Healthy snacks for kids
Is this an impossible quest?
I have an 8yo and a 10yo (step-children) both of whom are pretty healthy. However, they are displaying the usual trends for American kids of wanting to eat snacks full of sugar, sucrose, fructose, maltodextrone, high fructose corn syrup, and all the other euphemisms that the food industry uses to disguise the fact that these snacks are WAY less healthy than the things we ate as kids thirty years ago.
And along with this trend are lbs of fat beginning to accumulate around their tums.
Any suggestions, either for home-made (I allow them the occasional blast of choc-chip cookies - I know, I know) snacks that won't kill them, or for store bought snacks that aren't ill disguised attempts to raise their sugar consumption exponentially.
I struggle with this constantly as I refuse to buy junk food, but my incredibly picky daughter craves starches, sugar and chocolate of all kinds. I let her have pretty much unlimited mozzarella cheese sticks, raw carrots, apples, grapes and strawberries. She likes to snack on sliced salami and bagels and cream cheese, but I have to keep an eye on these. I sometimes buy pretzels but usually refuse because she eats them too fast. She likes the bran muffins we make together, sometimes with mashed banana added.
My less-picky son likes microwaving his own quesadillas and nachos with preshredded cheese and Trader Joe's tortilla chips. He will eat any kind of fruit, but especially likes it if it's cut up in the fridge. I also buy Trader Joe's fruit popsicles.
They like my "real" popcorn so much that they've lost the taste for microwave popcorn (although Newman's and Whole Foods make healthier versions of microwave popcorn), so I'm teaching them to make it themselves in a pan with oil and then melted butter.
Other than occasional muffins and cookies, I don't have time to make "special" snacks -- they're pretty much on their own, it's all I can do to make dinner a few nights a week. Don't know if this helps, but that's what they eat at my house.
Fruit of any kind is always an option for my kids. they love bananas and apples with natural peanut butter. Yogurt is a big one for us too along with grahm crackers and applesauce, cheese and crackers (I try to buy whole wheat), homemade fruit juice pops, smoothies made with frozen strawberry, milk, and a squirt of honey. There are so many healtier choices that kids can and will make if the junk isn't available for them. If my kids don't want what I have in the fridge or pantry then they aren't hungry and can wait til dinner!
Have you tried any of the Kashi cereals? The Kashi Go Lean "Crunch" is really nice AND it's good for a snack, slightly sweet and loaded with fiber. Also have recently been introduced to Tropicana Fruit Smoothies, which contain no dairy and only fruit concentrates...no HFCS or added sugar, at least not on the ingredient label...drawback: 11 ounce bottle costs .99 on SALE, usual price is $1.49 or something, though they may be available at Costco or Sam's for less. But, they might be nice for lunchbox or afternoon snack. Will they eat yogurt? I remember I was in 4th grade in 1967 over at a friend's house when I first tasted Dannon Strawberry yogurt and I just could not get over the tangy deliciousness of that, I still remember it to this day. Also finding an activity or sport they like is good...it's a shame how schoolkids hardly have phys. ed. anymore. Now I sound REALLY old...heh!
Envirokidz is an organic line of cereals and snacks that are low in sugar, have some fiber and taste terrific. They have a rice crispie bar that comes in 3 or 4 flavors without the added junk.
We also keep Veggie Bootie (Robert American Gourmet Co.)in the house for the kids to munch on. It is a low fat corn/rice/soy snack that is a better alternative to chips.
We also make fresh fruit smoothies and banana bread.
My son really likes nugos (nutrition to go) and he's a picky eater. They're pretty good for him, with vitamins, fiber and no transfats. If you get them at Costco they're not horribly expensive.
Sometimes I give him a small handful of chocolate-covered almonds from Trader Joe's as a treat.
If you have a melon baller, a bowl of mixed melon balls is fun and healthy.
Also, kids are more likely to eat produce they've helped to grow. Try carrots, radishes and snow peas.
Good luck. I know it's tough.