It's no secret that kids love to eat but sometimes preparing healthy kids snacks can be overwhelming. It can be particularly difficult if you find yourself trying to please a picky eater. We've compiled 4 healthy kids snacks that will help develop good eating habits, and perhaps you can expose that choosy child to something that they wouldn't typically choose to eat on their own. If not from this list, then perhaps from the next edition in a few weeks.
Before we hop into the list, let us consider some bad habits that parents sometimes need to break themselves of. Pacifying kids with a snack before a meal is a folly that I've been guilty of. This is guaranteed to keep a kiddo from trying new foods when it comes to mealtime.
Additionally, rewarding children with sweets for good behavior designates those sugary snacks as more high-value. This can start a pattern of unhealthy eating. With this in mind, we have not shied away from sweet healthy kids snacks. It's a good idea to develop the idea that all flavors have equal value.
1. Healthy Kids Snack: Pizza Toast
We are starting with a personal favorite of mine. Cheesy pepperoni is like catnip for the majority of children I've met. Preheat the over to 350°F. Pull out 4-6 slices of bread, slap them with some tomato sauce, top with mozzarella to fit your personal tastes (I generally go a little crazy here.), and throw some pepperoni on top.
The beautiful part about a pizza is that you can put almost anything on top and have it taste great. Except for pineapple. Eww. That was a joke. You can put pineapple on your pizza. I won't be there to judge. Kids might have aversions to things like mushrooms or tomatoes, and this can be a great opportunity to show them that even anchovies can be a delicious treat.
Once your toppings are together line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and put your tasty soon-to-be toast into the oven. Cooking will generally take around 10-20 minutes depending on if you want a crispy crust or just some melted cheese. Pizza is a magical treat, so enjoy this one thoroughly.
2. Healthy Kids Snack: Magic Mix Bites
What is magic mix? It's like trail mix with edge! We've got the usual raisins, nuts, and chocolate but we've turned them into bites so the raisins won't get picked out. I remember being a kid and coming home with a bag of raisins every day after picking through my trail mix. Well, that's no longer an issue. The best part of this recipe? It doesn't require any cooking or baking, the definition of simple snacking.
Grab a giant bowl, add one cup of old-fashioned rolled oats as a base. Add 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips. Round out the mix with 1/4th cup each of chopped peanuts, raisins, and Mini M&M's. To hold our trail mix together we're going to use delicious creamy peanut butter. A 3/4th cup will do, but if you like peanut butter like I do just round it out to an entire cup.
1 tablespoon of honey and a dash of kosher salt and you're ready to mix it all together! Once your ingredients are completely combined scoop out tablespoon-sized balls and refrigerate for 1-2 hours until they're firm. Eat them soon, as time out of the fridge will lead to a peanut-buttery meltdown. I wouldn't worry too much about that though. These sweet treats are so delicious that they'll disappear in no time at all. Almost like magic.
3. Healthy Kids Snack: Banana Sushi Slices
Let me preface this snack by stating that our sushi slices don't have any raw fish in them. Banana and raw fish sounds like one of the worst creations I've ever heard. Kids don't have the same interpretation of the name, and it can get them used to the idea of real sushi a bit later in life. We all want our children to feel continental. Their worldly sensibility can be improved with just a simple banana! Mark my words.
Peel your banana and slice it into 'sushi' pieces. Melt a couple tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle it onto your sushi. Peanut butter and banana is already amazing, but you can really take it over the top by adding chocolate chips, chopped strawberries, and/or crushed graham crackers. Complete the sushi illusion with some chopsticks! You can feel fancy and help your kiddos work on their hand eye coordination.
This is one of the quickest snacks to prepare and can be adjusted to suit your own tastes. If there is a fruit your kids refuse to eat, incorporating them into this dish can assist in breaking picky habits. When it comes to healthy kids snacks it's pretty shocking how far you can go with one of nature's own wonderfoods!
4. Healthy Kids Snack: Spiderman Strawberries
Speaking of healthy kids snack wonderfoods... Strawberries are right at the top of the list. Some kids don't like the taste of strawberry, but I'd say that number is minimal. The real draw when it comes to this treat is the fun you'll have making them with your little ones. A bit of vanilla frosting and a touch of black food coloring is all it takes to assist a strawberry in violating one of Marvel's most valued copyrights.
Simply cut the top off of the fruits, in a separate bowl mix together the food coloring and a small amount of frosting. Apply the uncolored frosting to the strawberry in a teardrop shape and outline it with the black frosting. You can let the strawberries sit for a couple of hours and let the frosting dry, or you can just pop them in your mouth as soon as possible.
I've found that its almost impossible to stop children from eating these treats whether they are finished or not, and that's absolutely fine with me. The real priority isn't creating the perfect strawberry Spiderman head replica, it's keeping your kids happy, healthy, and well-fed!