Simple Healthy Snacks for Kids
Try these simple snack ideas to keep your children going strong.
It's hours until dinner and your kids are clamoring for a snack. Why dole out chips or cookies when there's a whole world of simple, healthy snacks for kids out there?
Healthy Snacks at Home
"It's important to treat snacks as opportunities for busy bodies to refuel," says Bridget Swinney, MS, RD, author of Baby Bites, and mother of two.
Think of snacks as mini-meals and offer the same foods you'd feature at mealtimes. You probably wouldn't dream of serving your child sodium-laden snack crackers and a sugary beverage for dinner, so don't give it to him or her as a snack, either. Instead, get inspired with these simple ideas:
- Mini pizza: Help them put together a pizza using one-half of a whole-grain English muffin or small whole-wheat pita bread; ketchup or marinara sauce; and grated cheese. Use olives, shredded carrots, and other vegetables for facial features.
- Snack mix: Set out small bowls of plain Cheerios, dried fruit, and chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, or roasted soy nuts. Give kids a bowl or a small plastic container and let them mix it up. Throw in a few mini chocolate chips for a sweet treat. This trail mix is also good mixed with low-fat vanilla yogurt.
- Fruit smoothies: Preschoolers love to experiment, so let them combine different frozen or fresh berries and other fruit with plain, low-fat yogurt or reduced-fat milk. Combine in blender 1/4 cup each: yogurt or milk and chopped fruit or berries; and 1 ice cube. Add milk or yogurt to achieve desired consistency.
- Pop a single-serve bag of low-fat microwave popcorn. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
Healthy Snacks for on-the-go Kids
When everyone's in a hurry, grab an insulated lunch box or bag and you can send kids out with simple, healthy snacks that combine protein and complex carbohydrates:
- A small can of low-sodium vegetable juice and string cheese
- A small whole-grain muffin (or 2 mini muffins) and a carton of low-fat milk
- 1/4 or one-half sandwich, such as peanut butter, sunflower butter, or almond butter, and a carton of 100% orange juice
- Yogurt or peanut butter in a tube and whole-grain crackers
- Sliced hard cooked egg and whole-grain crackers
- 1/2 slice thin-crust pizza and carton of 100% orange juice
- Mini bagels spread with hummus and small can of pineapple juice
- Whole-grain pretzels and carton of low-fat chocolate milk