All kids have one thing in common: they play hard. Their little imaginations venture on glorious journeys. Their fingers dabble into pots of texture. Their hands morph average objects into wondrous tools of creativity. Their toys are transported into distant lands.
Those hours of adventures create a rumbling tummy ravenous for food. As a parent, you have a few options:
- Pass your child the first edible item.
- Grab a quick, pre-made snack from the pantry.
- Invite them to linger a minute longer so that you can create a tasty, nutritious snack together.
Reality check: sometimes the fastest foods, like a snack pack of crackers or a lunchable, are acceptable. It’s food, it will satisfy a hungry tummy, it will halt the whining, and it’s just convenient. However, let’s not allow this to be our everyday go-to.
Sure, in seasons with a newborn or while traveling or when you’re sick – absolutely opt for the quick snack. But on most days, fuel your child’s little body with big nutrients! Whole foods grown on the earth that take only a minute to prepare.
Try these suggestions for healthy snacks that include whole foods, macronutrients, natural sugar (because every kid craves the sweet stuff!), fiber, and essential vitamins or minerals. Why not enjoy these treats with your kids, too!
1 – Apple and peanut butter
This classic snack goes back decades. There is nothing better than a cold, crisp, juicy apple topped with creamy peanut butter. Cater this snack to your child’s preferences by subbing with crunchy peanut butter for more texture, or use almond or cashew butter instead. When you kids want a little something extra, sprinkle granola, raisins, or chocolate chips on top.
2 – Frozen grapes
If you haven’t tried frozen grapes, you’re missing out on a delicacy of life! Green grapes straight out of the freezer taste like a well prepared gourmet dessert. If you have the time (or if your kids beg you enough), dip the grapes in a thin layer of white chocolate, lay on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, then freeze. And Mama, no harm if you give your little ones the plain grapes while you sneak the chocolate covered ones for yourself!
Note: Always slice grapes before giving them to young children to avoid choking! Try this fancy grape-cutting tool to make slicing grapes fast, simple, and mess-free.
3 – Raspberries with white chocolate chips
Have you caught on to this trend? Fruit makes an excellent snack for kids. The more colorful the fruit, the more nutrients it contains. Such as raspberries. Stick a mini white chocolate chip inside of the raspberry for a decadent snack that you kids won’t be able to get enough of!
4 – Fruit Icee
When the summers are hot, icees are my favorite afternoon snack. It’s a simple recipe and a satisfying snack. Place a peach (pitted, peeled, and quartered), an orange (peeled and quartered), mango (pitted, peeled, quartered), or watermelon (sliced and de-seeded) into the blender. Truthfully, any fruit would work, but I find that these work best. Add 2 cups of ice. Blend until incorporated and eat immediately.
5 – Smoothie
While your blender is handy, whip up a quick smoothie. There is no right or wrong way to make a smoothie, as long as you have enough liquid so that the ingredients blend together well. Here’s my suggested snack smoothie recipe to sneak in vegetables: 1 carrot, 1 handful of spinach or kale, 1 banana, 1 cup of mixed fruit (strawberries, peaches, pineapple, mango, etc.), milk (any kind), yogurt (any kind). Optional: fruit juice (preferably from whole fruits with no sugar added). Those added veggies will provide more nutrients and keep a little tummy full for longer.
6 – Trail mix
Kids love the opportunity to get their hands messy, and younger children often like sorting and organizing. Set out ingredients for trail mix and allow each of your kids to create their own blend. Include ingredients such as popcorn, peanuts, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, raisins, craisins, cashews, or m and ms.
Note: Be aware of any nut allergies before trying this snack. Watch young children while consuming trail mix to ensure that they fully chew each bite and don’t choke on the harder nuts.
7 – Muffins
Muffins can be eaten for breakfast and for snack! Zucchini and banana are fun options that include fruits and vegetables. Whole wheat will keep your kids full for longer. Replace oil with applesauce, and substitute mashed banana for butter. Leave out ¼ to ½ the amount of sugar (most muffins have more sugar than necessary); if you need more sugar, drizzle fresh honey or a few stripes of melted chocolate on top. Bonus: when kids see chocolate, they are more likely to eat it!
Mama, what are you favorite, healthy, go-to snacks for your kids? The options are endless! And you kids probably appreciate variety. Share in the comments below so we can try out your best recommendations with our families!