Trader Joe’s is a mecca for snacks, truly the holy grail! But the sheer abundance of everything from dozens of dried fruits and crackers to bars and snack packs makes it easy to get overwhelmed. So, if you want to narrow your list down to the BEST kids’ snacks, you need to do two things: First, assemble a bunch of kids. Then turn them loose on all the snacks you could possibly fit in those big paper grocery bags. That’s just what we did here. My four testers (ranging from ages seven to 12) rated the best of the bunch, the snacks they enjoyed most and would happily stash in a backpack any day. Here are the best Trader Joe’s snacks, kid-tested and approved!
Best Bars: This Fruit Walks Into a Bar
Three of my kids ate all six bars in the package before my oldest could snag even one. So: they were a hit. These bars come in tons of flavors, from pumpkin (which they devoured this time) to figs and mango plus blueberry, strawberry and the occasional seasonal special. Kids love these bars, and when they only cost $1.99 for a whole box, this mom is a fan too.
- Organic Chocolate Chip Chewy Granola Bars
Best Cheese: Mini Brie
Of course TJ’s carries individual servings of cheddar and string cheese, but did you know you can also buy tiny hunks of brie too? This brie is not too bright in taste for kids, and still luscious along with crackers (see below) or a crunchy apple.
Best Crackers: TIE! Bite Size Everything Crackers and Organic Garlic Naan
“They have everything!” my 12-year-old gushed about the aptly named Everything Crackers. “All the flavors blend so well together.” And she’s not wrong. These little wonders cram all the best flavors of your favorite bagel topping, into each crispy little bite. Also worth a repeat purchase? According to the whole group, it’s Garlic Naan crackers, which look like a miniature version of the famous Indian bread.
- Organic Mini Cheese Sandwich Crackers “I love these.” —my nine-year-old
- Pistachio Cranberry Crisps, which are excellent with the mini brie
- Italian Breadsticks with Olive Oil “really crispy” —my seven-year-old
Best Dried Fruit: Mangos
As an actual snack as opposed to a sweet treat, Trader Joe’s dried mangos are hearty enough to fill you up (especially alongside a piece of cheese and/or crackers like those mentioned above). They also take a while to chew through, which is refreshing when it comes to snacks that typically get inhaled faster than you can say, “Yes I brought my own bag.”
- Fruit Leather
- Freeze Dried Strawberries
- Banana Chips
- Plantain chips. “These are NOT bananas!” —my ten-year-old
Best Combo Snack: Hummus Snack Packs with Pita Chips
My 7th grader and I both tried these and would buy them again. And again. This combo had the right ratio of crackers to hummus and the hummus itself was particularly rich and creamy. We both liked the idea of a savory snack that had a little protein boost too.
Best Yogurt: Yogurt Squishers
“Yum,” my seven-year-old gushed. “So fruity!” No need to pack a spoon for these low-fat yogurt tubes. They’re the sweetest thing on this list, teetering on dessert, but so full of strawberry or cherry flavor, I can see why kids love them.
Best Veggie Chips: Crispy Crunchy Broccoli Florets
Who knew broccoli could be so crunchy? That’s because the good people at Trader Joe’s fried this broccoli. In oil. Then sprinkled a dusting of salt so light as to coat each floret without overpowering its flavor (and don’t be so surprised when I say the flavor is indeed great!). My 12-year-old described it like this: “I like these because they’re SUPER crunchy and salty but somehow still kind of good for you.” Even with all the oil and salt you’re still eating broccoli, which, compared to the nutrition in regular potato chips, means coming out on top!
- Roasted Seaweed Snack with Salt
- Inner Peas (finally, a veggie chip that isn’t made of potatoes!)
Best Baked Snack: Parmesan Pastry Pups
Teeny tiny pigs in a blanket that go from frozen to “Wow! Can we eat these every day?” in 20 minutes. We paired them with a sliced apple and a few dried mangos and one box fed all four kids, but I’m sure they’d have loved more.