By Katarina Krstic
Nutritious snacks are as important for kids’ growth and development as breakfast, lunch and dinner are. So, when your kids feel their tummies rumble, make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks to offer. We’ve gathered up for you a list of kid-friendly snacks that are both healthy and delicious. We made sure each snack meets our Dietitian's nutrition guidelines. These snacks are packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals and low in added sugars as well as fast and easy to make and inexpensive. Variety is as important as is nutrition. From frozen yogurt and fruit to fun vegetable ideas and wraps, we give you 7 snack options your kids can enjoy at home, in lunches and on the go.
1. Frozen Yogurt and Fruit.
Fro-Yo Bark. Spread a layer of yogurt onto a parchment-lined baked baking tray. Top with sliced strawberries and granola or mini chocolate chips. Freeze until firm, then crack into pieces.
DIY Yogurt Tubes. Fill Popsicle pouches with a mix of half plain/ half flavored yogurt (an easy way to cut sugar) and some mashed fruit. Stash in the fridge
or freeze into pops.
2. Healthier Ice Cream.
Banana ice-cream: Freeze peeled, sliced banana chunks, then whirl in a food processor or blender until it becomes the texture of ice cream. Add in other kinds of frozen fruit (e.g., blueberries, pineapple) for extra flavor and color.
All-Fruit Popsicle. Fill a Popsicle mold with blended/mashed/sliced fruit and berries, fill with coconut water (sweeten it with a bit of honey or maple syrup), insert stick, and freeze until firm.
3. Frozen Fruit.
Watermelon on a Stick. Slice watermelon into wedges and slice a Popsicle stick into the rind.
Frozen Kiwi. Peel a kiwi and slice into rounds. Slide a Popsicle stick into one end and freeze on a parchment-covered plate until frozen. Shape them into stars using a mold or cover them in melted chocolate and then freeze.
Frozen Grapes. Remove grapes from the stem, rinse, and pat dry. Place in a freezer safe zip-top bag and lay flat in your freezer until firm (cut grapes into halves or quarters for children under four years of age).
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites. Slice bananas into thick circles and put a tbsp of peanut butter in between two circles. Freeze until you melt chocolate. Cover peanut butter banana bites in chocolate and freeze until the chocolate settles.
4. Veggies & Dip.
Vegetables and Hummus Tray. Wash and chop your favorite veggies, arrange them on a plate with the dip.
Sweet Potato Fries and Guacamole. Wash sweet potato, cut into stripes, season (e.g., olive oil, rosemary, paprika, salt and pepper) and bake for about 15 min at 375 degrees F. Serve with guacamole.
5. Pesto Pinwheels. Spread pesto on a whole wheat tortilla. Top with a slice of deli turkey and a slice of cheese. Roll-up and cut into slices.
6. Caprese Kebobs. Thread cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and basil leaves onto a skewer and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
7. Apple Nachos. Slice apples and arrange on a plate. Heat a dish of natural peanut butter until melty, then drizzle over apples. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips or shredded coconut.
About the Author: Katarina Krstic is a dietetic student and intern currently earning her BS degree in clinical nutrition at UIC. Katarina believes healthy eating habits develop from a young age. By being exposed to a variety of whole fresh foods, learning about where food comes from and how it’s prepared, children develop healthy relationship with food, to listen to satiety cues and to be culturally aware and competent. This translates into better growth and developmental outcomes as well as lower disease risk later in life.