For the busy caregiver, it can be hard to find a consistent variety of healthy snacks for kids. Unfortunately, out-of-the-box options often provide little, if any, health benefit. No problem! Without much more effort, these 10 ideas can help to make snacktime an enjoyable and nutritious experience at home, school, on car trips, for parties, and more.
Play with Shapes
Sometimes new joy can be found in old standards by doing a little improvisation. Jazz up some cheese by cutting it into fun shapes by buying a few small cookie cutters shaped like dinosaurs, stars, or your kids’ favorite animals. Make the standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich enticing by turning it into a sandwich-saurus, or transform some simple apple slices into a galaxy of stars and planets.
DIY Flavored Yogurt
Yogurt can be a great source of protein, calcium, vitamins, and digestion-enhancing probiotics. But flavored yogurt often comes with undesirable additives, whereas plain yogurt is exactly that: plain. Try mixing in peanut butter or flavored jam into the yogurt to give it that extra bite of flavor. In warmer weather, try mixing colored yogurt with fresh fruits and freezing in a popsicle mold to keep kids hydrated.
Bacon-Wrapped Veggie Bundles
It can be challenging to get kids excited about eating vegetables. But those veggies become significantly more appealing when they’re wrapped in turkey bacon. For a colorful, healthy snack, try preparing a fun bundle containing strips of raw red and green pepper, carrots, and green beans, held together by a strip of cooked turkey bacon.
Creating snack necklaces gives kids a snack option and provides them with a fun activity. Pick up a few different grain-based breakfast cereals with holes in the middle, cut lengths of string, and let kids make necklaces they can snack on. See how creative the necklaces can get by adding things like pretzels or dehydrated fruit.
Beige foods not only look boring, they generally provide little nutritional value. Thankfully, kids love brightly colored foods, and having lots of different colors usually means a range of nutrients. Look for fruits or veggies in every color of the rainbow, and group them together in a fun party snack spread.
Breakfast as a Snack
It’s important to eat a nutritious breakfast, and there’s no reason to limit breakfast foods to the morning. For a delicious, high-protein snack, serve up some easy egg bites and a couple slices of all-natural turkey bacon. This can be a no-mess option in between meals, as egg bites can be stored in the freezer and heated up as needed. If you buy pre-cooked turkey bacon, older kids can prepare it themselves in the microwave.
Wedges of watermelon are always a tasty treat. Try cutting the watermelon up into wedges and then arranging them on a serving platter like a pizza. Next have the kids decorate the watermelon slices as they would with a pizza with various fruit toppings. It’s a fun twist on the traditional pizza.
Besides being a nutrient-dense option for nibbles, apples can be used as a canvas to create an abstract masterpiece. Use a mandolin or sharp knife to cut a cored apple into rounds. You can decorate the slices with peanut butter, raisins, nuts, and coconut flakes.
This can also be easily switched to a savory version by replacing the apple with whole-grain crackers, hummus, and cut veggies.
Everything is more fun in miniature. Muffins are a great food for kids to help prepare, so try making your kids’ favorite healthy muffins in a mini pan. Recipes with whole grains and no refined sugar will provide energy to keep them fueled until mealtime. Think beyond the standard fruit-based muffin by experimenting with zucchini and pumpkin seeds, or lean turkey bacon.
Miniature means portable, so these mini muffins are a great option to toss into a lunch bag for a recess snack.
For kids, three meals a day isn’t enough. They need a range of healthy snacks to keep them going all day. And it’s important for their development that those healthy snacks are nutrient rich with vegetables like broccoli, fruits like apples, and lean meats like Godshall’s Turkey Bacon. By experimenting with colors, shapes, and whole ingredients, and letting kids help choose and prepare their snacks, you can help them engage with their food and build great dietary habits that will last a lifetime.
Looking for snacks for you, too? Get healthy, energy-boosting snack ideas here.