Getting your children off to a good start is important. Helping them to have healthy lifestyles measured by their choice in food and desire to stay active never can start too early. I have clients in San Antonio who ask me a lot about how to do it and the answer is clear. You control what the child eats in his or her early years, so making sure the foods are most nutritious is a top priority and also why finding healthy snacks for kids can help.
Start with nutrition that has eye appeal.
Sure, those celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter taste good and kids will eat them, but putting a few raisins on top of the peanut butter and calling it ants on a log can make it a real game. Who doesn’t want to gobble up the ant? Maybe you and I, but kids love this type of imagination used with food. Making vegetable animals like a celery snail—like ants on a log, but with two pretzels for antennae and a round slice of cucumber for the shell—can bring delight to any child’s face.
Keep it simple to cut time.
If you have to go through long hours in front of the stove, the chances of making healthy snacks ahead starts to diminish. How about some microwave popcorn? Not the bag type you buy at the store, but homemade microwave popcorn. All you need is small brown paper lunch bags, popcorn and some coconut oil. Put a small spoonful of coconut oil and popcorn in the bag, roll the bag tight on the end and put it in the microwave. An air popper also works. Sprinkle it with Parmesan or American cheese or other toppings. Having sliced fruit already in a bowl in the fridge also boosts the power of healthy snacks.
Letting the kids help can boost their enjoyment.
I know the minute you read that line you had a vision of the kitchen topsy-turvy, but helping doesn’t have to mean that, especially if you’re making trail mix. Take them to the store where you can buy bulk nuts and treats with you. Choose a few ingredients you definitely want and some backups for them to choose from. For instance, you might want pumpkin and sunflower seeds, but you can let them choose the type of nuts to add or what type of dried fruit. There’s no harm in buying a small bag of mini dark chocolate bits to add as long as you go lightly and store the unused portion in the refrigerator for the next batch. Even a few M&Ms wouldn’t hurt if you want a more colorful mixture. Let them help mix and bag individual portions.
- While it was mentioned before about fruit, it doesn’t hurt to bring it up about vegetables. If you have veggies already cut with a healthy dip like seasoned Greek yogurt, the kids will eat more of it.
- Make an octopus from string cheese or just pair it with a sliced apple for a less artistic snack.
- When warm weather comes, there’s nothing better than a frozen treat. Don’t even consider that sugar water called a Popsicle. Instead, buy your own mold and use a juicy fruit like a watermelon for the liquid with chopped bits or sliced pieces of other fruit added.
- Do the kids like fruit yogurt. Skip the store bought type and make your own from plain yogurt and fresh fruit. It has far less sugar and more nutrients. You can get them started on less sugar young!