Winter snacking for kids and teens can be worrisome for parents. In the spring and summer there’s all those yummy, accessible, fresh fruits and vegetables that kids are [more] willing to eat and enjoy. Come winter and there are fewer options, and snacking on fruits and vegetables takes more creativity and thought. 

But that’s easily done! Keep reading for some ideas.

Why do kids need to eat fruits and vegetables?

I frequently say that kids can’t grow on fruits and vegetables, and their importance is often over-emphasized. However, they are important for growing bodies, and play many important roles and functions. 

Vitamins & Minerals

Fruit and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals. And you (and your kids) probably can name a bunch of them! (I recall my then-3-year-old nephew coming home from preschool talking about bananas having “uptasium”.) 

Vitamins and minerals support many important body functions including organ functioning, immunity, blood flow, hormone balance, and more. While it’s not necessary to know what vitamins and minerals are in individual food (and there will be many in differing quantities), eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can ensure you’re getting a variety of these needed nutrients.   


Many of the body’s natural processes create ‘free radicals’ which can cause the body harm. Environmental factors can also create free radicals.  Antioxidants bond with them to neutralize them, thus protecting from damage. Antioxidants- including Vitamins C & E – are found in many fruits and vegetables! 


Fruits and vegetables are hydrating! This can be an easy way for kids who may not enjoy (or remember to) drinking can still hydrate. The body needs a lot of fluid, but it doesn’t have to all come from water. Fruits and vegetables are great options.  


Fruit and vegetables are great sources for fiber and the many benefits of this nutrient. The fiber is often contained within the flesh, and not the peel, so fiber benefits remain after peeling. While juice has the fiber removed, smoothies and pureed soup still have theirs. 

Blood sugar regulation

Fiber slows digestion. This allows for the gradual release of food’s sugar content. This also helps with feeling fuller for longer than when eating foods with less fiber. 

Healthy bowel movements 

This topic either makes my clients laugh or squirm with discomfort. But regular bowel movements are important for feeling your best and healthiest. Fruits and vegetables are fiber-rich, so can help with digestion and regularity. 

How parents can help kids eat more fruits and vegetables

We don’t want to be pushing fruits and vegetables onto kids, because that can backfire and turn them off eating them. Instead, serve them along with other foods, make them tasty, and take off the pressure of eating them. Learn how to pair foods to make them filling and nourishing

  • Have fruits & vegetables easily accessible
  • Make them tasty and enjoyable – add flavor, spices, and dips!
  • Model eating and enjoying fruits and vegetables
  • Make it morally neutral to eat fruit and vegetables 
  • Remember that fruits are just as good as vegetables!


Winter Fruit and Vegetable Snacks

Below is a list of snack ideas using fruits and vegetables that are usually available in the winter months. Fresh in-season produce is great to enjoy as-is or with sides, spices, or dips. Using frozen or canned produce is a great way to expand on often limited options. 

Dehydrated Cinnamon Apple Chips by Summer Yule MS RDN

fruit chips

Smoothies from frozen fruit (think frozen berries, peaches, bananas, and even veggies like cauliflower and spinach!)

Air Fried Sweet Potatoes by Kristi Ruth RD/RDN

Air-fried sweet potato chunks

Cheesy broccoli bites

Spiced Carrot Raisin Muffins by Melissa Traub RDN

carrot raisin muffins in basket

Turkey pickle roll-ups

Chai Yogurt Fruit Dip by Laurel Kimmerly-Deininger MS RDN

Yogurt Fruit Dip.

Spinach egg muffins

Kiwi Banana Smoothie by Kelsey P. RD

kiwi banana smoothie

Microwaved salted edamame 

Sweet Potato Zucchini Muffins by Sarah Schlichter RD

Zucchini sweet potato muffin recipe topped with peanut butter on white countertop

Microwaved (or thawed) frozen blueberries in yogurt

Carrot Fries by Nicole Addison RD

Plate of air fryer carrot fries served with sriracha mayo.

Chocolate peanut butter banana slices 


Fruit and vegetable provide important nutrients that support healthy body functions through their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also keep the body hydrated and regular. 

However, it can be tough for kids and teens to eat enough produce in the winter when a bit more creativity is needed. 

These winter snacks for kids and teens use in-season produce, or fruits and vegetables that have been preserved. Produce that has been frozen, dried, pickled, and canned are all great options. They generally have similar benefits to their fresh counterparts (obviously dried fruit is less hydrating, and pickled will have more salt) and are tasty and different enough to interest your adolescent in eating more fruits and vegetables when fresh options are limited.