Approximately one third of your child’s nutrition comes from snacks, it is important to make them count. It can be hard to find the balance between feeding kids healthy snacks and giving in to their culinary desires to keep the peace. If your schedule is anything like mine (and every other parent I know) you may not have time to make homemade whoopie pies out of beet juice and spinach, and even if you did, you would be rewarded with nasty comments, dirty glares and inevitably a meltdown if an alternative snack was not offered. So, lets save the time and beet juice and make some quick snacks that kids will eatJ
At a minimum, kids should have five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. In order to achieve this goal, fruits and vegetables need to be included with snacks and accessible to children. Healthy foods should be offered to growing kids about every 3 hours. One way to avoid the nagging of kids and their hunger is to have foods you are comfortable with them eating, in locations they can access them on their own. Consider keeping a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table where young eaters can help themselves to apples, bananas, pears, grapes and oranges. Dedicate a lower kitchen cabinet to kid snacks such as raisons, whole grain crackers, nuts (if safe for your child), granola, the types of foods you typically say “yes” to. For taller children, an area in the refrigerator with fresh cut vegetables, cheese and low sugar yogurt.
Whole foods are best for kids and easiest for us to prepare. Here are 10 healthy and quick snack options:
- Fresh cut vegetables with dip: carrots, cucumbers, peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower with salad dressing or hummus
- Fruit parfait: natural yogurt (dairy or non-dairy) with fresh fruit and granola
- Apples/ celery and peanut butter (or seed butter)
- Cut bananas topped with peanut butter (or seed butter) or yogurt and raisons
- Fruit and cheese kabobs
- Popsicles made with real fruit juice or fruit and yogurt blends
- Blue corn chips with fresh guacamole and salsa
- Milk (dairy or non-dairy) with graham crackers
- Triscuits with cheese and tomato or cucumber slices
- Whole wheat tortilla with melted cheese (quesadilla) with side of fresh melon
If you have time to bake, or put ingredients together consider making more than one batch and freezing for future quick options:
- 5 Ingredient Granola Bars @ minimalistbaker.com/healthy-5-ingredient-granola-bars
- Healthy oatmeal cookies or oatmeal bars
- Whole grain muffins (lemon poppy seed, carrot, blueberry, apple)
- No bake vegan apricot energy bars @ myfoodandhappiness.com/no-bake-vegan-apricot-energy-bars
- Baked potato wedges, or sweet potato fries, beet or kale chips (best when fresh and still warm)
Prepackaged snack tips:
- Look for just a few ingredients. I like Triscuits because they have just 3 ingredients.
- Avoid TBHQ and other preservative that have been linked to behavior and health concerns in children
- If it is labeled as a Fruit Snack but fruit is not the first ingredient, it should not be included as one of the 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid artificial flavors and colors.