Did you know that children grow faster during infancy than they do during puberty? Food is fuel and little ones need a lot of it to meet their body’s demands for growth and development.
Tempering quantity with quality can help ensure your child receives adequate nourishment to meet each milestone successfully. Here are 6 healthy snacks for kids that can get even your pediatrician’s smile of approval.
1. Plain Popcorn
Popcorn is a crowd-pleaser. You can have it at the theater, at parties, curled up in front of the TV. There are countless toppings like butter, cheese, and even caramel. While adults enjoy this deliciousness at their leisure, parents may hesitate to offer it to their children.
Air-popped corn is quite healthy. It is low in calories and fat while offering substantial levels of fiber and protein which benefits digestion. It even boasts of high mineral content in the form of phosphorus and potassium which benefit cell production.
It is what we add to our popped corn that degrades its nutritional value. The next time your little ones beg for that crunchy snack, don’t hesitate to reach for the right salt and pass them a guilt-free cup full.
2. Cheese Snacks
Cheese snacks are hard to resist and many believe it’s fat. Fat tends to raise any dish to the level of exquisite but it can also be a double-edged sword. Too many of the wrong kinds of fats can pose a health risk. So, are cheese snacks healthy options for kids?
They are! Cheeses such as burrata, for example, are high in phosphorus which helps digestion. It is also rich in vitamin A and E which promotes healthy skin and provides a boost to the immune system. To help balance the fat content, you can add starch or protein to your cheese snack.
You can eat burrata cheese with a lot of different things. You can pair it with vegetables such as roasted carrots or tomatoes, using the creaminess as the centerpiece of the dish. Or dollop it over a small chicken burrito for a mouthful of delightful flavor.
Children may have around 12 teeth less than an adult but any parent will admit more than half of them are desperately attuned to sweets. Trailmix does a good job of satisfying that ever-demanding sweet tooth. You’ll be happy to know that trail mix is a surprisingly healthy snack for kids.
Ingredients can include granola and dried fruit. You can even add nuts, candy, and seeds. Healthy snacks should be macronutrient balanced and this snack has it all. Fruit provides carbohydrates, and nuts provide both protein and healthy fats. It’s fun to make and easy to carry around.
Add in the nutritional benefits – such as Vitamins, minerals, and fiber – and Trail mix comes very close to being a perfect snack. It’s also a great way to hide foods your child may hesitate to eat on its own such as raisins and walnuts.
4. Milk and Cookies
When it comes to bedtime snacks, warm milk and cookies are kings. It is loved all around the world for its oh-so-sweet and satisfying comfort. With the right ingredients, this combo can be a surprisingly healthy snack for kids. Oats and bananas readily come to mind.
Oats are a good source of vitamins and minerals. This makes it an excellent choice for young children. It also has the added benefit of high fiber and rich antioxidants. The complexity of the carbs contained in oats also makes them an ideal source of fuel.
Bananas may add to cookie sweetness but its natural sugars. Bananas also have a wealth of minerals such as iron. Iron is instrumental in hemoglobin production and red cell formation. An excellent choice to ward off anemia which has become all too common due to iron deficiency.
Not to be forgotten is the power of a warm glass of milk. Milk is full of nutrients, the least of which is protein. The calcium found in this beverage is great for building strong bones. An important benefit during the rapid growth cycle young ones experience.
There is a laundry list of reasons to avoid giving your children store-bought popsicles. The nutritional value is next to zero. It is packed to the gills with sugar and additives. Not to mention the chaos of the rush that follows or the crash that will keep them up at night.
Homemade popsicles though are quite a delightful treat. It’s fun to make, mouth-watering, delicious, and – with the right ingredients – a great option for daily recommended nutrition. Vitamins, minerals, and even protein can be worked into this surprisingly healthy snack.
Fresh fruit puree makes an excellent popsicle base. Berries, pineapple, peach, and even mango make wonderful selections. Low or no fat Yogurt can be used to liquefy the puree along with some natural fruit juice. If you want to get creative you can even make vegetable popsicles with milk as the liquefier. Refrigerate and enjoy it at your leisure.
6. Banana Split
The dessert of champions. Ice cream, bananas, nuts, chocolate syrup, cherries, and sprinkles. Sugar overload but when homemade, a nutritional gold mine. Using plain yogurt instead of ice cream offers you a valuable protein base.
Bananas and other fruit such as berries or kiwi add much-needed natural sugars, vitamins, and minerals. Add some granola for fiber and a healthy snack is born. Nuts and cherries are still welcome as these can add carbs, fat and protein.
Surprise Your Kids
We can’t always eat what we love so we might as well make sure we love what we eat. One way to do that is to ensure meals are not only visually but texturally pleasing. This is especially true for children who do so very much of their eating with their eyes.
At first glance some snacks may appear inadequate but, on inspection, some are surprisingly healthy. Replacing nutritionally deficient ingredients with healthier options is one way to ensure you meet both the nutritional and taste requirements of your growing treasures.
By making snacks both fun and good to eat you’ll succeed in ensuring your little ones always keep coming back for more.