Healthy Snacking Ideas For Your KidsDecember 8, 2017
Do your kids come home from school absolutely ravishing? Or, do they play a sport, and require extra energy and nutrients when they arrive home? I know, my kids are sometimes so hungry that they want to rip apart my fridge and cupboards looking for just about anything and everything to eat! Kids are growing, active and full of energy. They need healthy meals and snacks to fuel their bodies. However, fueling little bodies with whole, unprocessed foods that are not jam-packed with sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats may be a challenge to some people. With the constant media bombardment and easy access to pre- packaged snack foods, many kids today, are getting an overabundant amount of highly processed foods that are marketed as healthy snacks. Kids are need nourishment of whole grains, healthy fats, lean proteins, vitamins and minerals.
In our house, “Golfishies”, “Bear Paws” and “Ritz crackers” are NOT a snack. These are treats, consumed on occasion (I do believe that a healthful diet can incorporate everything in moderation). It is possible to feed our kids healthy snacks while still making it fun and appetizing. Here are my go to snacks for my family.
1. Vegetables and Fruit should be included in most or all snacks. From my experience in nutrition counselling, kids (and adults) are not getting enough fruits and vegetables. People tend to forget that these can be and should be snacks. Vegetable and fruit are healthy, portable, convenient and chockfull of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So, make it fun and interesting:
-Veggie and fruit platter. This is my most simple and favorite go to snack. I prep this in advance when I’m able to. This can be part of your weekly meal prep, which I highly encourage. I wash and chop a whole large platter full of variety of fruits and vegetables. I recommend to all my clients to have this waiting for kids when they arrive home from school. It’s colorful, healthy and easy. If you offer it when your kids are most hungry, like after school, or hockey practice they will be more likely to eat it. Also, get in on the fun and eat with them! Kids learn by observing us. So, if you eat your veggies, they likely will too. If you are in a rush, you can use easy fruits and veggies that don’t require cutting. Such as, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, blackberries, baby carrots, pre-chopped cauliflower and broccoli.
-Apple with a nut butter. Try peanut butter, or almond butter. For kids allergic to nuts, use sunflower seed butter.
-Veggie and hummus dip. Cut up veggies such as carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli and peppers and dip with hummus. Or get creative and use beet hummus (YUM), white bean hummus- there are many varieties.
-kale chips These can be homemade by chopping kale into bite size pieces, toss with olive oil and a little salt, and bake at 350F for about 10-15 minutes or until edges are brown). My kids devour these!
-Apple chips. These can be store bought or homemade. These have only 1 ingredient: Apples!
-Fruit and veggie smoothies and smoothie bowls. (This will get in some dairy too!). For a simple smoothie, blend together milk, banana, and frozen fruit. I stock my freezer with frozen fruit on a regular basis. You can also check out some other smoothie recipes in the recipe section of this website.
-Tomatoes and cucumber drizzled with Olive oil. This snack may not be a traditional kid friendly snack, but my kids love it! The idea for this snack came after our trip to Greece. It’s delicious and you get a dose of heart healthy oils.
2. Roasted nuts and seeds. We tend to use roasted walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. I buy them raw and roast them at home. While each nut has a different nutrient composition, they each have some beneficial nutrients. Nuts and seeds are rich sources of heart-healthy fats, fiber, plant protein, essential vitamins and minerals, and other bioactive compounds, including an array of phytochemicals. A good snack could be some fruit and some nuts.
3. Yogurt, yogurt parfaits, homemade yogurt bark: A simple serving of greek yogurt, topped with fruit and a sprinkle of granola can be a great and satisfying snack. Another fun idea is to spread yogurt on a pan lined with parchment paper, add frozen berries (you can also add a bit of honey, or shredded coconut) and spread thin. Freeze for 2-4 hours.
4. Homemade energy balls, muffins and granola bars. I make healthy versions of muffins energy balls, and granola bars, all with wholesome and healthy ingredients. I double or triple batches of these and freeze them. The store bought versions are generally quite high in sugar, so I don’t buy them. So, if you have time on a Sunday afternoon, get baking! They are easy for school lunch snacks too. Here is an energy ball recipe to try: http://ohsheglows.com/2013/07/29/super-seed-chocolate-protein-bites/
5. Chia seed pudding. Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid and fiber and contain protein and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Chia pudding can easily be homemade. Here is a great recipe that I have used. http://ohsheglows.com/2015/07/22/basic-chia-seed-pudding/
6. Wholegrain toast with nut butter, hummus, cheese. For a larger snack, perhaps after a tiring sport, a healthy and simple snack is simply a toast with a topping. If you are using peanut butter as a topping, be sure to buy the natural version that contain only peanuts. Some brands of peanut butter contain unhealthy fats when processed. You want to stay away from “hydrogenated”, or “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list. Other nut butters, hummus or cheese are great choices for toppings as well. Health Canada will be banning hydrogenated fats by September 2018.
7. Roasted chick peas. These can be homemade or store bought. While I don’t encourage the consumption of many processed foods, these roasted chick peas by The Good Bean have a short list of ingredients and a decent nutrient profile. So, if you don’t have time for the homemade version, then the store bought ones will do. Here is an easy recipe for Roasted nuts http://ohsheglows.com/2010/08/03/easy-salt-vinegar-roasted-chick-peas/
8. A snack platter! Combining a variety of these snacks on a large plate is an enjoyable way for kids to get a variety of foods and nutrients. So, combine some roasted nuts, some veggies and dip, some fruit and some cheese cubes. My kids love it when I offer them a combination platter!
Having healthy snacks available to our kids is half the battle. So, prepping on a quiet Sunday and stocking snacks in the freezer or pantry is a great way to ensure that your kids have proper nutritious snacks when you have a busy week of work, homework and after school activities.