Fast-food chains and unhealthy processed foods are tempting our kids every day. It’s important that children learn to eat healthy, organic and nutritious food from a young age. It all boils down to choices and discipline.
Importance of Snacks
Childhood is the time when rapid growing occurs. During this time, kids need the best nutrition they can get from food. Snacking is often perceived to be a bad habit, but that is only the case if you are serving cookies, chocolates, cakes and chips.
Snacking is more important than you’d think! Kids are growing at this stage and need more food, more often. A lot of kids aren’t getting enough calories during the day due to their activities and fast metabolism. And often, their stomach can’t handle big meals. Snacks act as a filler in between main meals to help kids function throughout the day. Two or three healthy snacks a day will suffice and may help to provide much needed energy. According to nutrition experts, snacks may satisfy hunger in between meals and may provide up to one quarter of child’s daily energy.
Healthy and Creative Snacks
Healthy snacks are recommended for kids, but how do you get them to develop a deeper interest in the food they are eating? The first trick is to involve them in the preparation. Aside from the fact that it’s a good bonding activity, kids develop a connection with and appreciation for the foods they are preparing.
Here are 7 healthy and creative snacks you can do with your kids:
#1 String cheese snowmen
These string cheese snowmen are easy to do and look fun! It’s a perfect addition for a lunchbox and it’s easy for kids to pick up and eat while on the playground. All you need is a pack of string cheese, a sharpie pen, ribbons and paper.
String cheese is already packaged with plastic covering. All you have to do is decorate them to make them extra interesting. Use the sharpie to draw on the eyes and the mouth. Cut the ribbon and tie them around the cheese so they look like scarves. Cut little hats from the paper and simply stick them to your creation with a piece of tape. Here’s the final look from No Biggie.
#2 Apple owls
Apples contain vitamins and they taste great, making them an immediate favourite. Fashion apple slices into creative owls instead of just serving them in the usual sliced manner. All you need is one apple, a marshmallow, two small chocolate chips, a piece of orange and a pretzel rod.
Cut the apple in half. One half of the apple will be used for the body of the owl while the other half will be sliced up to form the wings. From the scraps, make the circle head and the ears. For the eyes, cut a marshmallow in half and top it with small chocolate chips. Use a small piece of orange for the beak and feet. Place the pretzel rod under the feet and you’ve got yourself an apple owl!
This masterpiece is no doubt a healthy one. The inclusion of the chocolate chips and the pretzel rod will make your kids feel that although they are eating a healthy snack, they still get to enjoy some of their favourite junk food.
#3 Cauliflower sheep
Although cauliflower isn’t a favourite among kids, you can give it a try. Cauliflower is a superfood that provides various nutrients to those who eat it regularly. Start a farm themed snack plate and your kids will love it.
All you need is cauliflower, toothpicks and grapes. Skewer grapes and use them as the head (you could also use olives) and use black eyed peas for the eyes. For the feet, use raisins skewered on toothpicks and you’re done. Add in other farm elements and green vegetables for the whole effect. Remind your kids to be careful of the toothpicks!
#4 Angry bird blueberry bowl
Another way to keep children’s attention is to use their favourite characters when preparing their snacks. So instead of chip and ice cream snacks, serve a bowl of fruits to start their day. This blueberry bowl fashioned to look like an angry bird is perfection. Blueberries have potent antioxidant components and are one of the most popular superfoods.
Simply fill a small bowl with blueberries (you can use other fruits of course). For the eyes and the beak, you may fashion them from any other fruits you have. Check out the example below and visit Creative Food to see their other creative snacks.
#5 Frozen banana penguin
Bananas are a great source of potassium, low in fat and sodium and manganese free. Banana snacks aren’t just for kids; it can be good for adults too since it helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
This frozen banana penguin is so easy to do. All you need is a couple of banana, chocolate chips, and few M&Ms and sugar eyes. If you want it to be all healthy, you may eliminate the sugar eyes and the M& Ms and replace them with fruits and dark chocolate.
Microwave the bowl of chip for 30 seconds, and then take them out to stir and place them back in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Cut your bananas in half. Dip the uncut part into the chocolate. Add M&Ms to form the eyes, the beak and the feet. Place in tin foil and freeze them. Make sure you’re not ruining the chocolate when you wrap in foil. A few minutes later you can take them out and treat your kids to one chocolatey health snack.
#6 Raspberry lemonade
Why not include a refreshing drink to accompany these snacks? The colour of this raspberry lemonade sure looks enticing! The fruit in this drink will ensure your kids get some vitamin C. Raspberries, like all other berries are considered a superfood due to their capacity to aid in healing or preventing certain diseases. It’s a good detox food that can cleanse your system.
For this, you may need fresh raspberries depending on how much you want to make, lemon juice (freshly squeezed), honey for sweetening, water and ice.
You need to place the raspberries, lemon juice, honey and a cup of water in a saucepan and set the stove to medium heat. Wait until it boils, stirring regularly. Do so until the honey has dissolved. When done, pour it through a strainer into your glass pitcher. Add more water and ice. Stir and taste it to make sure it’s ready to be served. You can throw in fresh raspberries and lemon slices too.
#7 Strawberry gummy bears
You can train your kids to love everything natural and healthy but at some point they will definitely crave some candy. If your kids like gummy bears but you think they contain too much sugar, why not make your own healthy gummy bears? Here’s how it’s made.
Boil strawberries and citrus juice in a boiling pot until the fruit is extra soft. Remove the mixture and put it in the blender. Add brown sugar as a sweetener and blend. Let it cool. After it has cooled, pour in a gelatine mix and blend until the mixture is completely smooth. Pour it into a baking tin and place in the refrigerator to cool.
When you think the mixture is firm enough, use a gummy bear cutter or any shape you like. Try different flavours too! You can pack these up in small ziplock bags for your kids to bring to school and enjoy on the playground.
It’s always best to include the whole family in the preparation process. It’s a good way to bond plus it may teach your kids the value of good nutrition. Along the way, you can include tips as to how to keep everything organised and clean.
Other snacking tips that may help include:
- Mix and match your snack menus to avoid kids getting tired of the usual stuff.
- Never deprive kids of their sweets, instead use alternative and natural sweeteners like honey.
- Make snack prep fun! This will help your kids stick to it in the future.
- Include these healthy snacks in their school packs so they are not tempted to buy unhealthy snacks.
Healthy snacking can help kids achieve their maximum growth potential. Coupled with healthy meals, your child can grow up loving the idea of using their own creativity to produce nutritious snacks. It may be tiresome to search for innovative ideas all the time, but it’s certainly worth it when you see just how much they appreciate and enjoy their healthy snacks.
Which snack was your favourite? Let us know about other healthy snacks for kids in the comments.