Making healthy and tasty snacks and school lunches has to be one of the most challenging parenting jobs. It is a really good idea to feed your children snacks throughout the day rather than just three big meals. Children’s stomachs are small. Most children cannot eat enough food in three meals a day to meet their nutritional needs. Snack time also offers a more relaxed eating environment – as they can usually snack as they play.
Top 5 Snacks
I know, I can hear a lot of parents saying “I wish I could get my kids to eat vegetables as a snack”…you may find it surprising that it is actually easier to introduce vegetables at snack time. TRY: cutting a few vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, peppers are great options) at the beginning of the week and storing them in a Ziploc bag in the fridge. Put a few vegetables on a plate when the kids come home and leave it in their play area. TRY: not to talk too much about the snack…just let them sit with it. WARNING: This is most likely not to work in a day or two it will take in most cases more than 10 tries before kids will take to it.
OPTION: Add organic plain yogurt with honey as a dip or Homemade Hummus.
Nuts and Seeds
Are packed with many essential vitamins, oils, and minerals. TRY: buying raw nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds) organic is an even better option. Dry roast them at home or serve them raw. To dry roast place in the oven at 170 C for 10-15 min. This will ensure the oils and vitamins are not destroyed. Put a few nuts/seeds in a bowl when the kids come home. WARNING: Be sure that your child is not allergic to nuts/seeds.
OPTION: Add them to smoothies or make a Trail Mix.
Most kids will eat fruit but not vegetables. Fruits and specially berries are a great source of essential vitamins. But sadly, they are not a substitute for vegetables, it is still important to keep trying to introduce your children to vegetables. TRY: washing berries at the beginning of the week (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) and storing them in a sealed container. They will last 3-4 days. Serve a small bowl to the kids at snack time. WARNING: It is easy to get stuck serving the same snack, especially if it’s one the kids like but variety is very important, try to serve a different snack every day. Also important to get berries organic as often as possible.
OPTION: Add berries to organic plain yogurt with honey or bake some Blueberry Banana Muffins.
Are a great option for creating a variety of nutritious snacks. You can try many combinations of fruits and veggies, and nut milks. Try making a simple smoothie with banana, berries, water, ice, and maple syrup/honey or try Homemade Chocolaty Almond Milk.
OPTION: Add baby spinach to a fruit smoothie, if the kids don’t see you doing it they won’t be able to tell!
Homemade Baked Goods
This may seem like a daunting task at first but it can be quick and easy. When you make a baked good you control the ingredients and you can choose to reduce the sugar content. A good tip is to slowly and gradually reduce the sweetness in baked goods so that kids get used to less sweet snacks. TRY: Making a couple of baked snacks a month. Freeze them and serve throughout the month. Some good options are Granola Patties, Date and Pear Squares, Apple Cranberry Crumble, Banana Chip Oatmeal Cookies.
OPTION: Make a double batch and freeze in a double Ziploc bag.
Recipes can be found at www.learneatgrow.com.