The healthy eating habits you teach your children now will last a lifetime, so now’s the time to find out the best snacks for kids, while they’re still forming their dietary attitudes. Chances are, your kids are already enjoying some of these snacks, but some might provide new ideas. What are the best snacks for kids? Let’s find out.
1. Fresh Fruits
Kids ought to get between two and three servings of fresh fruits each day, but few of them do… and sugar-laden fruity snacks or fruit juices don’t count! A crisp organic apple, a sweet banana, a few pineapple slices - all of these are marvelously rich in vitamins and fiber and other nutrients, and since they’re delicious as well as nutritious, they top my list of the best snacks for kids.
Along with sweet, crisp fresh fruits, a handful of berries also makes a wonderful sweet treat snack kids will love! Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries - the list goes on and on! Make a berry-sweet snack a learning opportunity, too, by taking your kids to see where and how berries grow at a pick-your-own berry patch.
Little ones also need about three servings of veggies each day, and kids love them because they tend to be crunchy and noisy! Try carrot sticks, fresh broccoli or cauliflower, cucumber slices, and cherry or grape tomatoes, raw and fresh, but avoid adding a ranch dipping sauce, which takes away from the healthiness factor of the snack by adding fat and calories.
Cheese cubes or sticks made with 2% or skim milk are another great healthy snack kids will love! There are so many varieties, from spicy pepper jack to sweet, mild cheddar, there’s bound to be a cheese your little one will love!
Low-fat or skim Greek yoghurt is another fantastic snack for kids (and grown-ups!). It’s loaded with protein and bone-building calcium, without a lot of the sugar found in traditional blended yoghurts. Always check the label, though, to make sure the brand you’ve chosen isn’t made with unnecessary fat, sugar, or questionable ingredients, like high fructose corn syrup.
6. Whole Grain Pretzels
Kids need whole grains, too! And whole grain pretzels come in two kid-pleasing varieties – crunchy or warm and soft. Either way, make sure the pretzels you choose are made without bleached flour (some brands sneak it in, even in their supposedly whole grain pretzels) or high fructose corn syrup. Make this snack an extra treat, with a healthy dose of protein, by dipping them in low-fat peanut butter. Yum!
If your little one resists the veggies, add a dollop of home-made hummus to dip them in, and watch those carrot sticks disappear! My favorite simple hummus recipe is to blend together a can of chick peas, a small garlic clove, and a little olive oil, salt, and ground cumin to taste. Easy chick peas-y!
8. Go Dried!
Change up your snack time routine with dried fruits and beans (like edamame or peas). These are healthy choices, too, as long as they’re not coated in chocolate, sugary yoghurt, or loads of salt. Kids love them, too, and they’re handy for on-the-go snacks.
See? There are so many kid-friendly, healthy snacks, none of which involve sugary fruit snacks, candy bars, or potato chips. What a great way to start your little ones on the path of healthy eating for a lifetime! Which of these snacks do your little ones love? Or is there something else your kids like to snack on? Please share!