Saturday, March 5, 2011

Healthy Snacks For Kids

These days it is so easy to hand our kids a pre-packaged convenience item to munch while we race to get to the next meeting or practice that we are already 10 minutes late for. Parents, we are not doing our kids, or ourselves, any favors by letting them suck down sugary drinks and nutritionally void snacks in the backseat of our cars. Taking just a little time, when we have the time, to prepare healthy snacks for kids will have them feeling and performing better throughout the day’s long schedule.

Good quality cheese sticks are just as easy to reach for as those neon colored "fruit" snacks. Delicious and full of protein, your kid will be satisfied and energized until dinner. Peanut butter is another high protein, kid friendly snack. Spread atop a rice cake or used as a dip for apple slices, peanut butter can be a versatile and tasty mini-meal-on-the-go. Choose a sugar free, natural peanut butter to alleviate any worries about unnecessary additives.

Mix up a batch of “sneaky” muffins to have ready during the week. Throwing a few extra fruits or veggies into a batter for banana or zucchini bread will make a nutritional difference, but nobody but you will be the wiser. Whole grain cereals are also a great, convenient choice. In a pinch, fill up a ziploc bag with dry cereal for munching on in the car. At home, try mixing it with yogurt and fruit to create an easy parfait. Tubes of yogurt can also be frozen into healthy snacks for kids and used to replace those syrupy popsicles and chemical laden ice-cream treats.

Hummus may not sound like a kid-friendly food, but it is a fun and excellent dip for chips (try making your own sweet potato chips with olive oil and sea salt) or veggie sticks. Hummus is also a great source of vitamins and iron and can serve as a sandwich spread in place of mayonnaise.

Include your children while making new snacks. Let them use their imaginations and get creative! If things get messy in the kitchen, don't worry! Kids can have as much fun cleaning up as they have cooking. Kids are more likely to try a new food when they are proud of preparing it with you. Equipped with healthy snacks for kids, we are better prepared to lead our children towards healthy habits for life.

To Your Health,

John Hall

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