When it comes to choosing the right snacks for your kiddos, it can be a real challenge. Especially, if you have a picky eater in the house. When my 6-year-old was a baby, he was the absolute best eater. People used to brag and brag about the amazing things he would love to eat. Squash? Check! Pomegranate? Check! Avocados? Check! Check! But somewhere around age 2, he completely stopped being into the five food groups that went so well during his baby years. Don’t get me wrong, he still loves a good bowl of broccoli and rice and that sustains him most days. But that is absolutely it! The sweet little guy won’t even eat pizza. So, what’s a mom to do? Thankfully, we’ve compiled a list of healthy go-to snacks that we hope your littles will enjoy trying, as well as, tips to help you stay sane during snack time.
Helping your child choose healthy snacks is an on-going process. The best way to help them figure out what they might like is to give them options. Offer new and fun choices, like kiwi or raisins, and give them just a few to try at first. Talking to your child about what makes a healthy option and explaining how nourishing they can be for their body is a great idea too. Kids need a variety of healthy choices that contain the right amount of protein to help with energy whether from meat or poultry or fruits and vegetables, calcium to build healthy bones and fiber to ensure good digestive health.
Snacks are made to come in between meals to stave off hunger and provide extra energy. Don’t give snacks with meals or too close to dinner time. Try to space them out at least about an hour and a half before a meal so it won’t compromise your child’s dinner. To ensure an energy slump doesn’t occur, pack healthy snacks with you in your diaper bag or have them waiting in your car for times when a shopping trip may go a little bit over.
Children love to reach for their own snacks. To make sure they pick the best choices, stock the healthy snacks down low and the sugary snacks up high in the cabinet. That way, if you’re not closely monitoring what they’re picking, they’ll still be getting a nutritious and healthy option. And don’t stress out about your kiddo having a few fatty treats during the week. Just make sure to balance with plenty of outside playtime and healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
Okay, if you’ve got a picky eater like me, then the best thing you can do is make snack time fun by inviting your kiddo into the kitchen with you. Give them a little apron and a chef’s hat and let them combine fun, healthy snacks. The more they are a part of making the snack, the more likely they are to want to eat it or at least try it.
When grocery shopping, look for snacks with ingredient lists that contain the shortest amount of items and when possible, choose organic or fresh options. This way, you can ensure that your child is getting the healthiest option available. A lot of foods, like cereal and yogurt, have extra additives and extra sugar that’s not needed. Picking a shorter list lets you know what your child is really consuming.
Here are some yummy snacks to try with your little one today!
Ants on A Log. Fill celery stalks with peanut butter and top with raisins to make a cute little snack that looks like ants climbing on a log. Your kids will love it and you’ll know they’re eating something healthy.
Avocado Toast. Who knew that this yummy creation would taste so good! Packed with healthy fats, this little creation is just as cute to spread as it is healthy to eat. Just make sure to use whole wheat bread!
Squash-Filled Mac & Cheese. Did you know that you can add squash to mac and cheese and not notice a difference! Every time I make Mac & Cheese, I add some pureed squash to the mix. It makes for a sweeter sensation that the kiddos won’t even notice!
Veggie Nuggets. Such a great idea! Nuggets that look like the real thing but are packed with veggies! Give your kiddos some ketchup for dipping and watch as they get a dose of healthy veggies without much complaint.
Festive Trail Mix. Combine cherrios, Kix, raisings, Chex Mix, Peanuts, granola bar pieces and little chocolates together for a yummy little treat. Or make your own power-packed combo!
Frozen Yogurt. Take your Go-Gurt’s and freeze them! They make for a special treat that tastes just like a popsicle but is really jam-packed with calcium and beneficial vitamins!
Do you have any awesome healthy snacks that you make for your kiddos that they just love? Share with us here firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracy E. Brown is a journalist and educator with over 14 years of experience working in the field of Child Development. She is currently the Assistant Editor of Black Dress/Red Wagon Magazine in Atlanta, Ga. and previous Associate Editor at Pregnancy & Newborn Magazine. She previously taught preschool at the Goddard School in Farragut, Tennessee and taught Kindergarten for Dekalb County Schools in Atlanta. Other writing credits include the Green Building Research Institute, London’s facetheory.com, WBIR Channel 10 News, PBS, Duke University and American Airlines. She is also a mom to three adorable little ones.