Healthy Snacks for Kids Article - Allrecipes.com
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Healthy Snacks for Kids

Active kids need between-meal pick-me-ups. Why not make them healthy?

It is possible to make fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low fat dairy products and whole grains appealing to your kids. Here are some tried-and-true methods for making kids shout, "Hooray for healthy foods!"

  • Healthy Snack Recipes



Let Them be Choosy

An afternoon snack gives kids the energy to play outside or do their homework. The important thing is to provide kids with choices. If all the choices you give them are reasonably nutritious, then everybody's happy: your kids get to choose their snacks, and you get to ensure that they're eating healthfully.

Take a Dip

Kids love anything they can dip! A baggie full of carrot and celery sticks, cucumber and bell pepper slices, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes will disappear like magic if there's a tub of dip to go with them.

Make some ranch dressing using low fat ingredients, or make a batch of nutritious hummus, bean dip or salsa.

Baked tortilla chips and whole wheat crackers or pita triangles are perfect, nutritious and kid-pleasing accompaniments for dips, too.

Sliced fruit takes on a whole new appeal as well when it's accompanied by a sweet, creamy dip. Good fruit dips include flavored yogurt, applesauce, low fat sour cream sweetened with honey or brown sugar, and caramel ice cream topping.

Be Constructive

Let kids construct their own snacks. You'll keep them occupied and they might be more likely to sample whatever nutritious foods they're working with.

Fruit Kabobs: Stick melon balls, berries, pineapple chunks, and cubed peaches, pears or apples onto frilled toothpicks.

Mini Sandwiches: Use crackers or cut-up bread--or give the kids a few slices of bread, lunch meat, and cheese, and a couple of miniature cookie cutters to make tiny, fun-shaped sandwiches.

Pizza: Who can resist pizza? Pizza can be a perfectly healthy snack. Use half an English muffin, a whole pita, or a tortilla as a pizza crust. Let them smear on a bit of bottled tomato sauce, add a light sprinkle of low-fat mozzarella cheese, and then top with chopped vegetables and maybe a bit of lean meat. Heat for a few minutes in the toaster oven or microwave, then cut into triangles for extra kid-appeal.

Freeze!

We usually equate frozen snacks with special treats, like ice cream and snow cones. Take advantage of that association: frozen grapes are cool like popsicles and sweet like candy, but they've got plenty of vitamins and fiber too. Peel and freeze bananas, then roll the frozen fruit in chocolate syrup and chopped nuts. Other favorites include peach and nectarine slices, and berries of all kinds. Turn any combination of frozen fruit, milk, yogurt, juice and ice into a delicious, nutritious "milkshake."

Substitute!

Even traditional desserts can become healthy, well-balanced snacks.

Make cookies and muffins with applesauce in place of some of the fat, and add oats, dried fruit, nuts and whole wheat flour.

Achieve the cool, creamy deliciousness of ice cream with low fat frozen yogurt, or pudding made with nonfat milk and frozen into pops.

Top a big, fluffy slice of angel food cake with fresh fruit to add vitamins and fiber, or cut it into cubes for dipping into fruit-flavored yogurt for an extra dose of calcium.

Establish a Snacking Zone

When hungry kids burst through the front door after school, they grab whatever is easy and available. So it's best to have a few things prepared in advance. Designate one shelf of the refrigerator and/or pantry as the "snack shelf," with the understanding that anything that's on that shelf is okay to eat without having to ask permission first. Then, stock the shelf with several choices--a little healthy variety to hold the kids' interest and keep you from worrying about them overloading on junk.

Extracurricular activities keep some kids at school throughout the afternoon. Fruit, vegetable sticks, crackers, cheese, granola bars, healthy cookies, and muffins, and peanut butter sandwiches are all high-energy foods that hold up well in a locker until your hungry kid is ready for a homemade pick-me-up. Homemade munchies also helps them avoid the sugar and fat-laden temptation of the vending machine or convenience store.

Find healthy recipes for every meal of the day.

Comments
Jun. 18, 2009 6:46 am
Great article! I try to have my supper cooked by 3PM because my kids eat lunch at school at 10:30 AM and 11PM. I always try to make healthy food.Healthy granola bars, cookies, and muffins are a favorite.This article gave me some extra ideas that I know my kids will love!
 
Linda54494 
Jul. 14, 2009 7:36 am
These recipes sound delicious for kids and elderly too
 
daveabed 
Jul. 30, 2009 3:04 pm
For kids that are in the yogurt mood, Breyers Yogurt just rolled out these great Disney themed low-fat, swirled yogurt snacks rich with calcium, Vitamin A & D. Hannah Montana is Strawberry and Mixed Berry. Info at www.breyersyogurt.com.
 
mommapayne 
Sep. 16, 2009 9:53 pm
I make a pb&J sandwich and then cut into various shapes. (Puzzle Peices) they can fit together before they eat.
 
Lillu 
Sep. 28, 2009 11:45 pm
For a great summer snack, I stack organic frozen yogurt with almond slices, and colorful berries in a beautiful clear bowl. The kids love the presentation as well as the taste.
 
Mar. 4, 2010 2:05 pm
These idea's are great, I have three of the pickiest boys I know, hope fully I can work more healthy food into their diets. Thanks again
 
Jun. 19, 2010 8:29 pm
The Veggie Plate is good too! The kids love it when i give them a plate that is smiling with veggies on it!
 
Jul. 30, 2010 8:47 am
I put out the vegies and dip at their hungriest time, while I'm cooking dinner. They can't "spoil" dinner with vegies, which always disappear!
 
love andrew 
Jul. 31, 2010 2:52 pm
love it keep doing more
 
Aug. 10, 2010 9:29 pm
Great ideas!Thanks
 
tara-louise 
Aug. 26, 2010 6:03 am
okay, these are great ideas for any normal kid but what do I do for my 7 year old who has multiple allergies including..egg, wheat, dairy and anaphalaxis to nuts? I'm finding it hard to keep things balanced and affordable. Any suggestions?
 
Aug. 26, 2010 7:36 am
Some great ideas here. Thanks.
 
Amy 
Sep. 8, 2010 9:03 pm
Tara-Louise, my 13 year old has a lot of those issues as well. Just a few ideas: Today we discovered he loves organic soy yogurt from yobaby "o'soy"; you can put them into a mold and freeze them too (which is wonderful because he really misses ice cream!). Also hummus and celery or rice crackers, but check the label for eggs, dairy and nuts; Fruit smoothies made with soy or coconut milk. If these things are too expensive it is possible to learn how to make them. Also there is egg replacer for making baked goods with brown rice flour, potato flour, and amaranth. They're not exactly like wheat-based foods, but a young child will develop a taste for them before long. Spelt flour is sometimes tolerated by those with gluten allergies. As for dairy, I found out my son is terribly allergic to cheese (his eczema broke out) but I muscle tested him and found out he is okay with raw cheese I found at the health food store. Might be worth looking into. Hope this helps. Good luck to you :)
 
Chelle<3 
Sep. 9, 2010 10:29 am
@ Tara-Louise I have food allergies too. I love to use different nut/seed butters with fruit (esp. cashew and sunflower). I also do sandwich type stuff with corn tortillas (I prefer La Favorita). Also, if it's just wheat and not gluten, I love oat bars (bobo's are AWESOME but kind of expensive and mostly in Colorado and California). I also make protein shakes with Nature's Plus energy powder and frozen fruit and soygurt. Hope this helps!
 
Isarme 
Sep. 9, 2010 10:45 am
I have been waiting for an article like this, my little cousin likes to make snacks and she just started school. Im going to try all of these with her :D
 
Jenn 
Feb. 3, 2011 7:21 am
I have a picky kid who won't go near anything mushy (applesauce, pudding, cooked oatmeal, etc.) or condiments of any kind. He'll eat raw carrots, celery and some fresh fruits, but wouldn't touch a dip. Not even cheese sauce or tomato. It makes "hiding" veggies impossible. Luckily, he adores cauliflower and fresh fish. Putting vegetables on a pizza is not kid friendly to me, not when you're dealing with a regular picky kid. I know this article isn't about picky kids, but I find 99% of kid friendly articles are useless to me. *sigh*
 
flmnmama 
Feb. 21, 2011 9:52 am
Good tips. Local, whole foods are always best! Of course, most of us aren't albe/ready to avoid processed foods altogether. Another suggestion is to find similar, all-natural/organic alternatives to your kids' favorite processed snacks. Check out my recent blog post on this: http://naturalbeginningsdaycare.weebly.com/2/post/2011/02/simple-snack-substitutions.html
 
amiller419 
Mar. 31, 2011 11:45 pm
hi I am trying to find healthy snack ideas for my babysitter and 4 yr old son.while I work,We do normal .But I thought about maybe some fun things.I found a website that has some fun,clever and healthy snacks but I need more any suggestions. &#13;&#10;http://www.howtofindananny.com/healthy-and-creative-snack-ideas/&#13;&#10;I am looking for creative ideas like this any help would be great thanks
 
krob88 
May 29, 2011 11:22 pm
Very nice post, well presented. I am really very particular about my babies food and what you have suggested is really very nice recipes. Healthy food recipes
 
krob88 
May 29, 2011 11:23 pm
Great!!!&#13;&#10;http://www.allmothers.net/healthy-food-recipes-for-kids.html
 
Jul. 18, 2011 11:38 am
I'd like to suggest you a super snack for kids, and not only. It is sweet (no sugar inside), it is healthy and crispy. It can be eaten anywhere anytime and by almost anyone. It is part of Mediterranean food and it is better if it is traditionally produced. Check this http://goo.gl/B0ARo
 
Sep. 8, 2011 5:18 am
Being a substitute teacher I must tell you, most of what moms send with their kids goes in the trash. No matter what your kids tell you, "Yeah mom, I ate my carrots and hummus!", they don't. They may eat it for you, but at school they opt out, which might be why when they get home they are so hungry. I found most of the ideas here pretty much grace the bins in the cafeteria. Sorry moms, but being a mom of 3 teenage boys I have learned what you think Johnny and Mary are loving is a totally other story when your eyes are not upon them. My son had a friend over and he admitted FINALLY to his mom that when he was a 'little kid' (age 8-13) he told his mom he LOVED the celery and cheese snacks she made for him, but secretly he hated them but didn't want to rock the boat. I have learned that my boys are the same way, they LOVED the fish stew I would make, but come to find out they really didn't but saw I worked hard on it and ate it anyway. What I would like to see are recipes for ki
 
Apr. 16, 2012 8:37 am
Interesting article. I stumbled upon it perusing for ideas for snacks for our neice and nephews. I like the idea of including them in the snack "building" process!
 
Hungry 
May 4, 2012 6:02 am
Tara-Louis you might just try looking at feeding your 7 year old in a different way ,just the way food is made in nature. Without any modification to it. In other words basically fruits, veggies, beans,meat.You can use your imagination and mixx and match . I hope it his helps.
 
UTOPIACHICK2004 
Jun. 6, 2012 10:24 pm
Legomom may be correct with some kids, but not all. I don't know that it's the food itself that kids are throwing out, but wanting to eat FAST to go play with their friends. My kid EATS what I send her to lunch with. And I know this because I send her with re-useable containers and I SEE what she is and is not eating. If she doesn't eat something, we then have a discussion about whether she just didn't feel like eating a certain thing on a given day, if she's tired of an item, or if she doesn't want me to pack it at all any more. I NEVER guilt her if she decides she doesn't want a particular item any more. She also often gets to choose as well. As in, out of these 4 vegetables, which two do you want in your lunch tomorrow. She was on a school field trip that I had originally volunteered for, but wound up not being able to go due to illness and we had to pack a brown bag lunch. I later found out from the parent volunteers that were in her group how astounded they were that she
 
Monica 
Jun. 21, 2012 4:38 pm
I'm a busy mom and prefer quick healthy snacks. My, and the kids', favourite snack is berry yogurt made by my kids! I get natural Finnish berrypowders from www.thenordicspirit.com, put them in small jars, and the kids mix some with plain or vanilla yogurt. This is a delicious, super healthy, high-fiber, low-calorie snack with no sugar, chemicals or additives. It doesn't take much of my time but keeps the kids busy for a while.
 
 
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