Think getting your kids to choose healthy snacks over chips and candy is impossible? Think again. A recent study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests that educating kids about good nutrition can help them develop smart eating habits. But it can’t just stop there. Parents also have to be good role models themselves in order to instill healthy eating habits in their children. So, if you’re choosing the healthy snacks listed above, your kids are far more likely to do the same.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a list of irresistible options to offer your kids. I divided the following recipes up into In School and After School based on prep time and whether or not they contain nuts (many schools won’t allow snacks with nuts). You’ll notice that my “no pickables, no poppables” rule doesn’t apply for kids; they love bite size food and snacks they can dip, and they don’t have to worry as much about limiting their calorie intake. Just be sure to watch out for the recipes with small bite sizes when serving children under 4.
By the way, stocking your kitchen with healthy snacks for your kids has an added bonus for you, too. Clear out the junky kids snacks and you won’t be able to nosh on them either. Note that kids can afford higher calorie snacks than adults. So try not to nosh on your kids’ healthy snacks either.
- Trail Mix (combine 1 cup granola, 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries, and 1/4 cup carob chips)
- Frozen Yogurt (freeze Stoneyfield Farms Organic Squeezers low-fat yogurt in a tube the night before; it will remain cool most of day)
- Walnut Acres Fruit Squeezies Organic Applesauce to Go (applesauce in a tube)
- Nutritious Creations wheat-free, dairy-free individually packaged snacks (including cookies and bars in flavors like apple cinnamon, blueberry oat, and apricot)
- Cereal Packets (package up sandwich size Ziploc bags with clustered cereal like Kashi Crunch or Back to Nature High-Protein Crunch)
- Happy Herberts Oat Bran Pretzels (2-ounce bag)
- Laughing Cow or Bonne Bell cheeses (the wax coating protects them from melting)
- Late July Organic Peanut Butter on Classic Rich Crackers (1.5 ounce bag)
- Vitalicious VitaTops (2 ounce)
- Tortilla Rollups (Spread low-fat cream cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla and layer grated carrot, sliced cucumber, or sliced sweet red pepper; roll the tortilla up and slice into bite-size pieces approximately 2 inches each; and refrigerate.)
- Peanut Butter Apples (Slice up an apple and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on each piece. Spread on cream cheese if your child has nut allergies.)
- Mini Fruit and Cheese Kabobs (Cut up fruit and your kids’ favorite cheese and fruit—strawberries, pineapple, and grapes work great—into 1/2-inch cubes; skewer them on toothpicks, alternating between the fruit and cheese.)
- 1 Skippy Stick with an apple or banana
- Healthy Mini Pizzas (Spread tomato sauce, low-fat cheese, and either a vegetable or pepperoni on a whole-wheat English muffin.)
- Amy’s Kitchen Cheese Pizza Snacks
- Egg Salad on Crackers (Hard boil two eggs, chop, and mix with light mayonnaise. Spread on Wasa or Ryvita crackers.)
- Yogurt-Cereal Crunch (mix 1 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal with a Stoneyfield plain yogurt.)
- Apple Melt (Melt cheese on apple slices.)
- Cheese and Jelly Sandwiches (Spread whipped cottage cheese and all-natural jelly on a wheat English muffin.)
- Frozen Yogurt (Freeze a plain yogurt mixed with berries overnight.)
- Mini Chicken Parms (Buy Perdue low-fat breaded chicken cutlets, found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Place one breast on top of a wheat English muffin or Sahara small pita, top with tomato sauce and 2 percent shredded cheese, and bake in your toaster oven for 5 minutes.)