Most kids are picky eaters and I know a lot of moms struggle with getting their little ones to eat healthy. One tip is getting them involved in preparing and cooking snacks and meals. If they are part of the process, it’s likely they will want to taste the end result. Also, exposing them to as much variety as possible, especially when it comes to veggies, is key. Try putting a small serving of several different veggies on their plate. Every little bit they do eat helps them acquire a taste for healthy foods.
We know one thing is for sure – kids love snacks. Generally they like those of the refined carb variety (Goldfish, anyone?). Here are 10 healthy and yummy snacks that are sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike!
1. Homemade Popsicles
Who doesn’t like a popsicle in the summer? You can make your own delicious popsicles without the added sugars and yucky preservatives. The flavor options are endless, but two of my favorite tried and true combos are Strawberry Ginger and Pina Colada. To make the Strawberry Ginger pops, blend fresh or frozen strawberries with coconut water, a splash of ginger juice (optional) and a few drops of stevia. For the Pina Colada pops, blend fresh or frozen pineapple chunks with coconut milk and a few stops of stevia. Pour into a popsicle mold and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
2. Watermelon Basil Slushy
Blend 2 cups of ripe watermelon cubes and a handful of ice (about 1/2 – 2/3 cup) and 1-2 tablespoons fresh basil. Healthy Slurpee!
3. Crackers and Guac
Most kids like avocado so guacamole is a delicious and nutritious way of getting in those amazing healthy fats. Serve with rice or gluten free crackers, or organic corn chips.
4. Sweet Potato Fries
For those carb-loving kids, baked sweet potato fries are an excellent alternative to regular (trans-fat fried!) french fries. Simply slice the sweet potato into wedges, toss with some olive or coconut oil, salt and pepper, then bake at 450ºF for 20 minutes.
5. Bliss Balls
For a sweet treat, whip up these chocolate-y, protein-rich bliss balls. Store them in the fridge or freezer and whip them out as an alternative to a sugary, processed snack or dessert.
6. Veggies and Hummus
Nutrient-dense, low-carb, high-protein, there is a reason this is a popular snack amongst health-foodies! Look for no-oil or olive oil-based hummus at the store or make your own.
- 1-15oz. canned garbanzo beans, drained, reserve juice
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, halved
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley (optional)
Place the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt, cayenne, cumin, olive oil and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add reserved juice from garbanzo beans if needed for smoothness. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley if desired. Serve with baby carrots, celery sticks, or sliced bell peppers.
7. Kale Chips
Kale chips – like a potato chip, but healthy! Buy some at the store or make your own. Wash and remove stems from the kale. Tear kale leaves into bite size pieces. Dry kale leaves (a salad spinner works well). Toss leaves with olive oil, a splash of tamari, perhaps some nutritional yeast and spices and place kale on a parchment lined baking pan in a 200 degree oven until crisp.
8. “Peanut Butter Cup” Smoothie
Pass on the Reese’s and whiz up this smoothie for sweet, creamy and indulgent treat, free of refined sugar and other nasties.
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 banana
- 2-3 Medjool dates
- 1/2 cup ice
- 1-2 tablespoons high quality cocoa powder
Place all ingredients into a blender and process until combined and frothy.
9. Apple Slices with Seed/Nut Butter
Serving apple slices with a tablespoon or two of nut or seed butter is a wonderful and satisfying plant-based snack. You could do peanut butter, almond butter, or even chocolate hazelnut butter for a treat. If your kid can’t do nuts, try sunflower seed butter. Delicious with a drizzle of raw honey.
10. Homemade Fruit and Nut Bars
There are a million granola bars on the market, some with great ingredients, others with not-so-great ingredients. Be selective about which ones you buy (read labels with a fine tooth comb!) or make your own so you can control the ingredients and ensure there aren’t any preservatives. Here’s a recipe I love that makes 10 bars:
- 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup pecans (chopped)
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a square 8×8 pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with some olive or coconut oil. Throw coconut, pecans, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds into a large frying pan. Place over medium-low heat and stir occasionally for 5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and place in a large mixing bowl with the ground flax seed, cranberries and sea salt. Add honey and sunflower seed butter into the mixing bowl and mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Transfer mix into the pan and press down evenly. Take some time to really pack it in there. (If you don’t pack it down firmly enough, the bars will crumble.) Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Once cool, lift parchment paper out of the tin and slice into bars with a sharp knife.
So there you have it! Ten healthy snacks you can have on hand when your kid gets a snack attack and starts heading for the Goldfish or candy stash. I know this requires a bit more planning on your part, but it’s totally worth it! Starting your kid early on healthy eating in childhood and adolescence is super important for proper growth and development and can prevent various health problems later in life. A simple rule is to include at least one fruit or vegetable every time your kids snack or eat a meal. Add a side of baby carrots to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich or broccoli to a bowl of pasta. By making vegetables part of the meal non-negotiable, your child will learn good food habits and behaviors for the long run!