccoli Potato Cheddar Pocket Pies

del monte veggieful broccoli potato cheddar pocket pies
Courtesy of Del Monte

Kids do like broccoli—at least when it's covered in cheddar cheese and wrapped in a delicious dough. "It's the kind of snack you want to make your kid when they come in from playing in the cold," one mom said.

21 of 24

Best Frozen Fruit: Wyman's Just Fruit & Greek Yogurt Bites

wymans just fruit and greek yogurt bites
Courtesy of Wyman’s

Tiny wild blueberries from Maine mixed with vanilla Greek yogurt balls are just as good as fro-yo, according to our junior testers. Kids debated whether they taste best icy or slushy (after thawing a bit). You do you.

22 of 24

Best Family Fave: Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers

goldfish baked snack crackers pretzel
Courtesy of Pepperidge Farm

"This is my classic mom side," says Mina Stone, author of Lemon, Love & Olive Oil. "I can't resist sharing with my son."

23 of 24

Best Fresh Fruit: Rockit Apples

Rockit Apples
Courtesy of Walmart

"They're small enough to fit into a bento box or a snack bag, and my kids finish the whole thing, so there's no waste," says Julia Edelstein, Parents' former editor-in-chief.

24 of 24

Best Treat: Bakerly Chocolate Hazelnut Filled Crêpes To-Go!

bakerly chocolate hazelnut filled crepes to-go
Courtesy of Bakerly

"The chocolate is smooth and creamy," says Ericka Sanchez, author of ¡Buen Provecho!

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