www.howdini.com Kids are gonna snack--but snacks don't have to be junk food. Author and dietitian Elizabeth Somer has great ideas to help you get your kids to eat healthy snacks. Encouraging kids to eat healthy snacks * 25% of your children's calorie...
Healthy Snacks that's Light on the Budget
REMEMBER, do not give snacks a few minutes before mealtime. There is a tendency that your kids will lose the appetite for meal because of the snack.
Never Empty Veggie Platter
My kids are ravenous when they come home from school and if I am not careful then they eat way too many snacks and don't want any dinner. One of our favorite healthy snacks is a big crudite platter. I cut up carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, broccoli, lightly steamed green beans and include a dip made from cottage cheese and Ranch salad dressing whirred up in the blender. They eat that very willingly and I count it as their Veggie servings for the day.
My kids like fruit better if it is cut into fruit salad and they eat their fruit servings then too. Some other snacks are mini muffins (banana, blueberry, bran) that can be put in the freezer and quickly defrosted, tortilla with cream cheese and sliced veggies rolled up and sliced, tortilla with salad and dressing rolled up, peanuts/dried fruit mix, popcorn, refrigerated bread sticks (I brush them with a little tomato sauce and then sprinkle with basil and garlic before I bake). It's hard to keep those little tummies filled up! J. H.
Proteins and Carbs
I feed five children after school. Kid favorites are cheese and crackers, veggies with dip, granola type bars, animal crackers (buy giant 3 lb bag at warehouse). Graham crackers with peanut butter, celery with peanut butter and raisins (ants on a log). Apples with cheese or peanut butter. Pretzels (again giant bag from warehouse). Of course, my group does like fruit, bananas are filling, melon etc. I try to avoid concentrated sweets. The theme for us seems to mix some protein and carbs to last. Hense, snacks get washed down with milk if there is not alot of protein in the snack or juice if they are having cheese or peanut butter. Lisa C-B mom of four, babysitter of one.
Start With Tortillas
Great healthy snacks start with inexpensive tortillas. My kids like a little grated cheese melted on a tortilla. I fold it and cut it in wedges. They dip it in salsa. If they don't like salsa, it is good without. We have also used leftovers like tuna or egg salad, sloppy joe filling, peanut butter and jelly, chili or whatever. The tortillas do not fill them up as much as a sandwich with bread and I think the reason they like them so much is the small triangle shapes. It is very easy to heat any of these when they are needed. S.P.
Dried Fruit and Nuts
A very delicious and healthy snack is soy nuts (unsalted) mixed with raisin, chopped dates or any favorite dried fruit and nuts of choice. I usually have raisins, dates, walnuts, almonds and soy nuts. Don't tell people there are soy nuts, (and use lots of them) they will just think they are "regular" nuts.
This is not only a good snack for the entire family, it is wonderful for those of us who have "power surges", it cuts down or eliminates them. Also, you can use these nuts for any other nut mix. I also do hot and spicy and a pumpkin pie spice version. Sandi R. of Keene, NH
We usually don't eat dinner until around 6:30 so a rather hardy snack is nice for my kids when they come home from school hungry. I like to take some spare time on a weekend to make up a big batch of these mini pizzas and freeze them individually. The ingredients are very simple:
a tube of refrigerator biscuits
canned pizza sauce
You can add any other toppings you want. I like to use thin slices of hot dogs or smokey links. Inexpensive thin sliced ham or any lunchmeat also works well. Of course, pepperoni is a favorite. Just smash the biscuits flat, top them however you want, bake them until the cheese melts and they look done. This usually takes about 8 minutes, depending on how much topping you use. The items you buy for toppings really goes a long way because it only takes a little for each biscuit. These mini pizzas can be heated in the microwave for a few seconds for a great after school snack. My husband works second shift so I even make him his own batch with hot peppers and mushrooms for his after work snack!
We take a six-cupcake tin and put a different treat in each cupcake spot. Some choices include: cheese cubes, vegetables, cereal, raisins or fruit, yogurt, pretzels, crackers, nuts, pieces of bagel etc. The kids like the fact that they have a wide array of things and can pick and choose. What isn't used is covered and the following day we add new selections. Sometimes I end up having to eat things that have been passed over for two days, but I find my kids eating more healthy options and being refueled after a long day without spoiling their appetite for dinner. Teresa
One my 3 girls liked was mini fruit and cheese kabobs. Using toothpicks as skewers,thread on fruit and cheese of your choice. Mine liked pinneapple,stawberries and chunks of mozzerella. Or try grapes,cheddar and apples. The choices are endless and you can cater to each childs taste. I made a big batch and stuck them in a tupperware in the fridge. Lowdown where they could reach. Use seasonal or canned fruit and big chunks of cheese you can cube them down to size. They never lasted long. If they're very young watch the toothpicks!
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There you have different healthy testimonials, tips, and recipes from several health conscious parents, you can either try and copy their style or you can create your own, I know you already have some goods ideas now, right? You know your own kids, you know their type and taste, try to do a healthy renovation and create something different!
Healthy Snack Tips: Understanding Food Labels
One thing's sure when you're buying snacks for your children - you can't trust what you read on the label. Manufacturers are well-versed in the art of seducing parents with words, to make us believe that we're buying something that's good for our kids.
- A product claiming to be 'nutritionally equivalent to a portion of fruit' could also contain a huge range of additives, including sugar and fat, and is likely to clock in at 6 or more times the number of calories of a piece of fresh fruit. Labels that trumpet 'Reduced fat/salt/sugar' should also be regarded with suspicion. If levels are mega-high to start with, then they'll still be too high, even when reduced. Look for 'low ' or 'no' salt etc on the label, instead.
- Words like 'pure and natural' are nothing but empty rhetoric. Industry guidelines, that govern wording on packages are consistently abused by manufacturers, who label cheap, low-quality, additive-ridden food with adjectives like 'farm fresh', 'light', 'country goodness' and so on. Ignore.
- 'No added sugars'. Sounds good, eh? But there's more than one way to add sugars - manufacturers simply slosh in fruit juice, which is high in sugar and damaging to teeth. Or else they sweeten the product with artificial sweeteners, which some experts believe should not be given to children.
- Watch out for 'fruit flavoured' - these products don't have to contain any fresh fruit. 'Fruit drink' is another deceptive term, often used on products that masquerade as pure juice - until you inspect the small print. Along with the juice, which may not form a very large proportion of the drink, you'll also find lots of sugar/sweeteners, and possibly other additives as well. Seek out pure juice instead.
Once you are wised up to labels, you'll find they make interesting - if disconcerting - reading. The bottom line - never believe the claims of a label, until you've taken a good, close look for yourself.
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