In Search of the Perfect Snacks: Kid Style!
Snacks can often be a big part of your grandchild’s diet, so it’s important that most of the snacks you give him or her are ones you feel good about. These snack ideas offer the perfect combination: some fiber (from whole grains, fruit or vegetables), some protein, and some fat. It’s a combo that’s sure to satisfy and fuel busy children!
Popcorn is a sure-fire hit with kids, and … it’s a whole grain! Popcorn actually has 4 grams of fiber per 3-cup serving, which makes it a filling snack. Plus, it’s endlessly versatile. You can transform air-popped popcorn with all sorts of toppings, including grated cheese, nutritional yeast, ghee, or cinnamon and sugar.
Ice pops couldn’t be easier or more versatile to whip up. And when you make them yourself, you control exactly what goes in them. Try out frozen orange pops that deliver a helping of vitamin C and calcium to your grandchild, courtesy of the main ingredients: orange juice and nonfat Greek yogurt. As simple as that! Get out your popsicle molds or even ice cube molds and pour together the mixture of orange juice and Greek yogurt! Depending on how many you are making, try and make equal parts OJ to yogurt for the best consistency! Add blueberries or strawberry chunks to make them extra sweet. Freeze for at least 4 hours and enjoy!
Here’s the thing about cookies and cakes: you can make them healthy when you use the right ingredients. Whole-wheat pastry flour or gluten-free four can be subbed for white flour in most cookies. Rolled oats add even more fiber. And in some recipes, like these Oatmeal-Chocolate Snack Cakes, and replace some of the butter with applesauce to lighten up the saturated fat. Serve the cookies with your favorite milk, and you have a nutritious, balanced snack for the kids. Here is the recipe, so give it a try – a sure win-win!
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (or gluten-free flour)
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with a foil strip long enough to overhang on 2 opposite sides. Spray the foil lightly with cooking spray; set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the butter, egg, brown sugar and applesauce in a large bowl until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until barely mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake until the cake is light brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Use the foil overhang to lift the cake out of the pan and let cool completely on the rack. Invert onto a plate and peel the foil off. Re-invert the cake onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 pieces and serve.
Natural or organic peanut butter, almond butter, or any favorite nut butter (the kind without added sugars and other kinds of fats) is a great snack option. It gives your grandkids protein and healthy fats, and pairs perfectly with apples, bananas, celery and whole-grain crackers, gluten-free crackers, or toast.
Cheese is super-flavorful and satisfying, and gives the kids protein and calcium. The key is making sure it’s not in every meal and snack, and not every day. A cheese stick paired with apple slices or carrot sticks (or whatever fruits and vegetables your kids like) is the ideal power snack.
Pizza is really just another take on a sandwich, and it can be a vehicle for healthy toppings like olives, sliced peppers (or other favorite veggies), or pineapple. Use whole-wheat English muffins, or buy premade whole-wheat pizza dough, or cauliflower pizza crust. Have your grandchildren join you in making the pizzas, and adding their favorite toppings.
*Portions of article reprinted from www.foodnetwork.com