15 Easy Dinners from Costco (ready in under 15 minutes)

It has been awhile since I shared my last post featuring Costco, so I knew it was an appropriate time to list out some of my favorite, easy dinner ideas from Costco again. With Back to School and after school activities in full swing, I know this list of 15 simple yet satisfying dinner ideas will help you make a healthy dinner happen even on your busiest of nights!

You can get this free one week meal plan featuring seven night’s worth of easy Costco dinners too at the end of this post!

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The Need for Easy Dinner Ideas

In theory, I enjoy scratch-making recipes and rotating through new, nourishing options at any meal of the day. Many of my family’s staples and most favorite Fall recipes will be on my Seasonal Meal Plan because these are the dinners that I make a habit to prep ahead and pull together on a regular basis.

The reality is though, sometimes my meal planning doesn’t happen, grocery shopping happens AT dinner time, and I need simple options I can literally be pulling off in the kitchen AS I unpack the car of groceries (with three kids on my ankles I might add).

There is what’s ideal (healthy, simple ingredients and well-balanced meals) and then there is what’s real (busy, chaotic nights and rushed grocery runs where we need to grab some easy options). That’s the intersection I hope this post finds us at. Next week, I plan to give you the recipes we PLAN to have over the upcoming Fall quarter. This week, however, I want to give you some easy ideas for your dinner time tool belt that you can easily use on those UNPLANNED nights when we have to operate “off menu” and work with what we’ve got - which is often a Costco run as a catch all.


In this post, you have 15 easy dinner options from Costco that you can have ready in under 15 minutes.

With each meal including a balance of food groups and nutrients for a given night’s dinner idea, all you need to do is pick and purchase the listed items to pull off a quick and easy dinner once you are back at home.

Costco also offers bulk packaging of many of the items listed, so many of these ideas will give you a few meals worth from them. So while you pay a bit more up front, if you have the space to store extras (in the pantry, fridge, or freezer), these easy dinner ideas from Costco will come in handy again down the road when you find yourself needing a simple dinner ready in under 15 minutes!


If you have questions about My 55 Most Favorite, Dietitian Approved Costco Staples, be sure to check out this grocery list download!

In this grocery list, I include images of each product I love to help make it easy on you to find. Just print, put in a page protector, and let your little ones mark it up as you move your way through the aisles filling your cart with many of my favorites. Many of these are ingredients included in the following 15 easy dinner ideas list!

15 Easy Dinners from Costco (ready in under 15 minutes)

1 Chicken burgers with sweet potato fries

2 Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Coleman Organic Meatballs (in the refrigerated, pre-packaged foods section)

  • Organic Spaghetti Sauce (in the non-perishable section)

  • Zucchini to turn into zoodles (in the refrigerated produce section)

3 Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Veggie tray

  • Cauliflower Cheese Pizza (in the frozen foods section)

  • Veggie Tray (in the refrigerated produce section)

4 Hot Dogs with Slaw Salad

  • Teton Waters Ranch grass-fed beef hot dogs (in the refrigerated, pre-packaged foods section)

  • Sweet Kale salad (in the refrigerated produce section)

5 Tikka Masala with Brown Rice and Stir-Fry Veggies

6 Madras Lentils with Cauliflower Rice

7 Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

8 Mediterranean Quinoa Salad Dinner

9 Caprese Pasta

10 Soup & Salad

11 Teriyaki

12 Salmon Caesar Salads

13 Quesadillas

14 Tuna Sandwiches

15 Breakfast for dinner

  • Make French toast with organic eggs, milk, vanilla, and Alpine Valley Organic Honey Bread

Want more easy dinner ideas with images to shop you just what to shop for? Get my free one week meal plan for Costco here!

My 45 Favorite Snack Options for Kids [packaged + prep-free]

This post is unsponsored. I was not compensated nor asked to include any of the following products, however I did receive samples of some of the following products for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

My 45 Favorite Snack Options for Kids

(Plus 15 of My Favorite Homemade Ones!)

Even in feeding my own kids three meals and two snacks a day, I still feel stuck for healthy, practical ideas at times. Add that to the confusion of walking down any given snack aisles (even as a dietitian mom), and I get why other parents are overwhelmed when trying to find healthy, kid-friendly snack options.

Last year, I shared a post on “The Best Pre-Packaged Snack Foods,” which included information on different types of snack foods (i.e. fun foods, sometimes foods, and everyday foods) as well as ideas on how such snack foods can have a healthy place in your child’s diet. This post also included a free printable shopping list (see below) of My 20 Favorite Pre-Packaged Snack Foods from Target, which many of you downloaded and said that you enjoyed (which you can also download for free here).

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That’s why in this post, I thought I would not only revisit the conversation of snack foods and update some of my recommendations in each “category” (see below: bars + bites, starchy snacks, fruit snacks, and protein-packed snacks). My goal in this post is to further eliminate all guesswork and curate a list of my favorite snacks within each category. I get several inquiries about where to buy these snacks as well (when I share them on Instagram or Facebook), so I have shared links for the best places to buy each of these products as well to make it even easier for you to restock your own pantry (now that the school year is in full swing)!

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Although I want to make seeing the following snack food suggestions as straight-forward as possible, I already am anticipating some of the feedback I might get from families who find these either impractical, inferior, not cost-effective nor environmentally-friendly, or who are ultimately unclear on how these snacks fit into an overall healthy lifestyle.

I have tried to address those possible concerns here:

First, pre-packaged snacks are often more expensive.

I don’t recommend these to blow anyone’s food budget but rather because I know many families out there are in need of convenient, readily-available snack options that require no prep. That said, I respect not all of these options may be a good fit for every family’s budget and have tried to provide ideas at a variety of price points. Some of the snacks suggested in this post are in fact more expensive than mainstream alternatives on the market. Typically, this is due to higher-quality ingredients yielding a more natural, nutrient-dense product than competing, lesser expensive varieties. For my family, I prefer to invest in higher-quality packaged snacks and saving them for when we need them (on the go, when traveling, and on the occasional school day when we are in a rush or don’t have other homemade options ready). This lessens how often we eat them, stretching our food dollar further without compromising quality. Many of the following options also may be purchased either on sale or in bulk (for a discount) or in larger sized packages and then divided up into their own smaller, snack-sized containers to help save. Otherwise, some of these pre-packaged might have recipes so you can recreate similar homemade snacks (instead of always reaching for pre-packaged).

Second, pre-packaged snacks aren’t always nutritionally superior to ones you could make yourself.

If you have the time and energy to recreate items in the categories below, I encourage you to do so as you might be able to pack even more nutrition into them. However, for the purposes of this post, I aimed to include options that I personally and professionally consider nutrient-rich options in the given category (when compared to the alternative, pre-packaged items on the market). I have included some of the nutrition and ingredients list information I look for in each of the respective category.

Third, pre-packaged snacks create more waste.

I admit that at times, I weigh the convenience of pre-packaged snacks over considering how environmentally friendly the packaging is of such products. That’s why, as mentioned above, I tend to serve homemade snacks or portioning pre-made snacks into a reusable snack bag when able. You can find some of my favorite reusable snack bags here.

Fourth, consider a few of the following tips if sending any of the following packaged snacks to school.

  • Make sure you know the dietary restrictions of your child’s school and avoid sending any restricted allergens. Many of the options below include nuts, so use your discretion for if and when such snacks are safe and appropriate. If you need peanut-free ideas, read this post for 12 peanut-free pre-made and portable snack ideas.

  • Tear a small opening in packaging so it makes it easier for your child to open it come lunch or snack time. This gives them more time to eat, rather than using that time to wait on their teacher (who likely has to open the packages for several kid’s!).

  • If your child’s school requires you to send snacks labeled, consider using one of the reusable bags (shared above) with a reusable name label on it. This lessens the work of having to write on it each day (especially since Sharpies don’t always write easily on all snack options).

Fifth, know how to offer snacks.

No matter WHAT you offer, if you don’t have a foundation for WHEN food is offered, all of your efforts can still get derailed. That’s why it is important to both choose appropriate snack food options, as shared in my post on The Best Pre-Packaged Snack Foods, and to be mindful about how to feed your child at snack time. Spacing snacks 2-3 hours from meal times and enforcing a “kitchen is closed” at all other times can help to promote your child to eat more of the nutrient-dense items when offered and eliminate mindless grazing on potentially less- healthful snack foods. Wondering how to feed your child at snack time? Read more here >>

My 45 Favorite Snack Options for Kids [Packaged + Prep-Free]

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links to my Amazon shop. These do not cost you anything extra to use; they will only provide Veggies & Virtue a small commission for any purchases made through this link. Thank you for supporting this small business!


Bars + Bites (Non-Perishable + Packaged)

I am a big fan of bars and energy bites as a way to pack a lot of nutrition into a small, convenient package. With so many bars over-saturating the market, however, it can quickly become overwhelming to know which ones to buy. Since bars and bites can vary a lot in their taste, texture, and overall nutritional as well, I have also included a bit of information below on each bar/bite includes that will hopefully help guide you in your buying decisions a bit about which to buy and why.

Here are a few nutritional considerations for how I came to select the following bars:

  • Sugar: Many “healthy” bars on the market have considerable amounts of added sugar. Considering many children already get more added sugar than they need in their diet, parents should consider the source and amount of sugar in the bars and bites they buy. Looking for bars with only naturally occurring sugar in the ingredients list (from sources like dates) is ideal. Otherwise, select bars with limited sources and amounts of added sugar. If an ingredients list states several sources of added sugar and/or exceeds around 6 grams of sugar per serving (equivalent to 25% of the max amount of added sugar a toddler should have in a day), try to avoid and select another bar or bite instead. Wondering how much sugar your child needs? Read more here >>

  • Fat: Bars and bites are an excellent way to get healthy fats into children without the choking hazard of whole nuts. This fat source in bars also provides satiation, so kids won’t become hungry as quickly after eating. Since children need more fat than hey do protein in their diets, prioritize a bar that offers healthy fat over “protein bars” that might be more intended for adults. Wondering how much fat your child needs? Read more here >>

  • Protein: Protein that comes naturally-occurring from sources like nuts and seeds make a great option in snack bars or bites that you want to sustain your child for longer than say, a carbohydrate-rich bar would. Otherwise, there is rarely a need to choose bars or bites for young children though that have added sources of protein (i.e. in the form of protein isolates). That’s because when distributed across three meals and two or three snacks a day, most children are already getting their protein needs met without such added sources. Wondering how much protein your child needs? Read more here >>

Top 10 Bars + Bites (in no particular order):

  1. RXBAR Kids

    RXBARs have permanent residence in my own life these days. As one of the few bars that legitimately keep me feeling full between meals or when my own mom lunch gets bumped hours behind when I feed my kids, I can’t even count how many times these have protected me from getting hangry. When RXBAR came out with the kids option of bars, I was immediately sold. The ingredients list is unmatched in the industry for being full of the fuel I want my kids to eat and yet can’t conveniently get into them on the go in the way RXBAR Kids has captured to in this smaller sized bar. With kid-friendly flavors, RXBAR Kids are now one of the top bars we tuck into the diaper bag or in the car as an emergency snack as I know they will tie us over longer than many more carbohydrate-rich bars. From our own experience, RXBAR keep us feeling full the longest, which makes them great when you need a more substantial snack bar (or to avoid if you need a light snack close to a meal). The texture of RXBAR Kids is a bit more tough to chew through than other bars and can get stuck to teeth, so I know it took some getting used to for both myself and my girls. With some re-exposure though, we have started to enjoy these bars as one of our favorites. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon. I find the RXBAR website and Sprouts tend to have the best deals on these bars.

  2. LARABAR minis

    LARABARs have long been a favorite of mine, even before the “bar market” exploded into what it is today. They were early adopters of the simple ingredients list and keeping bars a wholesome source of nutrition. I particularly appreciate that all LARABARs use dates in their base as the source of sweetener, as this makes them tasty to kids without needing to add any additional sugar. While the nutrition facts reads higher in sugar than some other bars, this again is from real food (dates) rather than added sugar, and thus less of a consideration or concern in my book. For parents with small children, I often encourage LARABARs as a safe way to include nuts in a child’s diet. Compared to offering kids bars with large nut pieces or a handful of nuts when active or out and about, I feel more comfortable recommending snacks like LARABARs that offer the nutrition of nuts without the same choking hazard. While I love all of the LARABARs, their LARABAR minis are another great option for small children as one to toss in a lunchbox, have as a light snack, or offer alongside something else. The smaller size helps lessen the situations when your child might only eat half of a bar and then potentially waste the rest. I am unsure if they are phasing out the minis (as they aren’t shown on the LARABAR website), but they have been and will continue to be a favorite here as available. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon. On the LARABAR website (as of this posting), the mini bars do not exist. I continue to see them in stores like Kroger and Target though, as well as on Amazon.

  3. KIND Kids

    If your kids are used to granola bars that more closely resemble a candy bar, this can be a great way to food chain to a healthier alternative. With 5 grams of sugar, this is less than most competitors while also being made with much more natural and nutrient-dense ingredients. There are also some tasty nut-free flavor options that make this a fun “competitive" food” for school (should your kid be like mine and want “what everyone else has”)! Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon.

  4. KIND Healthy Grains Bars

    While a little bigger than the KIND Kids bar, this one still only has 5 grams of sugar per bar. It is a tasty granola-bar option for bigger appetites, bigger kids (or adults, as my husband and I eat these too!), or when a bit more snack is merited. There are several flavor options as well, again with nut-free options that add some variety to snacks for school or after school sports. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon.

  5. Health Warrior Chia Bar

    This chia bar packs several real food ingredients into a small bar, making it perfect for little tummies who need good nutrition in smaller sizes. With only 3 grams of sugar and several flavors to try, this is a great way to go for a granola-bar alternative. My kids love the new chocolate chip flavor! Similar to the texture of a LARABAR, this too is a softer option of bars for kids who might not be able to bite into other bars or need small pieces torn off to eat. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon. Use discount code veggiesvirtue20 for 20% off of first purchase when shopping on healthwarrior.com.

  6. Health Warrior Pumpkin Seed Bar

    These pumpkin bars are organic and made up of simple ingredients (just pumpkin seeds, honey, and spices) and yet taste like a treat! With nut free flavor options, we have found them helpful as a convenient pre-packaged bar option that we can send to school. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon. Use discount code veggiesvirtue20 for 20% off of first purchase when shopping on healthwarrior.com.

  7. Made in Nature Figgy Pops

    Tied with maybe muffins, I live by energy balls as quick and easy options I can eat with one hand while still getting a decent amount of nutrition packed in. Since I am not always able to make them at home though nor do I always have the right ingredients on hand, I have become particularly fond of these Figgy Pops for a pre-made energy bite option. With several flavors and even nut free options, these Made in Nature Figgy Pops are a new mainstay for #momlife and fueling active little kids with healthy AND convenient snack options. Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon.

  8. MySuperSnack Granola Bites

    These include what you love about an oatmeal cookie in a convenient snack-sized shape. With more fat and fiber than most bars on the market, these aren’t the highly refined granola bar option void of the fiber or fat that keep us full. Instead, these granola bites are a tasty way to convert “cookies” into a healthier snack option that is still sweet and satisfying. Shop for in stores or on Amazon.

  9. Nourish Snacks

    These granola bites option are more like a crunchy take on oatmeal cookies than the above granola bite while again packing much more nutrition in than a cookie-esque snack option. Again packing in less added sugar than other granola-based snacks, these granola bites were created by a fellow dietitian mom to satisfy the needs of a nutrient-dense snack while also catering to cravings of a sweet tooth. With a variety of flavors, my girls are really fond of taking a larger back of these Nourish Snacks to share or an individual bag of the nut-free options to school. Shop for in stores or on Amazon. You can select the 1-ounce single serve or 4-ounce snack-to-share size bag when buying on Amazon.

  10. Matt N’ Mikes SuperKid Bar

    The newest bar in the bunch, these bars by Matt n’ Mike have been ones we have really enjoyed. I am fond of the ingredients list being made up of simple, real foods while still being sweet enough and in a size that my kids enjoy. As a smaller business than some of the other bars listed above, these might not be as easily available at the grocery store but they are readily available online. Shop for in stores or online.


Starchy Snacks (Non-Perishable + Packaged)

Often seen as “filler foods,” chips, crackers, and cookies are usually not essentials from a nutritional standpoint. However, they are often impossible to avoid in our diets, especially with kids. So although our goal is to always load up our kids with the most nutrient-dense options (especially when they are young and their stomachs are particularly small), the reality is we also may find ourselves wanting to offer some sweet or savory snacks on occasion.

It is important to not make any foods so forbidden that it becomes something our kids covet. Instead, our kids need to know how all foods fit, including items like chips, crackers, and cookies or other “fun foods” (read more on Fun Foods + Snacks here). Our job as parents is to look for options that allow us to offer better-for-you ingredients in such food options most of the time. I am not the type to instill fear in families for the occasional neon orange puff nor a creme-filled cookie eaten at birthday parties, classroom events, or special outings. I don’t usually recommend families have these on hand as everyday options however, as they can become particularly tempting to eat more often and crowd out other more nutrient-rich options when they’re in the house. When families are looking to find healthier options to have at home and on hand, the following are some that I have found to be both kid-friendly and dietitian-approved.

Here are a few nutritional considerations for how I came to select the following snack chips, crackers, and cookies:

  • Whole Grains: When possible, I always opt for starchy snack foods that contain some whole grains. This will be shown with a label from the Whole Grain Council on the front of packaging, a marketing claim of “X amount of whole grains per serving,” or by viewing the ingredients list to make sure that the first ingredient in a whole grain. Although having a whole grain snack doesn’t necessarily equate to it having more fiber, often times such snacks will still be nutritionally superior by offering more protein, vitamins, and minerals than snack foods made with refined grains. Wondering how much fat your child needs? Read more here >>

  • Ingredients list: Bars and bites are an excellent way to get healthy fats into children without the choking hazard of whole nuts. This fat source in bars also provides satiation, so kids won’t become hungry as quickly after eating. Since children need more fat than hey do protein in their diets, prioritize a bar that offers healthy fat over “protein bars” that might be more intended for adults. Wondering how much fat your child needs? Read more here >>

  • Bonus Ingredients: After seeing a need to make such starchy snack foods more healthy, many food manufacturers are starting to create more nutrient-dense varieties by adding in otherwise nontraditional ingredients to these options. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even legumes are now more commonplace in crunchy, starchy snacks. When possible, parents should opt for starchy snacks that include bonus ingredients (and thus nutritional benefits!).

Top 15 Starchy Snacks (in no particular order):

    1. Nourish Mini Popcorn Chips: Shop for in stores or on Amazon

    2. MySuperCookies Snack Packs: Shop for in stores or on Amazon

    3. Bitsy’s Smart Crackers: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

    4. Bitsy’s Smart Cookies: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

    5. Peeled Peas Please: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

    6. Rhythm Superfood Chips: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

    7. Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt Popcorn: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

    8. Annie’s Whole Grain Bunny Crackers: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

    9. Triscuits Whole Grain Crackers: Shop for in stores

    10. Puffworks: Shop for on Amazon

    11. Hippeas Organic Cheese Puffs: Shop for in stores or on Amazon

    12. Simple Mills Almond Crackers: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

    13. Moon Cheese: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

    14. Crunch-A-Mame: Shop for in stores or on Amazon

    15. Dry Cereal (like Kashi Heart to Heart or Barbara’s Puffins)


Fruit Snacks (Non-Perishable + Packaged)

I am all for getting our fruits and vegetables in, but sometimes fresh options just aren’t realistic. That’s why I often rely on the following non-perishable and packaged options. With only real fruit in the ingredients, no added sugar, ingredients, or food dyes are necessary to make these “fruit snacks” a sweet snack for kids.

Here are a few nutritional considerations for how I came to select the following fruit snacks:

  • Sugar source: Opt for “fruit snacks” that contain only fruit in the ingredients list. Ideally, limit those with added fruit concentrates as these increase the sugar content without offering the same fiber and overall nutritional benefits of whole fruit. Although some parents may be concerned that the sugar content (as shown on the nutrition facts label) appears “high” even in fruit snacks made only with fruit, rest assured this is all naturally occurring sugar from fruit (and not added sugars) and can be used to offer valuable nutrition. Serve as a stand alone snack for a quick energy source (due to the higher amount of sugar/simple carbohydrates), or pair it with something that has a bit of fat, fiber, or protein to give it a bit more staying power.

  • Fiber: Fruit-based snacks tend to be a compact source of carbohydrates for their fruit-based equivalent. Often times, the fiber from the fruit is lost in the processing, so when possible, choose fruit-based snacks that have retained some fiber.

  • Ingredients List: Keep it simple. There should be very few foods on the ingredients list outside of fruit, potentially ascorbic acid (a source of vitamin C that acts as a preservative), and maybe added items like chia seeds (as in the case of the Pressed bars below).

Top 10 Fruit Snacks (in no particular order):

  1. Made in Nature dried fruit: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

  2. Fruit Bliss snack packs: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

  3. Kind Pressed bars: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

  4. Peeled dried fruit: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

  5. Bare apple chips: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

  6. That’s It bars: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

  7. Organic boxes of raisins: Shop for in stores (or put the organic ones in a large bag from Costco into smaller containers)

  8. Chukar Cherries: Shop for online or on Amazon

  9. Freeze-dried fruits: Shop for in stores or on Amazon

  10. Organic Applesauce pouches: Shop for in stores (also at Costco)


Protein-Packed Snacks (Both Perishable and Non-Perishable + Packaged)

One of the best ways to ensure your kids keep asking for more snacks is to offer ones that are full of quick energy and refined carbohydrates (even if natural carbs from fruit) without anything to go with it. If, however, you need to offer a snack with a bit more staying power (more on that here), be sure to add in a protein source so your child stays full longer. Some of the best ways to do this without any extra effort is with the following quick sources of protein.

Here are a few considerations for how I came to select the following protein snacks:

  • Protein: Whether you opt for an option that it plant- or animal-based, any of the following protein options can make a nutritious addition to any snack. If you are only able to grab a bag of carrot or a whole apple otherwise, the following options can round out those snacks to make them both more satisfying and filling.

  • Perishability: Of all the snacks shared, this list is the only one that might include a perishable option. Offer variety on the days you have an ice pack with those that you need a shelf-stable option. An asterisk below denotes the protein options that are non-perishable.

  • Ingredients List: Keep it simple. These should be minimally processed with few added ingredients outside of the obvious protein itself.

Top 10 Protein-Packed Snacks (in no particular order):

  1. Babybel: Shop for in stores (We buy ours at Costco)

  2. Organic Cheese Sticks: Shop for in stores

  3. Good Culture Cottage Cheese cups: Shop for in stores

  4. Horizon Milk Boxes*: Shop for in stores (I find them on sale at Costco often)

  5. Hummus cups: Shop for in stores (We buy ours at Costco)

  6. Hard Boiled Eggs: Shop for in stores (including Costco)

  7. Vermont Uncured Pepperoni*: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

  8. Biena Chickpea Snacks*: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

  9. RX Nut butters*: Shop for in stores, online, or on Amazon

  10. Siggis Yogurt tubes, drinks, or triple cream cups: Shop for in stores

15 Favorite Go-To Homemade Snack Recipes

This list could be just as endless as the aisles of pre-packaged snack foods. I am often asked for recipes to the following though, so I have included our go-to homemade snack recipes as well. You can easily pack up any of these in place of one of the items above and take them with you. This is an ever-changing list in our household, but for now, here are our top ten favorites!

  1. Healthy Carrot Muffins (and others shared on Muffin Club here)

  2. Blueberry Lemon Energy Bites

  3. Chocolate Chip Oat Energy Bites

  4. Peppermint Energy Bites (like these or these)

  5. Green Smoothies (like this one) in a reusable pouch (like this one)

  6. Immune-Boosting Smoothies (like this one) in a reusable pouch (like this one)

  7. Homemade Apple Sauce (like this one but we leave the peels on!) in a reusable pouch (like this one)

  8. Homemade Granola (to add on top of a Siggis yogurt cup!)

  9. Homemade Granola Bar

  10. Avocado Banana Cookies

  11. Baked Oatmeal Bars

  12. Homemade Fruit Leather

  13. Homemade Gummies

  14. Chunky Monkey Bars

  15. Microwave Popcorn

While I am sure these lists will need to be updated and changed over time, I hope that for now they provide a helpful starting place to help you shop for healthier snacks for your family!

The Best Pre-Packaged Snack Foods

When I was a kid, one of our family food rules was I could eat fruit and vegetables anytime I wanted. If it was something else however, I had to ask first.

My childhood best friend (who is still like a sister today) used to think this was so weird. Her house had anything from Dunka Roo's to String Things and every other childhood favorite from of the '90s.

As a kid, I thought this was AWESOME. I loved going over there and knowing all the "fun foods" I would get to eat in total freedom. No asking. No limits. I could eat as much crinkle-packaged, "kid food" as made me content. Even more fun was the novelty of every item being individually-wrapped. My family never bought the single-serve packs of anything, so mini bags of chips, cereal, and cookies seemed to make snack time all the more irresistible.

Now as a dietitian-mom however, I have to admit this kind of permissive food environment makes me cringe. I am not saying this in scrutiny over my dear second mom's decisions, nor to judge any mom out there who currently stocks up on more potato chips than produce. I am saying this because I think there is a reason kids struggle to eat at meal times and yet will snack indefinitely.

There is a lot of power and opportunity in the snack foods we serve our kids. Not only does it/does it not fill their nutritional gaps, but it also sets the stage for how they view snacking and what foods they are more likely to reach more when between meal hunger hits. Allowing too many "fun foods" at snack time while trying to get our kids to eat mainly "everyday foods" at meal times is a mistake.

This post addresses the different types of snack foods, and how pre-packaged, sometimes foods can have a healthy place in your child's diet.


Types of Snack Foods

Remembering the above examples, I think to what balance I want to recreate in my home now as I raise my own kids. I want my daughters to delight in the foods we are fortunate enough to have fill our pantry, fridge, and freezer. More so, I want our daughters to grow up in a food environment that establishes healthy habits. That's something I am forever grateful was instilled in me starting at such an early age. It is something I too seek to repeat for our girls, as they grow and develop their own relationships with food.

Although my parents didn't restrict all pre-packaged foods and allowed us plenty of "fun foods," I feel as though I understood what in fact a "fun food" versus an "every day food" was at an early age because of how they raised me to relate to all foods.

Fun Foods

Fun foods are those that tend to be energy-dense while offering little to no nutritive value. These foods can displace more nutritious foods in the diet when over-consumed; however, it can also backfire when parents are overly restrictive towards these foods. Consider allowing your child to choose one fun food per day, or limiting fun foods to less frequent, special occasions in younger children who may eat less food overall. This may mean such fun foods are included as part of a Love it, Like it, Learning it meal or offered as the occasional special treat. Just remember that when given as a snack, the empty calories of these fun foods may displace other more nutrient-dense options at your child's next meal.

Examples of fun foods are: cakes, cookies, french fries, potato chips, ice cream, soda, candy, and donuts.

Sometimes Foods

Sometimes foods are the foods that offer minimal nutritive value - more so than fun foods but less so than everyday foods. Such foods may include: crackers, These foods may have more healthful alternatives that make them more appropriate everyday options (like making them whole grain or no sugar added), but in general sometimes foods are foods that should not be eaten everyday.

Such sometimes snack foods may include: muffins, sugar-sweetened canned or dried fruit, sugar-sweetened cereal, cheese, processed deli meats, cereal bars, or crackers to name a few. 

Everyday Foods

Everyday foods are the ideal in any diet. While no one has a perfect diet, everyday foods are what everyone should aim to eat more of. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, plant proteins, lean proteins, healthy fats, and dairy are all the pillars to meeting our daily nutritional needs. These should be offered with structure according to Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility in Feeding, but otherwise there should be minimal limits enforced over how much your child consumes of these items.

Examples of everyday snack foods include: fresh fruit, low-sugar added yogurt, veggies, hummus, nuts and seeds, nut butters, and whole grains like some granola, breakfast bars, and crackers.

A Time and a Place for Sometimes Snack Foods

Based on the above descriptions, we know that the ideal is to serve fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins as many chances as we get. These are first and foremost the snacks I recommend to help parents fill in the nutritional gaps in their children's diets.

As a mom with two kids three and under though who are often on the go, I also understand the application for "sometimes" foods. Whether it's the 25 minute drive we face between our country house and the closest grocery store or keeping a small stash in the swim bag for the post-swim lesson snack attack, I feel no shame in sharing - my kids eat out of crinkle packages sometimes too. All the better when they are single-serve also.

I imagine most of you can relate. There are times and places when you need to spring for the single package of snack foods. It can be hard though to stand in the aisles of the grocery store and find something healthy, especially with the stigma of "processed foods." 

That's why I have created this list of My 20 Favorite Pre-Packaged Snack Foods from Target. Get it here!

For this List

I have personally walked through the aisles of Target for hours observing all the snack options specifically so you don't have to. I have absorbed all that overwhelm for you about, "What are the best pre-packaged snack options to buy?" In doing so, I was blown away by the number of "healthy" snack options we have to choose from as moms. As a dietitian, I am concerned over how confusing it is though to make an informed snack choice amidst all the seemingly "healthy" options. There were too MANY snack items I myself may have grabbed in a hurry (i.e. while shopping with my girls) and assumed were healthy options to offer my kids. Because I did this field research without my littles in tow however, I was able to look past the marketing claims on the front of packages and onto the nutritional facts and more importantly, the ingredients list. That's how I narrowed down my list of favorite options to the top 20 I would actually purchase for my own family. 

Of note,  I was looking specifically to single-serve, pre-packaged snack items. Although I saw other healthy options for "pre-packaged" snack foods out there in larger containers that are intended for sharing or serving into snack-size portions at home, these are not included on this list.

This list isn't intended to override or negate the importance of wholesome, "everyday foods" in our familys' diets. This list is intended to be a practical application for the busy family who's doing the best they can to make sensible snack options on the go. The goal of this list is to take advantage of snack times using "sometimes foods," instead of having to stop last minute and splurge unnecessarily on a "fun food."


Save "fun foods" for fun times with family or friends.

Use snack time as the ideal time to fill in nutritional gaps, first with everyday foods (when available). Then, round out on the go eating with some more healthful, pre-packaged snack options like those sometimes foods shared on this list. With the exception of those that may pose a choking hazard to my young children, I otherwise would offer any of these to my own children when in a snack-time pinch and a pre-packaged food is our most realistic option.

Submit using the button below to receive a free printable of my favorite "Sometimes Foods" found at Target! Then, let me know your greatest snack time struggles in the comments below. The more I understand about you and your snack time struggles, the more I am able to tailor content that serves you better.


Thanks for reading, and here's to happy snacking ahead!

My 10 Most Favorite Food-Inspired Homemade Christmas Gifts

We all know the holidays can be an expensive and overwhelming time of year. From family to friends and everyone else, there are a lot of people to think about when it comes to gift-giving. The challenge for all of us though is finding a legitimately good gift for each person on our list, without totally breaking the bank. We don't want to regift unwanted items in attempts to have something/anything to give away, but also it can be both exhausting and expensive to buy something uniquely special and separate for each person.

To solve this seasonal dilemma, I love to make homemade gifts to give out. Besides it being a rather easy and economical option, there are so many creative options in the $5 range. With the homemade element showing a bit of added effort, it can make a rather inexpensive gift seem extra special.

I've compiled the following list with some of my personal favorites. Each are healthier than the usual fudge or cookies in a tin can. Each better, all of these are simple to prepare and easy to scale no matter the number of people you are playing Santa too. 

There is no reason to leave anyone off your list with these homemade Christmas gift ideas:

1. Candied Pecans (Veggies & Virtue): These are becoming my infamous homemade Christmas gift, made with local pecans and the hidden twist of egg whites instead of butter for the sweet, crunchy coating.

2. Flavored Finishing Salts (Mommypotamus): Whether you are looking to give something sweet or savory, these salts are a super simple recipe to share.

3. Smoothie Bowl Coloring Book (Meal Makeover Moms): It is self-print for FREE using the MMM link, then add a box of colored pencils plus little bags of smoothie bowl toppings for a fun gift to any age.

4. Herb-Infused Oils (Free People): Perhaps on the backside of a gift tag, include your favorite way to use the oil!

5. Coffee Stir Sticks (Live Eat Learn): Tie this cinnamon+chocolate stick up with a "this cup is on me" coffee gift card.

6. Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Stir Sticks (mom4real): For the non-coffee drinkers in your life, tuck this in as a fun homemade touch with a cute mug and pack of your favorite hot cocoa mix.

7. Soup in a jar (Good Housekeeping): Moms everywhere enjoy a meal they didn't have to make. Use this lentil soup recipe for an easy, economical alternative to take-out!

8. Chocolate Chip Meringue Drops (Allrecipes): A healthier option for any cookie exchange!

9. Chocolate Peppermint Bites (Milk & Honey Nutrition): For the LARA-bar lover in your life, these will be an unexpected holiday favorite - full of wholesome ingredients and festive flavors.

10. Cranberry Orange Granola (The Foodie Dietitian): Whether served over Siggi's yogurt to start the day or enjoyed as a snack, this granola has seasonal fruits and spices that are sure to hit the spot this holiday.


I may need to extend the Christmas season for another month because I want to make all of these recipes -- to enjoy myself and to share!

What homemade gifts are your go-to's to hand out at Christmas time?

15 Favorite Healthy Stocking Stuffers of 2016

Last year, I collected a list of my 15 Favorite Stocking Stuffers for every little at-home chef. The list was a hit and gave many subscribers new healthy stocking stuffer ideas.

From a mini silicone whisk that my daughter still uses EVERY time we scramble eggs to the 7-ounce size of WeeSprout reusable squeeze pouches, these stocking stuffers proved to get used again and again in our household as well. Now as we gear up for another Christmas, I thought I would share my newest list for our 15 Favorite Healthy Stocking Stuffers of 2016.

1. Freeze-Dried Fruit: Whether you opt to buy full sized bags of freeze-dried fruit from Trader Joe's (my daughter is obsessed with the mango ones) or Just Veggies for any easy finger food for growing infants (and older kids!), I appreciate the non-perishable nature of freeze-dried foods. For stocking specifically, the variety packs are a great item! One, they fit in stockings better than full sized bags. Two, they give your kids a variety of options to try that can be spread out among several stockings. From whatever ones they like, then you can start buying full sized bags of those to toss in the car for an easy, healthy, on the go snack option!


2. Mabel's Labels: I have been a sucker to many different types of labels over the years. From those sold on Groupon to ones that seem like a steal of a deal on Zulily, I have burned through a fair share of labels. Except, doesn't that defeat the point of these? The only reusable labels that actually "stick" to their claims of holding up to heat, the dishwasher, and the wear and tear of daily washing, are Mabel's Labels. We have only used ONE sticker on my oldest daughter's lunchbox for the past year and a half compared to competitors labels not even lasting a month on a bottle for our youngest. It amazes me that in 10 months, we have burned through more labels for our younger daughter (using "off brands") than I have in over 2 years of using Mabel's Labels for our older daughter! I will no longer veer from Mabel's Labels for sales on other brands, but rather be stocking our youngest's stocking with these this Christmas!


3. Pick-ease: Some kids LOVE to use their hands. Others can't stand the feeling of food on their fingers. Regardless of which category your kids fall under, Pick-ease make a fun option for eating finger foods. Used to pick up anything from slippery mango to berries stuck in the "treat circle" of their Yumbox, Pick-ease offer a fun and safe alternative to toothpicks.


4. Lunchbox Love Notes: For the child who is starting to read, these can be the sweetest touch to a lunchbox. While we all may want to write a little note on each kids napkin, the reality is packing lunches and getting out the door each day is enough work as is. Lunchbox Love Notes make it easy on parents, especially for those packing lunches for multiples. With sweet sentiments on one side and fun facts on the other, these offer endless engagement with kids of all ages - with minimal effort required from you, the parent!


5.  Sippy Cups: I have reviewed the Lollacup before here, but these are another sippy cup we have since come to find and love. With a design that comes more highly regarded by experts in speech and feeding therapy, like Melanie Potock, these sippy cups lack the more traditional protruding "spout." Instead, these cups offer 360 degrees of "spout," training your kids young mouth muscles how to drink from more of an open cup than a sippy cup. This is a terrific in between option for kids still learning how to use standard cups and make a solid upgrade to any family's cup cabinet. 


6. Reusable Straws: Whether you are a fan of silicone or stainless steel, investing in a small set of reusable straws is a worthwhile investment. Reducing the waste of standard straws while also improving kids ability to "suck" without biting a traditional straw in the process, these straws are helpful for any smoothie-loving family. For all Lollacup owners, you may also consider getting a new set of weighted straws to put in your kids stocking -- if theirs has seen better days.

$6.95 $19.95

7. Squeeze Pouches: Squeeze pouches are a hit with many ages. By making them a special treat versus an everyday food, squeeze pouches are a fun item to also include in stockings. I personally prefer to make my own using these reusable pouches, so that I can control the quality and quantity of the ingredients. On occasion that I need a non-perishable snack on the go though, these do offer an easy option to keep stashed in the car, diaper bag, or while travelling. My biggest recommendation when choosing however, is to READ THE INGREDIENTS.. Avoid those with added "fruit juice concentrates," which are added, unnecessary sugars. In general, look for ones with less that 12 grams of sugar per pouch (~100-120 grams) and at least 2 g of fiber. Some of my favorites are those by Earth's Best like Wholesome Breakfast Apple Raisin, and Wholesome Breakfast Sweet Potato Cinnamon.


8. Smarty Pants Vitamins: While I don't professionally encourage vitamins for every kid, I do think they hold a valuable role in the diet of more apprehensive eaters -- like mine. This is the only brand that I buy our daughter. With all-natural ingredient, no synthetic colors, flavors, or preservatives. and a unique formulation for meeting kids specific nutritional needs, I appreciate the attention to detail Smarty Pants uses in this vitamin. Because of their third-party testing, I trust that what they claim is actually in this vitamin is really there. Plus, with a lightly sugared, gumdrop-shape vitamin, my daughter doesn't miss the inferior Disney-princess or "more fun" Flinstone vitamin options. She eagerly asks for these vitamins daily, making them one of the most cost-effective options on our Subscribe and Save! In the spirit of Christmas, it should also be said that Smarty Pants makes a matching nutrient grant to Vitamin Angels for every bottle of SmartyPants purchased, giving mothers and children around the world access to lifesaving and life changing vitamins and minerals.


9. Mesh Feeding PouchEnter your about-to-lose-your-marbles-mom here! If you find yourself at home with a fussy, teething tot, these will become your newest best friend. By tucking frozen foods (my daughters like frozen plain yogurt "ice cubes" or frozen fruits best) inside this feeding pouch, your little one can safely gnaw on nutrient-dense options that soothe their gums....and thus save your sanity from the endless screaming. We have tried others, but the loop at the bottom of this one by Munchkin and the flexible mesh bag seems to be the most preferred from my/our family's experiences.


10. Smoothie Coloring Book: I may be a nutrition nerd, but I don't know who could pass up this FREE printable offer from Meal Makeover Moms. You can purchase the printed version on Amazon, or visit the Meal Makeover Moms website to print your own copy for FREE! With healthy smoothie ideas for your whole family plus fun coloring pages for your kids, this is a great way to give kids of any age their first "cookbook" at Christmas!


11. Color the Alphabet Coloring Book: This is another fun and educational option from Meal Makeover Moms. Give your kid the opportunity to learn about fruits and vegetables while engaging with the coloring pages at the same time!


12. Healthy Snacks: Recently, I rounded up a list of my Top 25 Snacks from Target. With so many non-perishable items that become a necessity (when fresh foods aren't available or realistic), enter your email below to get the list with all of my RDN-approved faves.

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When fresh foods aren't an option, don't settle for snacks that may "fill" but fail to actually "feed" your child and their growing nutritional needs. Shop with confidence at Target with this free printable featuring my, 

Top 20 RDN-Approved Pre-Packaged Snack Foods at Target

13: Spoons: Recently, I read a blog post from a respected Speech Therapist titled, "Choosing the Right Spoon for your Baby," I sure wish I had seen it prior to stocking up on spoons with our first! I love how she lists the best options for each and feeding stage. These are my favorite for younger feeders, while I am sure our almost three-year old would go crazy for this set of construction silverware!


14: Magic Milk Straws: These are such a novelty, but I admit, even I think they are so fun. I am not a huge fan of giving my kids flavored milk due to all the added sugar (read: they basically never get it!). These milk straws, however, add the yummy flavored taste that kids love though without all the added sugar. I won't give these as an everyday item, but true to stockings standard fashion, these make a fun addition!


15: Mickey Table ToppersAlthough my 2016 wishlist made a mention to how excited I am to use the ezpz mini mat instead of these table toppers, it would be unrealistic to act like we are never going to need these disposable covers again. From airplane trays to eating out, these disposable table covers are so nice to have on hand. Plus with fun Mickey characters on them, putting these in your kids stocking will make them think THEY are the ones getting the gift. Yay for practical presents that serve to make meal times less stressful and feeding more successful -- for both parents AND kids!



Well, that's all for this year's list! Thanks for scanning through our list of favorites for stocking stuffers. I hope you found it helpful!

Which items are you going to put in your kid's stocking this year?

I'd love to hear in the comments below!



Veggies & Virtue received no compensation for writing this review. However, some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means Veggies & Virtue will earn a small commission when purchases are made using those links. For more info, please visit the Veggies & Virtue disclosure page.

Little Partners Learning Tower Review

Features of the Learning Tower

If you have ever wanted a better way to get your kiddo up to the counter than standing on an unsturdy chair or insufficient stool, the Learning Partners Learning Tower is your golden ticket. By offering a safe, stable, and yet adjustable platform, the Learning Tower is intended to help get children ages 18 months to 6 years old right up in the action. The Learning Tower has foot holes on two of the four sides for your child to help themselves up and down (as able). When standing on the large platform (measures 15" x 18"), you can rest assured that they are safely enclosed from falling while standing with four railings. It adjusts to any counter and child height combo, so your child will not outgrow the Learning Tower until they hit the age when they can be involved standing on their own two feet. Your little one can also invite their very own sous chef to be by their side since the Learning Tower can accommodate up to 500 pounds.

Target Group for the Learning Tower

For families who embrace having their toddlers and kids involved in cooking and activities in the kitchen, the Learning Tower will become an everyday item in your household.

The Main Benefit of the Learning Tower

When my daughter was an infant, I loved having her in the Inglesina Fast Table Chair any time I was in the kitchen and wanted her safely up at the counter with me. As she grew and became more independent, I had yet to find a good solution between any "high-chair equivalent" and a traditional kitchen step stool. I tried sitting on the floor with my daughter or moving everything from the kitchen counter to the dinner table when trying to engage her in cooking or kitchen play. Neither were ideal or sustainable options though as we began spending more and more time in the kitchen together.

When we finally purchased the Learning Tower, an immediate opportunity presented itself. Areas where my daughter had been limited exploring food, engaging in food prep, eating what was being exposed in front of her, and enjoying the sensory play aspect of food and cooking were abolished. By utilizing the Learning Tower, she and I now get to participate in everything from preparing meals to playing with our food on a daily basis. I can't imagine being a pediatric dietitian turned stay-at-home mom without this item in our kitchen!

Practical Details about the Learning Tower

Price: $199.99

Where to buyAmazon or the Little Partners website

The warranty: Little Partners offers a 1 year manufacturers warranty on all Step Stools and Learning Towers.

Delivery time: Usually ~1 week through both Amazon and the Little Partners website

Customer Service: The Little Partners website has several ways to reach customer service. However from personal experience, I spent over a month trying to call, email, and complete online requests forms for a replacement piece with no avail until I reached out to Little Partners on social media. Once my need was addressed, the process to get a replacement piece was quickly tended to.

The Pros and Cons to the Learning Tower


  • Safer alternative to having child(ren) stand on a stool, chair, or learning tower alternative
  • High quality product for anyone looking to invest in a long-term learning tower option
  • Engages child(ren) in learning about food, cooking, their senses, and responsibilities in the kitchen
  • Entertains child(ren) when mom/dad need a few minutes to get a meal ready


  • If space is an issue in your kitchen, tape out what the footprint for the Learning Tower would be. While it is a mobile item that can be moved around as needed, it will take up some space wherever it stands.
  • If you have multiple children who are different heights, they may not both be well-accommodated by the same Learning Tower. While the adjustable platform serves one or two child(ren) of the same age and height range well, it may be too high or too low for young kids who are growing and unable to reach the counter at a universally set platform height. We only have one child so far, so we will see when our next daughter arrives and is old enough how much of an "issue" this really is.

Alternative Products to the Learning Tower

GuideCraft Kitchen Helper ($119): I researched the Little Partners Learning Tower against alternatives at length and most often found it compared against the GuideCraft Kitchen Helper. While the Kitchen Helper is less-expensive than the Learning Tower ($119 vs $199), I felt that the quality of the product was slightly compromised with the lower price-point.
DIY (cost of goods): Neither my husband nor I are especially handy with a hammer nor do we dominate the DIY space, so this option was never highly considered for our home. Initially, I discussed the idea of building a Learning Tower with some friends who do a knack for DIY projects, but realistically it was too large of an undertaking to ask as a semi-immediate favor (ie. to be completed before my daughter turned five). I looked into what it would cost to hire someone to build this item, but the minimal cost savings did not seem financially-advantageous enough to merit the time and energy to secure someone and safety measures sacrificed in the process to make a DIY Learning Tower.

Why I Chose the Learning Tower

My main reasons for choosing the Little Partners Learning Tower boiled down to improved safety, quality of the product, overall reviews and impressions from others, and ability for young kids to use independently (as young kids appear to have a more difficult step and climb up on the Kitchen Helper and DIY alternatives compared to the Learning Tower).

My Final Opinion about the Learning Tower

It took me several months of comparing reviews and heavily considering the value of the Little Partners Learning Tower prior to making the purchase. I have not once regretted the decision, however.

As a mom and wife, I would encourage you to evaluate how this product fits the desires you have for your family with the space demands of your home. If it seems like something that would "fit" (both figuratively and literally), consider asking family members for the Learning Tower on your children's behalf this holiday season. It makes a wonderful gift that your child may be too young to ask for on their own!

As a pediatric dietitian, I would strongly urge anyone interested in getting their young kids more involved in the kitchen to make this product a much-loved addition to their kitchen! If you follow me on Instagram, you will see our Learning Tower is put to use daily and documented often for the "can-do" ability it affords my daughter in the kitchen.



Veggies & Virtue received no compensation for writing this review. However, some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means Veggies & Virtue will earn a small commission when purchases are made using those links. For more info, please visit the Veggies & Virtue disclosure page.

Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knives Review

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Features of Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knives

According to the product website, “The Curious Chef® 3 Piece Nylon Knife Set was created specifically with kids' cooking and kitchen safety in mind. Curious Chef® kids kitchen knives feature a unique nylon serrated blade with a blunt tip that will cut through tough fruits and vegetables but is much safer on skin than a traditional metal blade. Additional safety features include ergonomically designed handles with soft button grips to ensure your little chef will have a firm hold on his or her kids cooking tool.”

This 3 piece kids knife set from Curious Chef® includes a large (10.8" L x 2" W x 0.5" H), medium (9.8" L x 1.8" W x 0.5" H), and small knife (8.8" L x 1.5" W x 0.5" H), all made in the smaller dimensions of a child. All knives are dishwasher safe and BPA Free.

Target Group for Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knives

According to the product website, these knives are intended for children over the age of 4. From personal experience however, I have seen our daughter begin to safely use the smallest knife on soft foods as early as 2.5 years old. Depending on your child’s age and ability, it is important to note that these knives are intended for skill building rather than literal “help” in the kitchen. Parents should always offer adult supervision, guidance, and assistance when these knives are used.

The Main Benefit of Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knives

If you desire to get your child(ren) engaged in the kitchen with age-appropriate tools, this set of kids kitchen knives is a great addition. With a competitive edge over other “miniature” kitchen tools, Curious Chef is intentional about making products for kids to use that are both safe and functional. These knives are designed as part of an overall company mission that Curious Chef has to encourage culinary learning, collaboration, and confidence with kids in the kitchen. Younger kids may begin exploring how to cut soft foods (like bananas) with supervision, guidance, and assistance. As children get older, these knives allow them to demonstrate more independence and autonomy in the meal prep process while assuming their own role and responsibilities with family meals! These knives are a good investment that have several years’ worth of use within family’s who enjoy time spent in the kitchen and the act of cooking together.

Practical Details about Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knives

Price: $8.99

Where to buyAmazon or the Curious Chef website

The warranty: According to the product website, you may return unused products in its original packaging within 30 days of delivery for a full refund on the final purchase price. You may return defective product any time with proof of purchase.

Delivery time: Usually ~2-8 days (with Amazon Prime or the Curious Chef website)

The Pros and Cons to Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knives


  • Promotes culinary learning, collaboration, and confidence with kids in the kitchen
  • Safe and educational way to engage child(ren) in getting ready for meal times
  • More effective alternative to “pretend” kid knives
  • Greater learning applications than child using a standard butter knife


  • White silicone may stain with use
  • Do not produce a clean, smooth cut when used as part of child’s practice

Alternative Products to Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knives

Kai Little Chef Club Children's Stainless Steel Knife ($14.35): This option is a more advanced alternative to the Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knives. With a blade made of stainless steel, this knife is sharp enough to cut. The edges are blunted so children are less likely to be injured by rolling easily off the hand as "cutting edge" and "chin". The blade is about five inches in length with a handle that has been designed smaller for easier maneuverability by kids. 

Opinel Le Petit Chef Knife and Fingers Guard ($49.95): With a total size similar to the smallest of the three Curious Chef Knives, the Opinel Le Petit Chef Knife has ~4 inch stainless steel blade. This knife kit includes a finger guard as well as a knife with a rounded tip and educational ring to help position the fingers and prevent the hand from slipping onto the blade. This knife affords kids the opportunity to learn knife skills and how to take proper safety precautions while cutting. This knife is sharp however, and thus would not be appropriate for younger, less experienced kid chefs or in any circumstance when supervision is limited.

Brisa Bonita Child Knife ($22.62): Closer in size to the largest Curious Chef Knife, the Brisa Bonita Child Knife has a stainless steel blade with a rounded tip. Reviews on this knife boasts the ability to cut like a real knife while also being designed to help beginner chefs gain experience with knife skills and safety. This knife’s blade is sharp enough to cut skin however, so this option is intended for older children and/or those with more supervision and advanced knife experience.

StarPack Nylon Kitchen Knife Set ($8.95): As a price-competitive alternative to the similar set by Curious Chef, StarPack knives sell themselves as a nylon knife option. Built in size to be used by smaller hands, this set includes three sizes similar to the Curious Chef set. The nylon blade has a serrated edge to help cut food without the safety concern of how stainless steel blades may cut than skin.

Kuhn Rikon Kinderkitchen Dog Knife ($10.00): The Kinderkitchen Dog Knife is a safe option for younger chefs with less experience in the kitchen. The blade is sharp enough to cut soft food but not small fingers. With the body designed to look like a dog, this is a cute and yet effective option when first introducing your young child to how to cut food. The blade may lack the ability to cut through more firm foods however, so this product does not specifically teach children knife safety nor allow them to grow with the item to advance their skills, as able.

Why I Chose Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knives

Given the age of my child (now almost 3), stainless steel kids knives were far beyond her ability. I bought the Curious Chef Kids Knife Set so that she would be able to use them immediately while maintaining a safer learning experience (to stainless). While I like the introductory ability of Kuhn Rikon knives for young kids, I like how Curious Chef affords more opportunity for advancing with a child’s age and budding knife abilities. I think the StarPack Nylon knives would offer similar advantages and incentives to those we purchased.

My Final Opinion about Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knives

As a mom and dietitian, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I enjoy the opportunity to have a safe way to engage my daughter in the experience of meal times by preparing foods alongside me. Starting her just after the age of two, there are obvious limitations in skill at this young of an age. That to say, the interest in food and cooking and the eagerness to learn is present and not to be postponed. For this reason, the Curious Chef Kids Kitchen Knife set has been an opportunistic investment for our kitchen. With many ways to begin knife skill development at an early age, these knives also afford open dialogue about knife and kitchen safety. I would recommend this product to any family who spends time in the kitchen and values the opportunity to supervise, encourage, and guide such skill development as that of knife skills.



Veggies & Virtue received no compensation for writing this review. However, some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means Veggies & Virtue will earn a small commission when purchases are made using those links. For more info, please visit the Veggies & Virtue disclosure page.