Research demonstrates that snacks are just as important as healthy main meals, especially as they can help a child learn healthy eating habits. Coming up with new ideas for healthy low fat snacks for kids may be the hardest part of improving your child’s eating habits.
You want to offer your child variety, while still ensuring they receive all the vitamins and nutrients they need.
Low-Fat vs. High-Fat Snacks
According to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of children and adolescents were classed as obese in 2008. Furthermore, according to the US Department of Agriculture, 10,000 children eat snacks such as chips, cookies and pretzels on a regular basis. This figure is double what it was twenty years ago.
The reason healthcare professionals and nutritionists champion low fat snacks for kids is because the high-fat snack alternatives offer nothing by way of nutritional value but are high in saturated fat, total fat and calories.
Eating high-fat snacks on a regular basis would lead to excessive weight gain quickly. This leads to obesity and the health risks associated with it. Of course, most children will usually prefer high fat snacks over low fat snacks, saying they are tastier and what their friends have. This is why it is important for a parent to keep low fat snacks varied and as interesting to the child as possible.
List of Low-Fat Snacks – Keeping It Fun…
Kids may not always appreciate healthy snacks, but they will always be up for some fun! Taking fruits and veggies and giving them a fun added twist can sometimes be all it takes to win over even the fussiest of children.
Healthy snacks for kids don’t have to be boring and this cheesy tomato recipe is easy to make and fun to eat. All you need are a few cherry tomatoes, some cream cheese and some nuts, almonds or raisons.
Simply place a few cherry tomatoes on a plate and add a single teaspoon-full of cream cheese to each one. If you want, as an added twist you can add raisins or even nuts to the top. I added some almonds, as you can see.
Low fat snacks such as this one make ideal healthy after-school snacks. They are easy enough to be prepared by older children or prepared early for when young children return from school.
Funky Carrot Trains
Raw carrots are popular low fat snacks and in the bid to reduce cases of child obesity, many large chain fast-food restaurants offer carrot sticks or slices as an alternative to unhealthy French fries.
All you need here are some carrots, cream cheese or peanut butter and some nuts or raisons.
Cutting a whole carrot in half and then slicing down the middle makes an ideal base for other goodies to be added. Smother it with cream cheese or peanut butter, add raisins or pecan nuts and your child has his very own cheesy train complete with passengers.
Crazy Carrot Fact – According to the Danish Institute of Sciences, falcarinol, a property found in carrots, has proven to be an effective anti-cancer agent.
Some Like It Hot! Hot! Hot!
Mention low fat snacks to a busy parent and they will automatically think of something cold, which can be prepared in under 15 minutes with little, or better no, thought. However, healthy snacks for kids that are quick and easy to make do not always have to be cold – warm recipes can also do the trick and be an even bigger hit, especially if the weather is cold.
Veggies in a Blanket
Low fat snacks don’t get much tastier than this and they are ideal for children after a long day at school.
Simply warm two flour tortillas in a pan, spread a thin layer of peanut butter or cream cheese onto the tortilla and add thin slices of cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes – you can also use e.g. spinach and carrot.
Then simply roll up and serve warm. You can cater to your child’s specific tastes by changing the ingredients you use, adding lean chicken, low-fat cheese or tofu if you want to make the wrap more filling.
Veggies in a blanket is the ideal recipe for parents looking for healthy snacks for kids or low fat snacks on the go. If your child would prefer the wraps cold, you can make a batch in the morning, wrap them in cellophane and keep in the fridge until needed. The veggie wraps also make ideal snacks your kids can take to school.
Caramelized Baked Apples Delight
Low fat snacks don’t have to be savory, this healthy baked apple snack is ideal for children who have a sweet tooth. This snack is made in the microwave, so quick and easy to prepare and the taste makes it hard to believe it is a healthy snack for kids. All you need is apples, raisons, cinnamon, brown sugar and a bit of butter.
Simply core two apples and slice a quarter-of-an-inch ring into each one. Place into a microwave dish and fill each apple with a mixture of brown sugar and raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon before adding a small amount of low-fat butter.
Microwave for five or six minutes, making sure you keep an eye on the apples as they cook. Remove and allow to cool – this is important as the apples will be piping hot.
Although this recipe has more calories than other low fat snacks, it contains little fat and plenty of important vitamins and minerals. Maybe most importantly is the fact this recipe is more filling than others, which will ensure your child’s appetite is satisfied until their next meal.
Pumpkin Soup Snack
Soup, of any variety, makes for an easy low-fat snack your child will enjoy in colder months. This pumpkin soup is a real favorite with my son. All you need is a pumpkin (hokaido), onions, garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice, some cream cheese, some bouillon. When tasting it, you might want to add some salt and pepper and maybe a bit of coriander.
As my son loves this afternoon snack – I freeze the soup in small portions so he can have one every now and then.
Remember, soups that contain cream will have more calories and fat than those that don’t. You should also consider replacing any bread your child may have with their soup with tortilla wraps which are lower in fat and sodium. Vegetable soup is one of the more popular low fat snacks, as it also offers an easy way to get your child to eat vegetables they may not normally eat.
Low Fat Fuel Boosters
A long day at school or daycare can take it out of a child… and their appetite. The time period between lunch and evening dinner can feel like a lifetime to a little person whose blood sugar may have dipped and whose stomach is growling. So, what are the best healthy after-school snacks for kids who want to get home and run straight out to play friends? Those that provide instant energy for kids of all ages.
Nutty Trail Mix
Pecan nuts are particularly healthy, although avoid giving your child more than a handful, instead bulk out with other nuts like walnuts and almonds – non-salted. You can also add some fresh orange and dried fruit like dates.
Smoothie to Go
If your kid’s low fat snacks need to be portable, then a healthy smoothie may be just the thing. Mixing a combination of your child’s favorite fruits and vegetables makes a tasty low fat drink, he can take out with him when he plays. The beauty of the smoothie is – you can hide extra fruits and vegetables in there that your child may not always be open to trying. Blueberry, blackberries, apples, oranges, plums, pears are all popular smoothie ingredients. However, as long as you have a blender and an imagination, pretty much anything goes. Encourage your child to experiment with different flavors and you will come up with your own recipes in no time.
If your child is going outside with the smoothie you might want to replace a glass with a plastic cup. Just in case. 😉
The importance of healthy eating as a child has never been so important. Countless studies by medical institutions and universities alike has shown that bad eating habits learned in childhood are carried into our adult life too. It is also important to remember that YOU are your child’s role model and what you eat will have a direct impact on what they eat. If you won’t entertain the idea of incorporating low fat snacks into your diet, than how can you expect your child to eat healthy at all. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in, your child is much more likely to develop a healthy interest in low fat foods, if they see you have a genuine interest too.
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