Healthy Snacks for Kids: 3 Creative Ideas
As parents, we know our little monsters are snack-eating machines. However, it can sometimes take a little creativity and ingenuity to get them excited to eat healthy snacks. While they would be more than happy to munch on sugary sweets all day long, the sweet stuff doesn't provide the body-nourishing nutrients our kiddos need to grow.
Plus, feeding your tiny tots healthy snacks is an excellent way of leading them toward a healthy future. And seeing as obesity is on the rise, which can lead to a life full of debilitating medical conditions, we'd say starting them early on the health-conscious bandwagon is of the utmost importance!
Sure, a treat here and there is perfectly acceptable. It’s even encouraged not to eliminate calorie-laden salty and sweet snacks from young children's diets altogether as not to give them a sort of a mystique or appeal.
In other words, parents who make these treats "forbidden foods" inadvertently also make them highly desirable foods to their children. This can create an unhealthy relationship with food that often leads to a lifelong battle with eating issues — specifically binge eating. Snack time should be an enjoyable experience.
How We Can Help Our Little Ones
To help our little ones to develop a healthy relationship with food, we need to teach balance, self-control, and mindful eating. There's quite a bit of research that shows mindful eating can foster a child's curiosity and awareness about the food they eat and help them listen to their bodies for signs of hunger and satiety. And rather than noshing on all the cookies in the cookie jar, teaching self-control can help your growing sprout limit themselves, only to eat what they need to feel full and happy.
As for balance, this is another skill we need to instill in our kiddos. Balance teaches them that while it's okay to have a treat, it's not okay to have a diet primarily made up of treats (or things with a ton of added sugar). A balanced diet is a key to wellness and optimal health. And the earlier our kids learn this — the better.
So, what's a good way to lead our kids on a path of good nutrition? Simple, allow them an occasional treat and provide them with daily, undeniably yummy snacks; they won't believe they're eating healthy foods. Because healthy food is tasty at the end of the day — you just need to get a little creative to show them that.
In this post, we're tapping into our creative minds to explore some healthy snack ideas that your kids are sure to love. Are you ready? Let's dive in!
But First, Let’s Talk A Little Bit About Processed Foods
In a nutshell, processed food is anything altered from its original form. A good example is an apple compared to apple-flavored cereal. Or cheddar cheese compared to cheese crackers.
These popular products have been altered and contain lots of added or artificial ingredients — so they're considered processed. Most processed foods contain a whole lot of sugar, salt, and fat to extend the shelf-life. They also contain icky chemicals hidden within clever labels, such as:
- Preservatives - keep foods from rotting to extend shelf-life.
- Flavoring - helps to make food taste and smell better using addicting chemicals to make it more appealing.
- Colors and textures - are used to alter the color and the feel of food.
In the past several years, there's been an amazing cultural shift towards more organic and naturally grown foods that are free of processing — a phenomenon that is finally being taken note of by retailers. For this reason, many foods are beginning to contain healthy whole foods rather than the processed stuff — which is especially beneficial for parents. Why?
Because highly processed foods can negatively affect metabolism at the cellular level, damaging functions and abilities to grow cells lead to insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, and weak mitochondria, which causes foggy brains, fatigue, mood disorders, and more.
You see, nutrition is essential in aiding the development of children's brains and plays a significant role in learning and concentration. With that in mind and seeing as recent research shows ⅔ of calories in children come from ultra-processed foods, it's not surprising that childhood mental health issues are on the rise.
What Are Phytonutrients?
On the flip side of the coin, we have colorful plant foods which contain thousands of naturally occurring chemicals. These are called phytonutrients. Some of the best foods that contain these body-nourishing compounds include:
- Whole grains
Phytonutrients protect us in the same way they protect plants from disease and harmful environmental factors. Even small amounts of these powerful nutrients in our diet provide significant impact and can help boost our little monsters' overall health in more ways than one.
Simply put, phytonutrients are the complete opposite of highly processed foods, and a diet rich in colorful compounds is key for healthy childhood development.
Looking for an easy way to fuel your family's body with the nutrients they need to thrive? We recommend our undeniably tasty Phyto Perfect powder — the best way to get the protein and nutrients you need in a single scoop! Plus, it's vegan, all-natural, gluten-free, and lactose-free. What's not to love?
Healthy Snacks That Your Kids Will Love
If you're in a pinch, here's a quick list of snack ideas for your kids:
- Hummus and pretzels
- Granola bars
- A smoothie with fruits, vegetables, avocados, and honey
- Almond nut butter
- Trail mix
- Veggie chips
- Mozzarella cheese
- Peppers with dip
- Apple slices
- Tortilla chips and salsa
- A quesadilla
- Whole wheat baked goods
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Pouches (fruit and veggie blend)
Now, without further ado, let's check out a few body-nourishing snacks that your little ones are sure to love:
1. Fruit Pizza
A healthy twist on everyone's favorite Friday night treat, a fruit pizza is not only yummy, but it's super fun to make! Use a kid-size mini whole-wheat tortilla for the crust, and then let your kiddo spread a little cream cheese on the shell. Lay down a spread of colorful fruit toppings like strawberries, blueberries, and bananas for your child to pick from so they can decorate their very own pizza.
Slice it into slices, serve and enjoy.
2. Celery Snails and Caterpillars
Move over, ants on a log — we have a new wild duo in town! Use fresh-cut fruit and veggies to make adorable snails and caterpillars using celery stalks as a healthy base for your little critters.
For the snails, simply fill celery stalks with a bit of peanut butter or cream cheese and top with an apple, cucumber, kiwi, or orange slice as the shell and a cashew for the head. To make the caterpillars, fill your celery stalks the same way you did for the snails and top with blueberries, grapes, or grape tomatoes for the body, and voila!
3. Peanut Butter and Banana Yogurt Pops
Does your mini human love peanut butter? Then this healthy snack is right up your alley! All you have to do is toss a few bananas into your food processor with creamy peanut butter (look for natural peanut butter) and plain Greek yogurt. We also love adding a scoop of our peanut butter cookie Phyto Perfect powder for an extra boost of body-nourishing nutrients!
Process the ingredients until the mixture is perfectly smooth before spooning it into popsicle molds and adding a popsicle stick. Place them into the freezer and freeze until frozen.
Serve and enjoy!
A Final Word
And there you have it — three creative snack ideas that are just as tasty as they are healthy!
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Whether you're looking to take your health to the next level or fuel your growing child with the body-nourishing nutrients needed to support healthy growth and development, you can count on the original pioneers of the grass-fed/pasture-fed movement to have what you need to thrive.