Kids love to snack! This can be both a good and bad thing. Snacks are great when they are healthy, but unhealthy snacks can lead to weight gain and health problems. However, there are many tasty and nutritious snacks that kids will enjoy. Here are 7 ideas for healthy snacks to feed your children.
1. Homemade Popcorn
Popcorn is a fun, easy, and healthy snack that’s low in calories. One cup of air-popped popcorn has only around 30 calories! Flavor it with spices, herbs, or a dash of olive oil rather than loads of butter. Making popcorn at home allows you to control what goes into it.
2. Frozen Yogurt Pops
Make your own frozen yogurt pops by blending 2-3 cups of yogurt with 1 cup of fruit or berries. Pour into popsicle molds, add sticks, and freeze. These are much healthier than store-bought frozen treats and you can control the ingredients. Kids love homemade popsicles!
3. Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits
Layer plain yogurt with fresh fruit like strawberries or blueberries. Add a sprinkle of nuts or seeds and a drizzle of honey. The combinations are endless for tasty fruit and yogurt parfaits that make an easy, no-cook snack.
4. Roasted Edamame
Edamame (soybeans) are a good source of plant-based protein. Roast them in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper for a crunchy, savory snack. They’re easy for kids to eat on-the-go.
5. Homemade Granola Bars
Store-bought granola bars are often high in sugar and fillers. Make your own using healthy ingredients like oats, nuts, dried fruit, coconut, and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. Kids can help mix up a big batch.
6. Dried Fruit Lollipops
Combine dried fruit like apricots, dates, and raisins in a food processor until they form a sticky consistency. Shape into lollipops and let dry for a chewy, naturally-sweetened treat.
7. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds create a tapioca-like texture when soaked in milk or yogurt. Mix chia seeds with dairy or non-dairy milk, sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, and fruits like berries or bananas. Chill overnight for a creamy, filling snack.
Here are some additional tips for healthy snacking for kids:
- Offer snacks on a predictable schedule, about every 2-3 hours. This prevents kids from getting overly hungry.
- Avoid empty calorie snacks like chips, cookies, and candy. Focus on whole foods that provide nutrition.
- Keep pre-portioned snacks handy when you’re on-the-go. Pack single servings of nuts, cut-up veggies, cheese sticks, or trail mix in baggies.
- Get kids involved in preparing snacks. Let them mix up their own yogurt parfaits or assemble snack plates with their favorite fruits.
- Limit sugary drinks. Water and milk are healthier beverage choices. Avoid juice, soda, and sports drinks which are high in added sugar.
With a little creativity and planning, you can make healthy snacking easy and fun for kids. Offering nutrient-dense foods between meals will provide them with lasting energy.