Ten Delicious and Healthy Snacks for Children
Help Kids Eat Healthy
Making sure that children eat a healthy diet for their growing bodies is a concern parents share. Proper nutrition is important for maintenance of weight and other health related issues i.e. diabetes and cholesterol. Providing children with healthy snacks is an important way to fill the hunger gap between meals, while introducing them to nutritious food choices. It is helpful to discuss nutrition and why it is essential for good health. This knowledge helps children to take responsibility for their eating habits.The following are ten suggestions for delicious and healthy snacks that kids enjoy eating, and some tips on why they are good for you.
Ten Delicious and Healthy Snacks for Children
1. Home Made Trail Mix
Homemade trail mix will provide a spectrum of nutrients from the protein in the nuts to the antioxidants in the raisins and dried fruit. Choose whole grain cereals to add to the mixture for extra energy and fibre. Take children to a bulk food store and let them create their own version of trail mix. Make it many different ways using a combination of nuts, whole grain cereals, seeds, and dried fruit.
2. Smoothies and Frozen Fruit Bars
Yogurt blended with juice and chunks of fresh fruit makes the perfect smoothie. Yogurt has active bacterial cultures that support the digestive system and help build a strong immune system. Make sure the words live or active are used to describe bacteria in the list of ingredients. Yogurt also supplies the body with calcium and protein for strong bones and muscles. Adding fresh fruit gives a valuable dose of antioxidants. Mixed with crushed ice smoothies make a refreshing drink, or freeze the mixture to make frozen fruit bars. These healthy bars make a cool and colourful snack on a hot summer day.
3. Homemade Chewy Bars
For the same reasons that trail mix is a great snack choice, homemade chewy bars offer the same spectrum of nutrients from whole grains to fruits and nuts. Making the bars high in fibre is an important consideration for keeping the digestive track healthy. Adding 100% bran to the mixture provides a real boost of fibre goodness. The same way rice crispy squares are held together is the way to make a great chewy bar. Melted marshmallow are used to hold the trail mix ingredients together. Simply follow the instructions for how to make rice crispy squares and substitute the dry ingredients. It takes some muscle to mix these chewy bars but they are worth it. Chocolate chips are always a yummy addition.
4. Cheesy Quesadillas
Cheese is a great snack and contains a very high concentration of essential nutrients including high quality proteins and calcium. There are also other elements in cheese such as phosphorous, zinc, vitamin A, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. To make a cheesy Quesadilla (big round grill cheese) simply place shredded cheese between two pieces of lightly buttered whole grain flatbread and grill until golden. Dip in sour cream. Ketchup is another favourite. Add diced pepper, onion, or other ingredients if desired.
5. Healthy Baked Muffins
If you are only going to learn how to make one baked good then muffins are your most practical choice. The goodness that can be packed into a muffin is enough to satisfy the hungry of any kid. Secret additions to muffin mixes that make them extra nutritious include: using whole wheat flour, adding wheat germ, reducing sugar and substituting with apple sauce or banana. The health benefits of wheat germ are enormous. It is a grain fortified with vitamin E, folic acid, phosphorus, thiamine, zinc, magnesium and essential omega-3 fatty acids and fatty alcohols. It is also an excellent source of fiber. Follow your favourite muffin recipes and don’t be shy about adding more fruit, nuts, shredded carrot, or any other ingredient that will pack a nutrient punch. Don’t forget about the wheat germ, and of course, the addition of chocolate chips to any muffin will give it instant kid appeal!
Popcorn is high in the same antioxidants that one would find in green tea. It is also a whole grain and a good source of fibre. The problems come in the preparation. If popped in oil and doused in butter, its high fat content will override many of its good aspects. The best way to prepare it is to air pop it and go light on the butter. Avoid using margarines containing trans fats and resist the temptation to shake on too much salt. Popcorn is a convenient snack that can be easily popped in a microwave. Make sure to buy light versions of popping corn that do not have any trans fats. An air popper is an even better way to easily make big bowls of this healthy snack.
7. Hummus and Veggies
Pack your kids full of nutrients and antioxidants by providing them with a variety of different vegetables to eat with Hummus. The main ingredient in this dip is chickpeas which are very healthy because they do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fats. They are also rich in protein. You can purchase hummus at most grocery stores and keep it handy in the fridge as a dip for veggies or breads.
8. Whole Grain Tortilla Chips and Salsa
Whole grain tortilla chips are a snack that kids love to munch on. Accompanied with salsa it becomes even healthier. Salsa has antioxidant vitamins, natural photochemicals, and the mineral potassium that is in such short supply in our diets. If you have a food processor it is convenient to make your own salsa especially if you have access to fresh garden tomatoes. Mixed with other vegetables, olive oil, and spices, salsa and chips are a delicious and healthy snack for kids.
9. Peanut Butter with Whole Grain Crackers
Peanut butter is another great snack that is high in proteins and also packs micro-nutrients such as Vitamin E, Vitamin B3, and large amounts of beneficial minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and calcium. Eaten with whole grain crackers, peanut butter fuels the body with energy and protein for muscles. This snack is one that children like to make themselves. Suggest that they decorate the crackers with banana or jam on top. Get really motivated and try making your own peanut butter. Place 1 1/2 c unsalted, roasted peanuts and 1 T peanut oil into your food processor and buzz until it's the consistency you and your kids like.
10. Roll-Up Sandwiches
There are an endless variety of roll-up sandwiches that can be made, so there are an endless number of nutrients that can be served up. Peanut butter and banana, cream cheese and tomato, or turkey and swiss are just some of the healthy and yummy combinations. Make this snack using whole grain flatbread. Top it with desired ingredients then roll it up. Cut sandwich roll into one inch pieces. Lay flat and arrange on a plate. Not only tastes great but looks good too!
Eating Well for Life
There is the old saying your are what you eat. Eating well is essential for good health and teaching our children early about good eating habits is something that will benefit them their entire life. It is worth taking the time to discuss food choices, in order to introduce children to healthy foods. With the great snacks, like the ones listed above, it will be easy to convince them that these foods are not only healthy, but are delicious too!
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