In the busy life of a parent, it can be easy to let your child’s nutritional needs slip. After all, when you’re rushing between school functions, soccer games, play dates, and other extracurricular activities, it can be tempting to make a habit of hitting up the fast food places, or loading up on convenience foods that are typically high in refined sugar and preservatives. If you feel like you’ve been in a rut with your snack choices, below are some nutritious snack ideas that will keep your kids healthy, and keep their taste buds happy.
1. Baked sweet potato fries are always a top choice. They’re much healthier than regular French fries, and they go great with ketchup as well! Just cut about 4 small sweet potatoes into thin, fry-like wedges, and place them on a roasting pan. Drizzle some olive oil on top along with a pinch of sea salt and chili powder, and then bake at 425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, turning once. Nothing but yum!
2. Sliced apples are very versatile, as you can add peanut butter, cheese or even honey for a flavor-packed snack that’s sure to please.
3. Try tortilla pizzas for a fun and hearty snack. Just mound a little mild salsa and shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top of a small corn tortilla (as many as you want), and bake on a foil-lined tray in a toaster oven for as long as it takes to melt the cheese. You can also garnish the finished product with a little sour cream or chopped scallions.
4. Veggie straws (or sticks) have become the snack of choice for parents who are looking to eliminate oil-heavy, sodium-laden potato chips from their child’s diet. Pound for pound, veggie straws offer lower sodium and less fat, and they’re great for dipping as well!
5. Baby carrots are loaded with Vitamin A (great for eye health), and they have just enough sweetness and crunch to make for a delicious, fun-to-munch snack for your kids. Choose a low-fat ranch sauce for dipping as well.
6. Berries are always a smash hit, and they’re loaded with important nutrients that can boost your kids’ immune system as well. Try strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries in low-fat Greek yogurt for a delicious snack that can cool them off on a warm day.
7. Nut trail mix is jam-packed with nutrients including B-complex vitamins and protein, which is important for those growing bodies. Try to steer clear of any concoctions that include too many candy items (e.g., M&M’s, white chocolate chips, etc.), and instead stick with natural sweet treats such as raisins or dried cranberries.
8. A hard-boiled egg with seasoned salt and pepper can provide your child with a delicious and nutritious snack that will leave them feeling full.
9. Applesauce is quick and convenient, but try to pick one that has no added sugar, or is made from organic-only ingredients.
10. Ants on a Log is a classic snack: Just spread some peanut butter on a celery stalk, and then dot it with raisins for a fun and exceptionally yummy treat.