Autism Food List - Snack Ideas

  • Autism Food List - Snack Ideas

Life can be crazy at times, and planning healthy snacks is often forgotten in the busyness of life.  That’s okay - we’ve got some snack ideas that you can add to your autism food list.  From no-prep, to grab-and-go, to easy recipes, we’ve got you covered!  First, let’s look at what makes up a balanced snack.

How To Make A Healthy Snack

A good snack is a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.  Ideally, you’d have all three of those in moderate amounts, but even 2 of the 3 would be good.  Many parents are searching for a beneficial diet for an autistic child, and snacks are a big part of that.  One easy way to make a healthy snack is to choose a carbohydrate first, like apple slices, and then add something with protein and fat, like almond butter, to go with it.  We’ll give more examples of balanced snacks below!

What Foods Are Good For Autism?

Children with autism often are deficient in certain nutrients, so we want to make sure to focus on the foods that are most beneficial for autism.  While there’s no one diet for an autistic child, there are some foods that can help improve behaviors and symptoms associated with autism.


For children with autism, gut health has a huge impact on quality of life.  Recent studies have indicated a relationship between the gut microbiota and severity of autism. [1] One way to improve gut health is to include a variety of prebiotics, or dietary fiber, in the diet.  This helps beneficial bacteria to grow and prosper in the gut.  Snacks are a great place to add in a little extra fiber from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.


Since autism is partly a brain-related disorder, it is helpful to focus on foods that promote brain health.  Omega-3 fats play a big role in reducing inflammation in the brain, and have been shown to help with hyperactivity in children with autism. [2]  While fatty fish, like salmon, are one of the best sources of omega-3’s, they aren’t always a kid favorite.   Luckily, there are other good sources like flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts.  These can be mixed into smoothies, homemade energy balls or granola bars, or sprinkled onto yogurt. 

What Foods Are Bad For Autism?

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to diet for an autistic child, but there are some foods and ingredients that seem to affect autistic children more than others - see this blog post on a GFCF Diet for Autism.  In general, we recommend avoiding gluten, dairy, food dyes, and excess added sugars.  You also may want to avoid soy, corn, and nuts, especially if you think your child is sensitive to them.  The snacks we included below are free from the most common food triggers, so you can add them to your autism food list with confidence.

Grab And Go Snacks

  • Sunbutter and celery sticks

  • Trail mix: Pumpkin seeds, raisins, and gluten-free cheerios

  • Hard-boiled egg

  • Carrots and hummus

  • Dairy-free yogurt

  • Rice cakes with nut or seed butter

Packaged Snack Ideas

Easy Snack Recipes

Snacks are such an easy way to add a little extra nutrition to your child’s diet.  Adding some additional fiber, vitamins, and minerals can make a big difference over time, so if your kiddo is resistant to trying new things, maybe start with adding some of these ideas along with a snack your child already loves.  Choose out your favorite snack ideas from the list above, and get started!


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