Giving your children healthy kids snacks will not only benefit their health, it will teach them good eating habits and nutrition from an early age. As a parent, getting your child to embrace healthy eating can be difficult, however, by understanding healthy snack and meal options and setting a good example you can help your kids understand more.
Our daily routine is a combination of family activities, homework, after-school events and lots more, meaning my kids are kept busy. Providing kids snacks is a good way to provide them with essential nutrients, as well as satisfy their hunger. Above all, healthy snacks can prevent tantrums and moodiness, which as every parent will agree can only be a good thing! Moderation is always important when it comes to giving your children snacks.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest believes parents should view their children’s after-school snack as their “fourth meal” and should therefore put as much thought regarding nutritional value into it.
Teaching Healthy Food for Kids by Using Easy: List of Healthy Snacks for Kids
Below you’ll find a list of healthy snacks for kids that are not only easy, but also fun to do.
Funny Face Crackers
These snacks for kids are easy for your little one to make and are guaranteed to raise a giggle or two. All you need is a small whole-grain cracker base, cream cheese, assorted vegetables, fresh and/or dried fruits and nuts. Cover the cracker in cheese and encourage your child to add eyes, hair, a beard, teeth and whatever else they can think of using pieces of the fruit and vegetables.
As you can see here, I’ve just used what was available: cucumber, bell pepper, carrots, raisins, almonds, cream cheese and whole-grain crackers.
You should core the apple yourself but don’t peel. Arrange a variety of ingredients your little one can use to stuff their apple. When making snacks for kids like this, take the opportunity to introduce new tastes to your child. Favourite feelings for stuffed apples in my house include, peanut butter, raisins, yoghurt and muesli. I usually top the apple with crushed coconut to add to the flavor.
Here is the ingredients list: apples (obviously), plain yoghurt, honey (prefer plain yoghurt and then add natural sweetness in terms of honey and dried fruit), raisins, dates, walnuts, oatmeal, and coconut.
You don’t need any fancy tools to core the apple. Just use a sharp knife. As you can see, the hole doesn’t have to be pretty. It will be covered anyway!
Just mix the chopped up fruit, nuts, oatmeal with yoghurt and fill the apples. Sprinkle some coconut on the top and finish off with a small drizzle of honey.
Tip: Because apples can be hard on little teeth, you may try microwaving the apples for ten seconds before stuffing to encourage them to soften a little.
Delicious Date Bombs
These small nutritious snack balls are stand to win a prize for being the easiest and quickest after school snacks to do. All you need are three ingredients: dates, almonds and coconut.
Chop up the dates and almonds and mix them well. Make sure there are enough dates as the dates work as glue preventing the balls from falling apart. Roll the mix into small balls and press and turn the balls in the coconut. And there we have it! 🙂
Orange Oracles: Carrot Sticks with Potent Peanut Dip
Okay, this snack may perhaps compete with the above when it comes to easy. I timed it and it took less than 3 minutes for me to do. How about that?
Basic ingredients are: carrots, peanut butter (and soy and honey – although not strictly necessary – but does give the taste a nice twist)
Scrape and cut the carrots into very thin sticks which will prolong the fun of eating for your kids. Take a table spoon of peanut butter and mix it with water until is has a nice ‘dip’ texture. Add a few drops (no more) of soy and a little bit of honey and mix well. The soy brings a nice saltiness to it.
Organic Fruit Ice Lolly
For this lolly you need a juicer. Just find whatever fruits you have and maybe a bit of vegetables and juice them. Here I used: apples, grapes, raspberries, carrots and ginger. Don’t forget GINGER. Just a small amount really does the trick.
Pour the juice into lolly holders and freeze them. My son and his friends are just crazy about these lollies.
Banana Swiss Roll
Yes, we already know how well banana and peanut butter go together so why not may a banana peanut butter party out of it.
All you need is a banana (not too ripe as it will be difficult to work with), peanut butter and some coconut.
Peal the banana and smear peanut butter all over it and roll it in coconut. A good tip is to do side at a time: smear peanut butter on one side and then dip in coconut. In this way the coconut prevents the side from being too sticky and you can more easily do the other side. When done, cut the Swiss roll into nice pieces.
Making a Main Meal of Snacks…
No matter how much thought and effort you put into healthy snacks for kids, all your good work will be undone if you don’t ensure their main meals are relatively healthy too. And the below snack recipe is ideal for a main meal too.
Although you shouldn’t deprive your kids of the things you like, healthy eating for kids isn’t all about saying no to treats. In fact, if you really think about it – many of the kids favorites can be adapted to make more healthier options.
Cool Chicken Pieces and Sweet Potato and Beetroot Chips with Avocado Dip
Most kids love chicken nuggets and fries, and you have to admit that while this may not be the most nutritious meal for little ones – it is certainly the easiest. However, if parents knew what the average chicken nugget contained, it wouldn’t even make it onto the menu.
As well as containing around 18-grams of fat, the average nugget contains 478-milligrams of sodium. Therefore, if you have spent time and effort on making nutritious kids snacks, it will all be in vein if your kids are having nuggets and fries for their evening meal.
Chicken nuggets are made from formed chicken, that is a product made to look and taste like chicken. So if you are going to give your kids something that tastes like chicken, you may as well give them chicken.
Simply cut an average-sized lean chicken fillet into bite size pieces and add a bit of soy, garlic, honey and ginger. If you have the time let it sit in the fridge for a while to let the marinade do its work.
In the meanwhile cut thin slices of sweet potato and beetroot and lie them on a baking tray, before drizzling with olive oil and salt. Ten to fifteen minutes in a medium-heat oven should see them turn crispy. However, all oven are different so you may need to experiment a bit the first few times you do this.
While the chips are in the oven and the chicken is being fried, now is the time to prepare the avocado dip or guacamole. There are many ways to do it, and I never do it the same way, but here I used two avocados, half an onion, a clove of garlic, a bit of lemon juice and some plain yoghurt to mix it up.
And here is the end result:
The Secret to Healthy Eating for Kids: Packed Fridge and Food with Long Long Life
Keeping your kitchen cupboards and refrigerator packed is the key to success when it comes to healthy kids snacks. Because fruit is packed with essential nutrients, you should ensure there is plenty of fruit on offer.
I usually keep apples, pears, bananas, blueberries and grapes on hand at all times so my kids can just help themselves when they want too. Nuts, pita and whole-wheat crackers also have a long shelf life and make ideal kids snacks.
If you keep a selection of lean meats, cheese and eggs in your refrigerator too, you will always have something to make great snacks for your kids.
When it comes to making healthy eating for kids interesting, try asking your children to combine different things to come up with something a little different. For example, my kids snacks usually consist of cheese and apple slices, hummus and pita bread or celery sticks topped with cream cheese.
Drinks? Milk with Fruit Pieces Will Do Wonders
If your children are anything like mine, they will be drawn like bees around honey to sugary drinks. Teenagers seem to think that having an energy drink with their snack counts as being healthy. As adults it is hard to give your kids what they need, as oppose to what they want but by being consistent – you should find your children will automatically gravitate to the healthier drinks by themselves.
Milk is ideal with healthy kids snacks, as it is high in protein, vitamin D and calcium. Add fruit pieces, just a little, to make your own version of a healthy milkshake your kids will love.
Being a Healthy Role Model
If you thought that your job as a parent stopped after you have fed, watered, entertained and loved your children – you need to think again. Because when it comes to learning new behaviours, children will look to their parents first.
This means, if you have a passion for French fries and chocolate-smothered desserts, you are unlikely to sell even the nicest of healthy snacks to your children. Therefore, when you make snacks for the kids, find the time to sit and eat with them. This is especially helpful if you are introducing new foods to your children – they are likely to be much more receptive if they see mummy or daddy enjoying the food too.
According to the University of Michigan Health System, shared family meal times are not only important for a child’s social and cognitive development but also for their education on what counts as healthy food and why.
How to (Hopefully) Avoid Organized Chaos
Seriously, I am the last person to be advising anyone on how they can better organize their home life – I seem to live on the very edge of chaos. However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize that organization plays a huge role when it comes to healthy eating for kids.
For example, organizing your kids snacks, whether it be on a daily or weekly basis, by using a list of healthy snacks will make life easier. Making a list of the healthy snacks you are going to make for the week will ensure you have the ingredients in to make them. This means you are also less likely to rely on unhealthy snacks to keep the kids quiet.
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