Kids are almost always hungry. Because they are constantly moving, they burn the calories from meals in just a couple hours. Having healthy snacks on hand to offer them can keep them from reaching for chips and soda when they need a quick bite.
There are hundreds of healthy snack options for kids. The best snacks are the ones that are easy to prepare, and edible on the go. Some ideas that require no preparation are yogurt cups or tubes, raisin boxes, fruit snacks, and granola bars. Applesauce cups are another great snack. These healthy snacks are fairly inexpensive and great for kids with a bit of a sweet tooth. Many of these options have low-fat or low-sugar varieties, as well.
Most healthy snacks are easy to make. One classic idea is ants on a log. This is made by spreading peanut butter on celery sticks, then sprinkling on raisins. Cream cheese can also be used. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches are full of important nutrients, and taste great. Sliced vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery, served with low fat dip are another healthy idea. Fresh fruits, either sliced or whole, are a delicious snack idea.
Homemade snacks are great for special treats on days when there is more free time. For those who love to bake, there are some healthy snacks that are easy to make, and very popular with kids. One is soft pretzels. Another idea is muffins, like zucchini, carrot, or pumpkin, with oatmeal mixed into the batter. For non-bakers, mix up some juice, and make popsicles. Smoothies are also easy to make, and are great for hot summer days.
Snack platters, filled with a little of everything, are great for when the kids have friends over. Just set the platter out, and let the kids help themselves to their own healthy snacks, with something for everyone. One idea for the platter is crackers and cheese, possibly served with a little pepperoni. Graham crackers topped with peanut butter could also go on the platter. This is another great place for the sliced fruits and vegetables, too.
Snack mixes are healthy snacks perfect for kids who are reluctant to give up snacking on chips. Trail mix is a great option. Mix dry cereal with nuts, pretzels, and cheese crackers. Some chocolate chips, mini-marshmallows, and raisins also go well. Serve them in individual portions, great for on the go. Popcorn, popped in a popcorn maker, is a healthy alternative to bagged popcorn. Although it is easy to season the popcorn with store-bought mixes, it’s tasty plain, too.
It is important to have healthy snacks available for kids that are not always made up of empty calories. Teaching kids the benefits of making smart eating choices when they are young can lead to a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Snacks are an easy way to round off nutritional requirements for the day.
Healthy snacks should be kept in an area that is easy for children to reach, with unhealthy choices kept in less accessible areas. This will encourages children to reach for the healthy options first. By encouraging healthy snacking, parents can give their children the nutrients and know-how needed for healthy living.