Everyone has good intentions on providing healthy snacks for kids but following through can be hard. Balancing multiple schedules, driving kids to and from activities, as well as keeping your own sanity intact can be a lot to handle. Sometimes, figuring out what snacks to have handy is the last thing you need on your plate. The good news is that a lot of quick snacks for kids on the go exist and once you get into a routine, providing snacks is a breeze. Not sure about where to start on finding healthy snacks for kids? Keep reading to learn more about how to choose healthy snacks your kids will actually eat.
Think Simple – Avoid Complication
Simple snacks are key to avoiding stress, as well as keeping your kids fed and healthy. While dreaming about gourmet recipes is fun, you might not have the time or brainpower to prepare these often. Keeping snacks simple will save you time and energy. In turn, your kids learn that snacks are just – snacks! Save the gourmet dishes for meal-time as a treat, especially if you have picky eaters in your house.
One of the easiest ways to keep snacks simple yet healthy is to first ask your children what they want from their snacks. If fruits and vegetables are frowned upon, ask what could be added to make them more desirable. Having a conversation about snack options first helps your child feel some independence with their food choices, yet still lets you have the final say. Having these conversations can also prevent you from leftovers that never get consumed.
If you are having trouble keeping your snacks simple, think in pairs. If you want your kid to consume carrots for a snack, try paring the carrots with hummus or ranch. If you want them to have yogurt, try adding a few berries in. Bored with just almonds? Try combining the nuts with string cheese. Pairing foods for a snack gives the illusion of consuming more without adding on unnecessary calories.
Serve in Style
Kids are more likely to eat a healthy snack if they visually approve of what they are seeing in front of them. There’s a reason that “ants on a log”, which consists of celery smeared with peanut butter and raisins, became such a popular snack! Consider purchasing a special reusable bag, like stasher bags, for daily snacks that kids can take for during or after school. If consuming snacks at home, grab a plate and cut up the snack into a fun shape, like a smiley face. Little efforts like these take minimal time and can make all the difference.
Plan Ahead – Snack Prep is the new Meal Prep
Is #snackprep the new trendy hashtag? It should be! Planning is the most crucial aspect of keeping your snack game efficient. Pick a day each week to go over your kids’ activities and schedules to determine when snacks will be helpful for the following week. Then, write out a few options for snacks and get to prepping. Providing a few options every week and then letting your child choose their snacks each day helps them take ownership of their habits. The other key part of #snackprep is to prepare the snacks as far as you can when you have time. We know it’s tempting to put the unwashed fruits and veggies in the refrigerator right when you return from the store. But if you can commit to preparing snacks now rather than later, you’ll thank us. If you have a big bag of carrots, portion out carrots into single servings and stash in the fridge for grab n go access. Wash fresh fruit now so you don’t have to rush later and can just enjoy eating the flavorful goodness. Lastly, organize your refrigerator and pantry to have a “snack area” where your kids know they can go and grab any of the options you make available.
Ideas for Healthy Snacks You Can Make
Are you ready to start snackin’ and just need a little recipe inspiration? Look no further. Here are some recipe ideas for homemade snacks that are appetizing to kids of all ages.
- Baked Oatmeal Bars. This specific recipe refers to them as a breakfast food, but this is an easy way to incorporate oatmeal into an easy snack. Make a pan on Sunday and enjoy throughout the week.
- Homemade Trail Mix. Your grocery store probably has at least 10 different kinds of trail mix, but if you want to ensure your kids like all the ingredients, it is just as easy to make it yourself. This recipe from Healthy Maven highlights different ingredients to mix together for a healthy trail mix.
- Frozen Blueberry Yogurt Bites. One easy way to make berries more exciting is to freeze them. Even better? Add yogurt! The combination has sweetness, but also fiber and calcium for nutritional value.
These are just a few recipes to get you started on snack creation. Don’t be afraid to try new things and mix flavors together. At the end of the day, just make sure the snacks are easily portable and consumed.
Can I Buy Pre-Made Healthy Snacks?
If you are in a pinch and need convenient snacks that are already prepared, there are many options kids will love. When it is time to head to the grocery store, you definitely want a game plan. Here are a few examples of healthy snacks for kids that won’t break the bank.
- Single Serve Dips. Ranch, hummus, and guac, OH MY! These pair great with so many different foods. One great pairing is with high fiber foods like vegetables or whole-wheat crackers. You can also use different types of chips to mix up the dipping.
- Fresh Fruit. Fruits with layers and peels are well protected from day to day activities. Oranges, apples, and bananas are easy to store.
- Fruit Cups. We know that sometimes, pre-packaged fruit cups are the quickest option to get a serving in. Aim to buy these packed in water, not juice or syrup, which is full of extra sugar.
- Peanut Butter. Is there anything peanut butter cannot do? There are so many options to incorporate peanut butter into a healthy snack! Most grocery stores sell peanut butter in various size jars, but also have single packs.
- Whole grain cereals. Again, cereal is another food that comes in large quantities or single-serving packages. Typically, it is cheaper to buy the larger box and portion out yourself, but there’s no shame in buying the single packs! Whole grain cereals, like cheerios, have higher amounts of fiber and lower added sugar. The more fiber, the longer your child stays satisfied. Fiber also provides many benefits for digestive health.
- Cheese. Lean cheeses, like mozzarella, are excellent sources of protein and calcium. String cheese is a great snack – mess-free and easy to eat on the go.
- Yogurt. Another excellent source of calcium is yogurt. Most yogurt is sold in single-serving packages, so the convenience is built-in. Beware of flavored yogurts though, many have high amounts of added sugar to accompany the sweetness. Greek yogurt is specifically high in protein, as well as calcium. Be sure to read the nutrition facts labels to understand what you are purchasing!
The Bottom Line
Snacks sometimes get a bad reputation as junk food, but there are many snack ideas that incorporate healthy ingredients. Kids often change their minds quickly, so don’t be afraid to switch up your snack routine to keep things interesting. Ultimately, the key to healthy snacking is to find flavorful foods that have some of the key nutrients that help keep you full, like protein and fiber. Here at SnackLazy, we are all about simple snacks that are still fulfilling, especially for your kids. Have an idea or recipe to add to our list? Drop a comment below.