Budget-Friendly Snack Ideas for Kids & Teens Perfect for Summer Break

By Jennifer Hill Macaroni KID Fremont Publisher June 3, 2024

With summer quickly approaching, I started making my big shopping list. With two teenagers, I know how quickly they can run through the food and snacks each week and it's even worse in the summer. Here are some top picks for budget-friendly snack ideas that are both tasty and nutritious that my kids enjoy:

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Air-popped seasoned with a little salt or nutritional yeast is the cheapest snack option and easy to make. If you don't have an air-popper, check your big box store for a case of microwave popcorn as an alternative. Here are some other seasoning, topping, and mix-in options to try as well.

Chocolate Banana Bread
Perfect way to use up ripe bananas and it tastes great too! Try our chocolate banana bread recipe.

Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
Use peanut butter for a yummy protein dip for apple slices and get a snack that is nutritious and satisfying.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Whole grain bread with favorite cheese grilled quickly is another easy, tasty snack. Check out these delicious twists on a classic sandwich.

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Fresh Fruit
Keep fresh fruit on hand and easily accessible. We keep a 3-tiered fruit basket on the counter filled with apples, oranges, pears, tangerines, bananas, plus, grapes, berries, and more in the refrigerator. If your family enjoys melons and pineapples, my tip is to cut them up when you purchase and stick in the refrigerator at the front of a shelf that is easily visible when the door is opened. Keeping some on the counter reminds them it's there and ready to eat. To save money, shop in-season fruits - check out the local farmers markets for great options.

Greek Yogurt with Fruit
Plain Greek yogurt (purchase a larger container and save money) topped with fresh or frozen berries and a drizzle of honey contains lots of protein and tastes great. Or get fancy, and make it a parfait!

Homemade Trail Mix
Sure you can buy a bag of pre-made trail mix, but save by making your own. I purchase big bags of favorite nuts and dried fruits and combine the nuts, dried fruit, and toss in some whole-grain cereal to change it up. Need something sweeter? Add in a scoop of chocolate chips or mini marshmallows.

Veggies with Hummus or Guacamole
Each week, cut up carrot sticks, cucumbers, bell peppers, and other favorite raw veggies and serve with hummus or guacamole. Try our recipe for homemade guacamole.

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Make it an activity and have the kids bake fresh muffins every week or two. We've always stuck some in the freezer to pull out when needed. Here is an easy and yummy option.

Rice Cakes with Avocado
My son loves avocado. Spread mashed avocado on rice cakes for an easy and nutritious snack.

Blend frozen fruits, Greek yogurt, spinach, and a little juice or water for a great summer snack with protein.

No-Bake Energy Balls
Everyone will love these easy, no-bake peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip energy balls.

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Tortillas with cheese and beans or chicken or taco meat quickly heated in a skillet is yummy and protein-rich. Here are 5 quesadilla combos everyone will love.

Frozen Grapes or Bananas
Freeze some grapes or banana slices for a refreshing and sweet snack - perfect for hot summer days.

Peanut Butter and Jam or Honey
Might seem silly, but a good old fashioned peanut butter and jam sandwich is a simple snack with protein and so easy to make. Choose an all-fruit jam or use honey and whole grain bread. Switch it up and add some banana slices. Yum!

Cottage Cheese with Fruit
Another of my son's favorites. A scoop of cottage cheese with some fresh berries or canned pineapple or peaches (in their own juice) is a sweet snack with protein.

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Homemade Popsicles
Blend together fresh fruits with water or 100% juice, pour into popsicle molds or little paper cups with a popsicle stick (a plastic spoon is a nice alternative to the stick) and freeze for a refreshing and sweet snack. Try this recipe sure to be a family favorite.

Cheese and Crackers
Keep a variety of cheeses on hand as well as whole grain crackers for a quick and easy snack.

Cucumber "Sandwiches"
Use cucumber slices as "bread" and fill the mini-"sandwiches" with cheese and/or turkey slices.

String Cheese
Perfect protein for on-the-go snacking. Big box stores sell the large package for a great price.

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Homemade Pizza
Everyone loves pizza, but even frozen pizzas are so expensive these days. It's really not too expensive or difficult to make your own. We usually make our own dough (thank you, bread machine!), but you can purchase ready-to-use dough at the store - our favorite store-bought brand is from Trader Joe's. In addition, in place of the traditional pizza dough, you can always use things like tortillas, naan, English muffins, or even bagels or mini bagels. Change it up all summer long! Learn more about making your own pizzas here.

Hardboiled Eggs
Another protein perfect for on-the-go snacking. 

Not just a breakfast food! Cooked oatmeal with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sliced bananas or berries is a hearty, budget-friendly snack.

Corn Dog Muffins
A twist on a kid favorite - hot dogs baked inside of cornbread muffins are fun and easy. Here's how to make them.

These snacks are not only budget-friendly, but also provide essential nutrients to keep the kids and teens going all summer long. Plus, some of them are perfect for breakfast or lunch as well.