Healthy Snacks for Children
Umbrellas in Fruit
Forget the Milk and Cookies
Gone are the days when we think acceptable children's snacks, when arriving home from school, are milk and cookies. We are much smarter than that now. Loading up our kids with fats and sugars just makes them fat, pimply, and hyper.
Snacks That Are Fun
So, what should we give them for a snack? How do we get them to eat those healthy snacks? Here are some simple options.
- Make it fun. The boys in the picture were so excited to get the toothpick umbrellas in their pineapple chucks, that they chose those over junk snacks at a party. (Toothpicks are not recommended for toddlers.)
Keep the Snacks Healthy
- For fun and variety, take your bananas, slice them, then add a nut butter topping. This also works well with apple and pear slices.
- Before a party or holiday dinner, my mother would always give us celery stuffed with nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew butter). We loved them because it was for us on a special day.
- Kabobs are another fun idea for children's snacks. Using a thin straw, give your child chunks of soft fruit like bananas, cherries, melon, orange slices, and/or strawberries. Let them spear their fruit onto the straw skewer. Take a picture of their creation to make it special. This works well with children between the ages of 3 and 8.
Creative Children's Snacks
- Many fruits can be frozen like watermelon, grapes, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cantaloupe, and cherries. They are great right out of the freezer or can be used in making frozen drinks.
- Great for a hot summer day is a banana popsicle. Cut your banana in half, crosswise, then put a popsicle stick into it from the flat section. Freeze the banana, then serve. Organic bananas are sweeter and work better for this treat.
- Frozen juice popsicles are also simple to make. Mix fruit juice and with chunky pieces of sweet fruit, put into popsicle containers or small paper cups, add popsicle sticks and freeze.
- Trail Mix is easy to make. Grab some nuts, seeds, and dried fruit at the supermarket, then combine at home. This way you can get exactly the mix you want.
- Stuffed dates are one of my favorite treats. Soak some almonds overnight to soften, then drain and rinse. Slit the date lengthwise on one side and remove seed. Insert almond, top with cashew butter, then roll the cashew top in coconut. Delicious! Children who have never tasted dates will think the date is candy.
- Shakes and smoothies can also be healthier by using one of the tasty milk substitute products (almond, rice, soy, coconut) in supermarkets today. Put the beverage into a blender and add chunks of fruit. Frozen bananas work wonderfully well. You may also want to add a little vanilla. Then, blend to a smoothie or shake consistency.
- Slushes are just as easy. You can purchase a bag of frozen fruit at your supermarket. Mix juice and frozen fruit for a healthy slush.
- Whole wheat muffins topped with a nut butter and sliced fruit are another good and filling way to tame the sugar monster.
- Pinwheels are simple and just look like fun! Take a flour tortilla; spread it with a nut butter; spread it with a thin layer of sugar-free apple butter (opt.); then top with small berries or small chunks of fruit. Roll and slice crossways.
Would you buy a healthy-snack book to learn about more healthy snacks?
Are these children's snacks healthy? Although it is true that nuts and coconut do contain fat, they are a healthy fat, unlike the hydrogenated fat (and refined sugar) found in cookies. We are what we eat. Healthy food makes healthy children.
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