Besides eating three meals per day, kids also need three healthy snacks. But what constitutes healthy? Generally, you will want to stick to the basic food groups of whole grain, fruits and vegetables, and dairy. Here are some easy to prepare, but nutritious snacks that fill the bill:
1) Whole Grain Cereal Clusters
Start with 3 cups of whole grain cereal, ½ cup chopped dried strawberries and 1 ½ cups of white chocolate chips.
Put the cereal and strawberries on a bowl. Melt the chocolate and drizzle it over the bowl mixture. Mix up the melted chocolate and bowl mixture. Spoon into mini muffin cups, and refrigerate until firm.
2) Cheese and Fruit Kebabs
When cut into fun shapes, these are a real hit with your kids. Take 4 cantaloupe or honeydew slices (or 2 slices of each), 4 fresh blackberries, 4 whole fresh strawberries, 2 ounces of reduced fat cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese and a few stick pretzels.
Using a 1 to 1 ½ inch cookie cutter, cut out shapes from the melon slices and cheese. Thread the fruit and cheese onto the stick pretzels and chill.
3) Fruit Smoothie
While you can buy fruit smoothies, most are loaded with unneeded sugar. You can make healthy ones at home (and for less money).
Start with an 8 ounce container of nonfat vanilla yogurt, 1 banana, 1 cup of strawberries or peaches and ¼ cup of orange juice.
Put all of the ingredients into a blender and whip. Serve in glasses.
4) Snack Mix
This snack only takes 15 minutes to make from start to finish. Ingredients needed are:
- 6 cups of popped popcorn
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 2 cups of potato sticks
- 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ cups of peanuts or almonds
- 1 cup of mixed dried fruit.
Start by popping popcorn either in the microwave or air popper. Lightly coat with the cooking spray and toss to coat the popcorn evenly. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and toss again. Finish by stirring in the potato sticks, nuts and dried fruit.
All of these recipes are healthy snacks that take almost no time to prepare. And all recipes are kid-proven to be something they will eat. Making your own snacks for your kids is not only cheaper, but you control what goes into them. Many pre-made snacks are loaded with sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. At least when you make it yourself, you can be sure what they eat between meals is healthy and nutritious.