This is the time of year when kids are home from school, and the focus is what are they going to do all day? Eating is a big part of their activities, and that makes finding healthy snacks an important piece to the puzzle. Authority Nutrition has provided a great article on great snacks for kids. Let's dive in!
Yogurt is an excellent snack for kids because it’s a good source of protein and calcium. Calcium is especially important for kids’ developing bones. Some yogurts also contain live bacteria, which benefit the digestive system. Most yogurts marketed to kids are high in sugar. Instead, choose plain, full-fat yogurt and sweeten it with fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey. However, make sure not to give honey to infants under 12 months old, as they may develop a serious disease called botulism.
You might consider popcorn to be a junk food, but it’s actually a nutritious, whole grain food.
As long as you don’t drown it in unhealthy toppings, popcorn can be a healthy snack for kids. Air-pop your own popcorn, drizzle it with a little butter and sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top. However, use caution when offering popcorn to younger children, as it can be a choking hazard.
3. Celery With Peanut Butter and Raisins
Celery with peanut butter and raisins, which is sometimes called “ants on a log,” is a fun way to get your child to eat a vegetable. Cut a stalk of celery into three or four pieces, then spread peanut butter inside the celery. Arrange a few raisins on top of the peanut butter. These three foods combined provide a good balance of carbs, protein and fat.
Nuts are high in healthy fats, along with fiber and antioxidants. Dietary fat is important for supporting growth in children. Doctors used to recommend withholding nuts from children due to the risk of an allergic reaction, but more recent evidence suggests that introducing nuts at an early age lowers the risk of this. Nevertheless, nuts can be a choking hazard, so make sure your child is able to handle the texture before giving nuts as a snack.
5. Trail Mix
As long as your child is not allergic to nuts, trail mix is a healthy snack for kids to eat on-the-go.
Most commercial trail mixes contain chocolate candies, which are high in sugar, but you can easily make your own trail mix at home. For a healthier version, mix nuts, dried fruit and a whole grain cereal.
6. Sliced Pears With Ricotta Cheese
Pears are a sweet treat and easy for a little one to eat when they’re cut into slices. Pears are high in fiber and beneficial plant compounds. Spread each slice with ricotta cheese to add a yummy source of protein and calcium to your child’s snack.
7. Fruit Smoothie
A fruit smoothie is a good way to pack a lot of nutrients into a small snack.
You can also add veggies to a smoothie. With the sweetness of the fruit, children might not even realize they’re in there.
Use whole, fresh ingredients in your smoothie and avoid fruit juice, which is high in sugar.
There are countless combinations you can try, but here is one smoothie recipe to get you started:
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Makes four servings.
8. Banana Oat Cookies
Homemade banana cookies are a healthy snack for kids, and they taste like a treat.
These cookies get their sweetness from mashed bananas, rather than refined sugar. Refined sugars are associated with health problems in children, such as increased risk factors for heart disease, childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Banana Oat Cookies
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place spoonfuls of the cookie mixture onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15–20 minutes at 350°F (about 175°C).
9. Energy Balls
Energy balls taste like cookie dough, but they’re made with nutritious whole ingredients.
You can make these snacks with either ground flaxseeds or whole chia seeds, both of which are a source of fiber, protein and antioxidants.
They’re a healthier alternative to commercial granola bars, which are usually high in sugar and artificial ingredients.
1 cup of oats
1/3 cup of unfiltered honey
1/2 cup of almond butter
1/2 cup of ground flaxseed or whole chia seeds
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup of dried fruit
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll the mixture into small balls and refrigerate. For a treat, replace the dried fruit with chopped dark chocolate chips.
10. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet potatoes are one of the richest sources of vitamin A, a nutrient that contributes to healthy eyes and skin. Homemade, baked sweet potato fries are a nutritious alternative to french fries.
Sweet Potato Fries
1 fresh sweet potato
1 tsp of olive oil
Peel and slice the sweet potato. Toss the potato in olive oil and sprinkle it with sea salt. Bake on a cookie sheet at 425°F (218°C) for 20 minutes.
Take Home Message
Many kids get hungry between meals.
A healthy snack can provide kids with energy and help them get the nutrients they need on a daily basis. Offer your kids whole, unprocessed foods at snack time instead of pre-packaged snack foods.
I hope you are so excited about 2017! Merry Christmas!! Enjoy your time of rest with friends and family.
I am with you and in your corner!