Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Healthy Snacks for Kids

Every mom experiences the question of, what do I feed my kids? We all look for the perfect snack, fast easy, healthy and most important of all: the kids will eat it without complaining.  Ideally, a well-rounded snack will contain three main nutrients: protein, whole grains and fiber.  What options are available? How do we get our kids to try it? Here are some of our favorites:

1.       My kids favorite snack is avocado with whole grain tortilla chips with a cup of milk.  The avocado is rich in vitamins, healthy fats, and fiber.  The whole grain tortilla chips obviously have whole grains and fiber while the milk provides the protein.

2.       Greek yogurt spread on a whole grain tortilla or pita with an apple.  If your kids are old enough do not peel the apple as the skin is the rich in fiber and nutrients.  You can try pears, grapes, peaches or any fruit your child likes.

3.       Veggies with hummus and whole grain crackers, the kids can dunk their veggies in the hummus which is healthier than ranch dressing or they can spread it on the crackers.

4.       Edamame pasta salad made with whole grain pasta.  Choose vegetables your kids like and if they are not fond of edemame try another kind of bean like kidney beans, black beans or garbanzo beans.  This is a versatile salad, try different combinations until you find the best match for your family.

5.       Another favorite in our house is a grilled cheese sandwich with a fruit side.  Of course if they eat the whole sandwich it can be a meal or you and the kids can split the sandwich for a yummy snack.

6.       Talking about meals that can be snacks, scrambled eggs on half a whole grain English muffin with a tangerine.

7.       If your children can eat nuts, they provide protein, healthy fats and numerous other nutrients.  A homemade oatmeal cookie containing walnuts, raisins and half the amount of sugar the recipe calls for coupled with a cup of milk makes a snack most children love.
Tuna Salad with no mayo paired with whole grain crackers.

These snacks are all great for home but what about when you are on the run or in the car.  What can you give your kids that is healthy, easy and does not make a mess?

1.       Low fat string cheese: if you have a cooler this makes a great snack for the park or the car. 

2.       Granola bars: I love these for the car.  I always have a box hidden in my van somewhere.  Yes, they are high in sugar but most are made with whole grains and nuts or peanut butter (beware if your kids are allergic to nuts, make sure to read the ingredients carefully).  Some of them even have dried fruit.

3.       Fresh fruits: tangerines, grapes, strawberries and blue berries go with us one most of our trips.  Just wash them in advance and stick them in a small cooler.  These fruits keep well, do not change color (like sliced apples), do not need much preparation in advance and kids love them. 

4.       Fresh veggies: carrots and cucumbers with a hummus dip work well with us.  As I give a vegetable stick to my kids I dunk it in some hummus, so they do not make a mess in the car.  Downside is someone else has to be driving.

Send us your kids favorite snacks.  We are always looking for fun, healthy ideas.

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