Soccer practice, hiking, the park or the back yard: your kids play hard and they need healthy snacks to fuel their growing bodies. Here are some quick, healthy snacks your kids will love and you’ll feel great about feeding them.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are fast snacks your kids will love. The key is having them at the ready: washed and sliced when it’s time to eat so there’s no fuss. Here’s a great tip for pre-slicing apples: core and quarter the apple and then put the pieces back together and wrap with a rubber band. This will prevent air exposure that leads to browning. You can also toss the slices with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.
Bananas and oranges are also great options for on-the-go: just peel and eat! Raisins provide a good source of iron; think about a variety of dried fruits or make your own trail mix.
For veggies, cut up broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and celery into bite-sized sticks or pieces and place in sandwich bags for easy, grab-n-go snacks your kids will love.
Add a Little Protein
Provided there are no allergies, peanut butter is a great addition to any snack. It’s great spread on apples or celery sticks. Spread a little peanut butter between crackers for a healthy sandwich-style “cookie.”
Another great option is cheese, in moderation. String cheese or pre-packaged chunks of cheddar chess add depth to a snack of fruits and vegetables.
Hard boiled eggs are another fast, nutritious snack. Just peel and eat. Add a little salt and pepper, or squeeze some Dijon mustard onto the egg: tastes like a deviled egg without the work.
Rice cakes provide a base for a variety of cool snacks. They come flavored or plain and are portable, providing a satisfying crunch. Spread peanut butter, cream cheese, hummus or jam onto a rick cake for an easy, delicious treat anytime.
Other kid friendly snacks include whole grain pretzels, graham crackers, animal cookies or baked crackers. Offer these with a nutritious spread or as a stand-along snack.
Build Your Own
Set out several snack options for kids to choose from: more options increase the chances of them finding something they like and it’s easy to do. For instance, make up a build-your-own mini sandwich platter with slices of turkey or ham, pieces of cheese, and crackers or bread. A bunch of freshly-washed grapes and a couple of individual yogurts and pretty soon, your kids will have created a nutritious snack.
With the exception of fruits, which are naturally high in sugar, try to avoid sugary snacks like cookies and candy. They enter the blood stream quickly, spiking glucose levels. Just as fast, they’re digested, causing a “crash” and low energy. For these same reasons, avoid sugary drinks, including sports drinks, soda and juices with added sugars. Keep your kids going all day long with a mix of protein, fruits and vegetables, healthy grains and plenty of water to stay hydrated.