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20 Protein Snacks for Kids

By Jenna Braddock, MSH, RDN, CSSD, CPT

Healthy, growing kids are also hungry, growing kids. Since kids are often on the move, parents need an arsenal of snack ideas that will fill those hungry kids up while also providing important nutrients.

Protein is an important nutrient for growth as it provides the building blocks of all new tissue in the body. Since kids are nearly always growing, they always need protein.

How Much Protein Should a Snack Have?

Children need varying amounts of protein for proper growth and development, but it may not be as much as you think. A small dose of 5-7 grams in a snack can be a strong contributor to kiddos meeting their daily needs. Learn more about specific protein recommendations for different age groups in this article Protein for Kids: Why Protein Should Be on Your Shopping List.

Why is Protein Important in Kids Snacks?

Snack time is a perfect opportunity for kids to get a little dose of protein. Not only will it help meet their total protein needs for the day, it will also take some pressure off of meal times as the only opportunity for eating protein rich foods. Including protein in snacks for kids can also help keep them satisfied and energized a little longer too.1

Finding the right protein snacks for your kids may take a little trial and error, but here is a list of 20 kids protein snacks to get you started. Each of these options contains 5-7 grams of protein in a kid friendly combination and serving size.

Zbar Protein

1. Zbar Protein

This crispy snack bar will help support growing bodies by providing 5 grams of protein from dairy, whole-grain oats, and pea protein. There are a few added bonuses to this option too — it’s gluten free, very portable for taking protein on the go, and 100% yummy! Be sure to try my kids’ favorite flavors, Cookies ‘n Creme and Chocolate Chip.

Yogurt with Berries

2. Yogurt + Berries

A simple yogurt parfait always puts a smile on my son’s face and fills him up for an afternoon of playing. Simply top a ½ cup of your favorite flavor of yogurt with a ¼ cup of blueberries for a total of about 5 grams of protein. If a non-dairy yogurt is needed, look for ones with at least 4 grams of protein in a ½ cup serving.

3. English Muffin + Peanut Butter

Whole-grain English muffins are a wonderful base for many protein snacks for kids. To keep it simple, top ½ of an English muffin with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter for about 7 grams of protein.

4. String Cheese

The good ole string cheese has been a staple of snack time for decades. One of the reasons why is because mozzarella-based string cheese usually contains about 7 grams of protein per stick. String cheese pairs perfectly with many other favorite snack foods to provide a little protein boost.

5. Whole-Grain Crackers + Hummus

Many kids love crackers for snack time, but they don’t always contain much protein. By pairing a serving of whole-grain crackers with 2 tablespoons of hummus, you boost the protein factor to 5 grams.

6. Jerky + Popcorn

Jerky is a great source of protein but often comes in a rather small serving. To make it a more filling snack option, pair a ½ ounce of jerky with 2 cups of popcorn. This strategy provides about 7 grams of protein and some fiber too.

7. Whole-Grain Cereal + Milk

Cereal is an easy, filling snack for kids that usually works like a charm in my house. A ½ cup portion of cereal with a ½ cup of milk rings in at 6 grams of protein for the perfect size and quantity of food for a protein snack. Look for cereals with lower sugar and that contain fiber. If you need non-dairy milk, look for soymilk or another option with at least 4 grams of protein in a ½ cup serving.

8. Cheese and Nut Snack Pack

Store-bought cheese and nuts snack packs are like charcuterie to go and are a perfect protein snack for kids. The versions with cheese cubes, nuts, and dried fruit tend to ring in around 7 grams of protein per pack. You can easily make these at home with a sectioned reusable snack container, a block of cheese, your kid’s favorite nuts, and raisins. Use a ½ ounce serving of each.

9. Whole-Grain Frozen Waffle

Waffles are not just for breakfast! A hearty, whole-grain frozen waffle can also be a filling snack. Look for options made with whole grains or ones described as “protein” waffles that contain about 5-7 grams of protein per waffle.

Cottage Cheese + Grapes

10. Cottage Cheese + Grapes

Cottage cheese is well known for its protein content, but kids may not want or need a big bowl of it as a snack. Pair a ¼ cup of cottage cheese with 1 cup of hydrating grapes for a perfect protein snack that provides about 7 grams of protein.

11. 1 Packet Instant Oatmeal Made With Milk

Once again we can borrow from breakfast for a kids’ protein snack idea. Instant oatmeal made with at least a ¼ cup of dairy milk (or soymilk for a non-dairy option) bumps up the protein to 6 grams. Plus, it’s a source of fiber, which most kids need more of anyway.

12. Smoothie

A smoothie is a wonderful way to get lots of good nutrition and it’s easy to add a little protein to it. A simple recipe of frozen fruit, a handful of spinach, and 1 cup of soymilk is all you need to get in about 7 grams of protein. Try this simple, plant-based Kid-Friendly Green Smoothie recipe for a nutrient-packed option.

13. Hard-Boiled Egg + Tangerine

Eggs are a wonderful source of protein and very easy to incorporate into snack time. Pair one hard-boiled egg with a tangerine for 6 grams of protein for a sweet and savory combo.

14. Turkey Avocado Roll-Ups

This combo is an easy “recipe” for a protein snack for kids. Use 1 ounce of deli meat and a ¼ of an avocado, cut into slices to provide about 6 grams of protein. Simply wrap the avocado slices with a slice of turkey. These are perfect to make ahead and take on the go.

Snack Balls

15. Snack Balls

Cookies are a delicious snack, but they rarely offer much protein. To fix that, I turned one of my family’s favorite cookies into a snack that provides 5 grams of protein for two balls. Try this easy, plant-based recipe for Monster Cookie Balls that tastes like cookie dough!


16. Edamame

Just 1 cup of these fun to eat legumes provide 6-7 grams of protein. Look for frozen edamame in the pods; they take just minutes to heat up in the microwave.

17. 1 Cup of Milk

Both a simple cup of cow’s or soy milk provides about 8 grams of protein. It really doesn’t get any easier than pouring a cold glass of milk at snack time.

18. Slice of Whole Grain Bread

You might not realize that some types of whole grain bread do actually provide a dose of helpful protein for kiddos. Look for heartier whole grain breads that have about 5 grams per slice and certainly dress it up with your child’s favorite like a nut butter, slather of butter, or a swipe of jelly.

19. Pistachios

While not every kid enjoys nuts, I’ve found pistachios to be a more welcomed option. A ¼ cup shelled serving provides about 6 grams of protein and is a great addition to a serving of fruit for a balanced snack option.

20. Sunflower Seeds

Commonly found at many little league ballparks in America, sunflower seeds are enjoyed by many kids and also a source of protein. Just a ¼ cup portion of shelled seeds provides about 7 grams of protein.

How Many Snacks Should Kids Have in a Day?

Growth spurts can certainly increase the appetites of kids, but aside from that, it’s important for parents to use protein snack options at designated times (or as close to it as you can). This helps eliminate kids grazing on snacks all day, which can interfere with them learning their hunger and fullness cues. According to Kids Eat Right from The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, school-age children likely need about two snacks a day and teens need one to two per day.2

Experiment with these options to discover which ones your child prefers and enjoys. There’s no pressure to make everything from scratch either. Lean on a combination of ready to go options like Zbar Protein snack bars with homemade options like the hard boiled eggs and tangerines.


  1. Baum JI, Gray M, Binns A. Breakfasts Higher in Protein Increase Postprandial Energy Expenditure, Increase Fat Oxidation, and Reduce Hunger in Overweight Children from 8 to 12 Years of Age. J Nutr. 2015;145(10):2229-2235. doi:10.3945/jn.115.214551

  2. Shield JE. When should my kids snack? EatRight. March 4, 2019. Updated January 2021. Accessed May 10, 2022.;