With their smaller stomachs, kids may not eat much in one sitting, but they do eat often. The problem is, children are not only notoriously picky eaters, they’ll usually fight for sugary junk food. It’s a constant struggle to find snacks that are both appetizing and good for them.
The top 10 healthy snack ideas that kids will love:
OK, so we’re not suggesting you buy your kids a huge tub of popcornÂ at the movies. But when it’s not drenched in butter and salt, popcorn is actually a very healthy snack for kids it’s packed with whole grains and fiber. Studies have shown that these grains may lower your chances of developing diabetes and heart disease.
A good source of calcium, cheese is also versatile and goes with plenty of things kids love. String cheese is a popular favorite, as are grilled cheese sandwiches. Cheese and crackers is also a filling snack. But avoid the store-bought cheese and cracker packages. It should be no surprise that these aren’t made with real cheese, but with what’s called cheese food. The crackers are baked with refined white flours, which aren’t too healthy either. Instead, nutrition experts recommend making cheese and cracker snacks at home with real cheese and whole-wheat crackers.
3: Trail Mix:
Instead of buying pre-assembled bags of trail mix at the store, try making your own at home. Not only is it a fun activity for the kids to participate in, it allows you to control the salt and sugar content. If you’re up for it, you can also make your own granola. A great source of fiber, granola can also be high in sugar if you buy it at the store pre-made.
4: Meat Roll-ups:
Sometimes, it just takes a simple trick to turn a boring meal into a fun one. However, we should mention that this snack involves lunch meats, which may contain nitrates. Nitrates are effective preservatives, but they have been linked to various cancers in animals. Some experts recommend avoiding them altogether and looking for nitrate-free meat in the store. But if you do partake in lunch meats, make sure you and your kids also get generous doses of vitamins C and E.
What kid doesn’t love pizza? For a quick, healthy snack at home, toast up an English muffin (the whole-wheat variety is best), and add some tomato sauce and low-fat mozzarella cheese. You can make your own simple tomato sauce using tomato paste and seasonings, such as oregano and garlic.
Rich in vitaminsÂ and fiber, applesauce can be a healthy snack and another way to get kids to eat their fruit. Again, low-sugar varieties are best. After the infant and toddler years, a glob of mushy applesauce may sound boring and bland to your young ones. To mix it up and make it more palatable for kids, add cinnamon and stir in raisins or nuts.
Even the pickiest kids can’t resist fruit smoothies, which are naturally sweet and can be an excellent way to sneak nutrition into their diet. Beware of store-bought smoothies, however, which are usually full of added sugar. These end up carrying as many calories as a full meal (for a toddler). You might as well be giving them a milkshake.
8: Peanut Butter:
Although high in fat, peanut butter is packed with fiber and protein. If your child has peanut allergies, you’ll have to steer clear of this snack choice. Such allergies have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, so it’s important to watch for evidence such as rashes around the mouth and face. But sometimes, more severe reactions occur, such as difficulty breathing, which require immediate medical attention.
Cereal is a great source of fiber, which is filling and healthy. Unfortunately, many cereals that kids love are full of sugar. Consumer Reports investigated the sugar content of some brands and found that a bowl of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks serves up as much sugar as a glazed donut. Several other popular kids’ cereals also had hefty amounts of added sweeteners.
Natural, sweet and good for you, fruit is a popular snack choice among kids and parents. OK, so maybe the youngsters don’t need as many as five a day, like the old saying goes, but kids do require about 1.5 cups of fruit per day.