10 Healthy Snacks For Kids
Snacking might seem like a pretty trivial thing to some. Why would anybody worry about healthy snacks for kids? Shouldn’t a cookie or a bag of chips just do the work? It’s not a real meal after all, right? It is just a way of holding off a bit from one main meal to the next (or even a way to entertain the little ones with some finger foods).
Life would be simpler if that was true but the reality is that, for children, snack time is extremely important. Ideally, these small meals will make up for any nutrition missing in the rest of the day.
Good food is a right, not a privilege; it brings children into a positive relationship with their health, community, and environment. ~ Alice Waters (Tweet this)
Also, let’s not kid ourselves, if you have a toddler, can you really distinguish between lunch and a midday snack by the quantity eaten? They can become really picky eaters and parents are usually working hard to make sure the right food ends up in their tummies instead of all over the table (and surrounding areas). Plus, if you keep your little one from becoming hungry you will reduce tantrums, and we all need less of those.
The hardest part for me about healthy snacks for kids is not even the understanding of what a healthy snack is, but coming up with ideas of yummy stuff they won’t instantly reject.
So I decided to think about it for a bit and made a list of quick, easy, and healthy snacks for kids. I posted the list on the refrigerator and this way, every time snacktime rolls around I could come up with something in a blink! It also works as a reminder when making the grocery list. If I keep the unhealthy stuff out of the house there is zero chance of it making it into their diet, or mine… except when visiting grandma, but that’s another story.
My list of healthy snacks for kids:
I am sharing my list with you. Most ingredients can be used in different ways and combined to create different snacks, so be creative! I purposely picked easy to find ingredients so that you don’t have to make a trip to a specialty store and buy expensive food that might or might not get thrown around on occasion (I have a 20-month old, so I am speaking from experience. Your kid might be past the phase of food wars). Oh! And one extra tip: presentation is key! Hope it helps.
- Trail Mixes: you can make your own healthy version at home. Leave out choking hazards like peanuts for the youngest ones, and do not add anything you know will stay at the bottom of the bag. You can combine different nuts, pretzels, whole grain cereal, popcorn, banana chips and more. If you want to add a bit of chocolate make sure it is dark.
- Fruit and veggies anything: When in doubt about healthy snacks always go to fruits and veggies. Other than eating them as Mother Nature intended you can use cookie cutters to give them fun shapes, you can bake chips out of them, mix them with cheese, or you can have some fun searching for recipes such as baked zucchini fries.
- Yogurt mix cups: Low-fat, natural yogurt mixed with granola, fresh fruit, or whole grain cereal is usually a hit. You can buy the yogurt already sweetened but a healthier alternative could be to add a bit of honey or natural brown sugar instead. Fruit and cottage cheese are also a great-tasting combination.
- Yogurt Smoothies: A great alternative for hot days is smoothies made of low-fat, plain yogurt and frozen fruit. On especially hot days put it in the ice tray (or a few slim glasses), add a stick and voila, you have healthy popsicles!
- An Apple a Day: There are lots of healthy snacks for kids you can do with apples. Cut them in slices and add some almond butter (better than peanut butter). Or bake them either in the oven or microwave, add a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar for a delicious snack. It’s like eating apple pie filling, yum! You can also try using other fruit, such as pears or peaches.
- Frozen Bananas: My husband loves this one, just peel the banana and freeze. You can eat them just like that, or you can add a stick (prior to freezing) and cover them with a bit of dark chocolate. If you are more a fan of soft ice cream you can make some by blending the frozen bananas (cut them into small pieces first) with some almond butter and milk. Depending on how thick you make it you can have a smoothie or creamy ice-cream.
- Chips and salsa: If you ABSOLUTELY MUST go this route, fresh homemade salsa and chips are the best. If you can only use the store-bought stuff, however, choose wisely and go for the ones that use only natural ingredients. Guacamole is also great; the fats in the avocado are healthy ones. Hummus and pita bread instead of chips is a great alternative. Remember that you are also allowed to have the same snacks, in fact, it is your duty as a good parent not to let anything go to waste! You’re welcome.
- Ants on a stick: Well, not really ants but raisins, and the stick is celery, but you have to make it sound more fun than it is. You put a bit of almond butter on it and put the raisins on top. This one I learned back when I was a summer camp instructor at the Los Angeles Zoo. We showed the kids videos of how chimpanzees use a long stick to get termites and ants out of their mounds for a feast and then the idea of eating celery was all of the sudden just the best. This is something you can definitely try at home. Also, try graham crackers with almond butter and sliced bananas (it was a popular snack at the same ape-themed camp).
- Tortilla craze: Much better than regular bread, tortillas are very versatile. You can make savory roll ups with turkey and cheese, make sweet ones by filling them with bananas, peanut butter, and yogurt, or even make a super quick quesadilla by melting some cheese and perhaps adding some chicken for protein and some guacamole for dipping.
- Crackers and Company: you can make a delicious and nutritious spread by mixing canned tuna or chicken with a bit of mayo and mustard (you can even skip the mayo and still tastes good). To reduce the sodium on the canned chicken you can rinse it out with some water prior to mixing. Spread it over the crackers or even some slices of toasted, whole-grain bread for an energy-packed snack.
These are just some ideas, but they could actually act as a trigger for your own ideas to start flowing. Don’t be scared of experimenting a bit with flavors. Most kids just like kiddy foods because we predispose them that way, but if you dare and lead by example they would try more things and variety is key when it comes to a healthy diet.
If we don’t take care of our bodies, where are we going to live? ~ Unknown (Tweet this)
Do you have any recipes for healthy snacks for kids you can share with us? They might end up making their way to the list on my refrigerator.