Kids Will Be Kids
One thing that most kids have in common is the fact that they love to snack. My kids come home from school as if they have not had a meal all day.
As parents, it is our job to have healthy choices for kids to chose from when the urge to snack hits. If healthy choices are not around, then kids will chose the snack that is filled with wasted calories and no nutritional value.
Succumbing To The Snacking Desire
I know the urge to snack is not going to go away in my kids any time soon, so I compiled the ten best snacks that I could make available for my kids.
My goal was to find snack foods that are tasty, easy to make, and provide the necessary nutrition to keep energy levels high and minds alert. In all actuality, it is the nutritional value mixed with a little personal preference that would make up your own ‘Best Snacks' list. This list is a pretty good start!
These snacks are on my top 10 list right now, but I would love to hear healthy kid-friendly snack suggestions. I know that the possibilities are endless, but it does take a little planning. In the end, it is worth it to give our kids the healthy foundation that they need to get a great start in life.
Now, go make something healthy for your kids!
Healthy Snacks For Kids
*These items are listed in no particular order.
Cheese has a great deal of protein beneficial to our young people. It pairs nicely with salt-free pretzel sticks and fruit. Although cheese has positive qualities, it is the number two source of heart damaging saturated fat in children's diets according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. So, moderation is key. It is important to choose reduced fat cheeses like Trader Joes' Armenian Style Braided, Borden or Sargento Light Mozzarella String Cheese, or Kraft Twist-Ums.
Peanut Butter is full of great protein and fiber. A great snack to make with peanut butter is Ants On A Log. This is an excellent treat that the kids can help make. Simply take some celery sticks and cut them to your desired lengths. Smooth peanut butter on each of them. Next, place some raisins on top of the peanut butter. Voila, now you have Ants on A Log! The kids have an excellent time making this extremely healthy snack.
Whole Grain Cereal
Whole grains are full of vitamins, calcium, and fiber. Although most kids eat plenty of grain products, they are not coming from the right places. Too many of the grains are coming from cookies, snack cakes, sugary cereals and other refined grains that are high in sugars and fat. Try serving whole grains like Whole Wheat English Muffins, breakfast cereal like Cheerios, crackers like Triscuits, and low fat granola bars.
Veggie quesadilla pockets can be a winner with kids. As a parent, you can fill them with beans, salsa, and all of the veggies of your choosing. Tomatoes are full of lycopene, the beans are full of fiber, and by adding corn you can get in some folate. This is another treat that the kids can participate in making.
Low fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Look for brands that are low-fat or fat free with only a moderate amount of sugars. What I have learned is that they should have no more than 30 grams of sugars in a 6 oz cup. Some good examples are Danimals Drinkable Low Fat Yogurt and Go-Gurt by Yoplait.
Sweet Potato Chips
Nutritionist are giving sweet potatoes higher marks then white potatoes because of all of the nutrients packed in to one sweet potato. This great root vegetable is packed with vitamin A, B6, C, folate, and fiber. Baking Sweet Potato Chips are an excellent alternative to a regular, greasy bag of chips.
I have seen some great recipes for hummus lately. For those of you not eating hummus yet, it is simply pureed chick peas. Sometimes, kids may be thrown off by how it looks, but it makes a great dip for veggies or spread for sandwiches.
Try Sarah Kaiser's recipe for Homemade Hummus You Can Eat With A Spoon.
One of my families favorite snacks are fruit smoothies. We are able to get as creative as we would like with this treat. The kids feel like chefs as they throw items into the blender. They have an awesome time deciding on the ingredients, the consistency, and what fun glass to put it in. I always try to include a nonfat yogurt and a combination for fresh and frozen fruit. I also like to add in honey that I have picked up at the local farmer's market.
This is another easy and fun snack to throw together. This is great to make for the kids snack at school or for after school activities when you need something quick. By tossing together some nuts, pretzels, whole grain cereal, raisins, and maybe a few M&Ms just to splurge a little, you've created a healthy treat. You can also add low fat granola, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruits. This snack can be different every time you make it. Nuts are a great source of magnesium, iron, and zinc, but be careful when you are making this snack for a group of kids. There are a lot of kids with nut allergies.
My kids love oatmeal in the morning for breakfast. I know that this is a meal that will provide them with a great supply of fiber for healthy digestion and sustained energy throughout the day. You can even add raisins, cranberries, dried apricots, and/or nuts to boost the nutritional value.