Posted on Jun 25, 2013 in Featured
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When it comes to giving kids something to snack on wouldn’t it be best to give them something that is both healthy and all natural? Here are some of my children’s favorite after school snacks that I can make up in a jiffy. It does not have to be hard to come up with tasty and healthy snack for your children. Just try some of these fun ideas:
1. Fruit Rollups – Put aside those chemical filled, plastic coated store bought sugar wraps and make your own healthy and natural version. It is so easy! Just mash up some strawberries and blend with applesauce. Cook it down a bit and then spread it out into a thin layer on wax paper. Let it dry in your oven or over a couple of days and cut it into strips. Yummy and long lasting fruit rolls will stay quite a while tightly wrapped and stored in your refrigerator. That is if your kids don’t gobble them all up first!
2. Ants on a Log – There is something so appealing about peanut butter. Kids just love it and I love the high protein. To make this simple snack just cut a section of celery and fill it with creamy peanut butter. Then top with raisins or dried cranberries for a fun and tasty treat.
3. Apple Sandwiches – Another peanut butter snack this one is better tasting to me. Just core and apple and then cut it into slices with the hollow core in the center. On one slice layer a coating of peanut butter and sprinkle on some dried cranberries or raisins. Top with another slice of apple for a fun sandwich kids will gobble up. You can do the same thing with a banana if you prefer.
4. Pretzels – I am not much on pretzels but my kids seem to like them. They are low in fat so that is okay with me. The large pretzels are easy to make and can be created using different topping for a variety of starts. Plain sea salt, cinnamon and sugar, grated cheese and rosemary are just a few suggestions. I like to dip them in mustard for extra flavor. For the smaller, crunchy pretzels I like to serve them with peanut butter for dipping. They also go great with banana.
5. Frozen Grapes – I remember the first time I tried grapes frozen. I knew I would never want to eat another chemical filled popsicle again. All you have to do is pop a cluster of grapes in the freezer and let it sit overnight. I like to wash them just before I put them in so they have a crispy and crunchy ice layer around each grape. Set out a bowl and watch the kids’ expressions as they bite into a gritty, cool and tasty treat. Great for summer you can take them on the go too and always have something cool on hand. I even pack them into school lunches as an alternative to an ice pack.
6. Frozen Banana Pops – Another great alternative to artificially flavored popsicles, a frozenbanana is a tasty treat. There are several ways to prepare this treat. The easiest is to cut a banana in half and insert a stick. You can then eat as is or dip in chocolate before freezing. My kids also like to make banana ice cream. Just blend up a banana and freeze, stirring every hour or so until it gains an ice cream like consistency. Tastes just like ice cream and it is so much better for you!
7. Trail Mix – Forget the store bought mixes it is easy to make your own trail mix with your favorite ingredients. My kids love healthy nuts like pecans, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Add to that some dried fruit bits, some mini chocolate chips and some pretzels and you have a trail mix fit for a king. For long trips and summer days I leave out the chocolate because it tends to melt. It is way cheaper to buy your own ingredients then to buy a big bag of already made up mix and you can assure the quality of the ingredients you purchase.
8. Dried Fruit (and Veggies) – Speaking of dried fruit my kids love it. Sweet and tasty it is almost as good as the real thing and lasts so much longer. It is also very portable and makes a great snack when you are in line or in the car. My favorites are dried pears and peaches, though the peaches can be a bit odoriffic. My kids love the soft and squishy apple slices and the crunchy and sweet dried bananas. Of course berries like cranberry, cherry and blueberry are hits too. Freeze dried strawberries are also a tasty treat. One of my children even likes to snack on dried peas and okra!
9. Dry Cereal – Really in a rush and short on time? Pick up a parent’s best friend in the children’s snack world. Dried cereal! There are all kinds of great cereal out there with natural ingredients and low sugar content. Cheerios, Chex, Kix and the like are only some of the whole grain, low sugar brands. Even I like to munch on Froot Loops once in a while for a sweet treat. You can also get granola or Kashee cereals that have fruit and other tasty bits already mixed in.
10. Goldfish Crackers – Another kid favorite these baked cheese crackers now come in whole grain varieties that make them a great snack idea. You can make your own version of these all natural without any problem if you would like. All it takes is some flour and a lot of cheese to make a tasty baked cheese snack cracker for your kids. Look up a recipe and see how simple it can be.
11. Graham Crackers – I remember my grandmother giving us these as a snack when I was little and she still does this today with my children. Originally created as a diet food, these sweet crackers can come in varieties like cinnamon, honey and even chocolate. The Teddy Grahams are my children’s favorite kind but they are usually too expensive for me to justify buying. Instead we like the honey flavored ones and snack on them with a glass of milk for dipping.
12. Animal Crackers – Okay, I have to admit that I hate these. However my kids, for some odd reason, love these bland little crackers. To me they taste like cardboard but I can get behind them because they are low fat and low sugar. I think my kids like them so much because they can play with their food. Should I find it disturbing that they like to bite the heads off first?
13. Lunchables – I didn’t know what else to call it. Although I don’t plunk down the chunk of change for these prepackaged snacks, I do serve my kids something similar. With sliced cheese and lunch meat and some whole grain crackers I can give my kids the same tasty treat at a fraction of the price. Not only that but I get to choose what healthy meats and cheeses to put together. My kids’ favorite is turkey and white cheddar.
14. Baby Veggies – Some kids like to eat vegetables and some don’t but I have found out that it is a lot easier to get kids to eat veggies when you present them in fun ways. You can make faces, make a rainbow or even a palm tree. Baby vegetables are inherently cute and fun for kids especially since they come in kid friendly sizes. Baby carrots, small crowns of broccoli, and tender baby spinach are just some treats I give to my kids. If they refuse to eat them plain I serve them with a small amount of low fat ranch dip.
15. Oatmeal Cookies – Last but not least is a deceptively healthy dessert. Oatmeal cookies are packed with fiber and nutrition and you can even further lower the fat content by replacing the oil with applesauce and the eggs with egg whites. Throw in some dried cranberries or raisins and some finely chopped nuts for protein and you have a cookie you are proud to give your kids as a snack.
These are just a few of the many great natural and healthy snack ideas you can serve your kids. It is a fact of life that kids will want to snack. Help them to pick something better than chips and sodas. If you make fruits and veggies fun and tasty then they will learn to favor a healthier way of eating. It all starts at home!
This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for www.4nannies.com. She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @ gmail.com.