My kids want to eat all day long, and if I’d let them, they would graze continuously throughout their waking hours. I do my best to limit them to three meals and two snacks daily, so I want those meals and snacks to be nutritionally packed and beneficial to their growing bodies and minds. But I find myself getting into slumps and feel like we have the same snacks, day in, day out. Boring!
If you’re in the same rut as me, what are some ways to liven up those snacks? Mix it up and think outside of your usual choices.
- Think Cool: If you have some extra time, there are a plethora of fun ideas for healthy snacks. One idea is to make fruit more interesting by assembling fruit kabobs. Skewer fruit chunks (apples, grapes, pineapples, pears, bananas, etc.) onto wooden skewers. You can roll them in yogurt and then into coconut shavings to add more pizazz. You can further the “fun” factor by freezing certain fruits, like grapes, for a fun and healthy frozen snack. Bananas rolled in chocolate syrup and chopped nuts or crushed cereal and frozen are also a delicious chilled option. If you have a lot of fruit on hand make fruit smoothies.
- Spice Things Up: To transform oatmeal from “boring” to “brilliant,” stir in applesauce and cinnamon while it cooks, and then sprinkle it with brown sugar.
- Try Interesting Combinations: You can stuff a whole-grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese, apple slices, and a dash of cinnamon. Fill a waffle cone with fruit chunks and top it with low-fat vanilla yogurt. To make a mini pizza, toast an English muffin, add a little pizza sauce, and sprinkle it with low-fat mozzarella cheese.
- Dip it, Dunk it: Try to give your kids a variety of healthy snack choices. Kids love to dip their food, so if you’re struggling to get them to eat more fruits or veggies, buy or make some dips to accompany them. Slice sandwiches into fun shapes (cookie cutters work wonders) or add veggies to open-face sandwiches in a smiley face or other cute pattern to tempt younger kids.
- Simple is Good: Simple snacks that are good choices include yogurt, raisins, nut mixes, string cheese, veggie sticks with dip, avocado chunks, edamame, real fruit popsicles, whole grain crackers with hummus and apple wedges with yogurt, fruit dip, or peanut butter.
Some parents keep a designated space in the refrigerator for kids’ snacks. If you keep it stocked exclusively with nutritious options, there’s no concern about whether or not you’ll approve of your kids’ choices. Keep an adequate supply ready to go for when the munchies hit.
Next time you’re creating your grocery list, keep these fun options in mind. Before you know it, you and your kids, like mine, will be out of a snack slump and enjoying a greater variety of fun, healthy, appealing snacks.