Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Healthy Snacks for Kids

Preparing healthy treats for kids can be a challenge. Picky palates seem to prefer junk over wholesome, natural and healthy treats, but even the pickiest kids may find a treat among this list that suits their liking. Many of these are stand-by healthy treats for my family: figs stuffed with almonds, raw cheese and apples while others like strawberry milkshakes (they’re good for you, promise!) and frozen bananas we eat occasionally. So give up the gogurts, bear paws, granola bars, fruit roll ups and wagon wheels for these tasty and healthy treats for kids.
Health Treat #1:
Fruit kabobs

Buy some shish kabob skewers and create colorful strawberry, pineapple, grape, kiwi, and apple kabobs which kids can grab and go.
Healthy Treat #2:
Raw milk cheese with apple and pear slices

A classic kid snack is cheese and crackers. Let's make that more nutrient-dense using raw milk cheeses with ripe apples and pears.  The fruit provides carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals while the cheese provides protein, fat, vitamins and food enzymes for good digestion.
Healthy Treat #3:
Ants on a log.

Take celery sticks and spread with nut butter (no sugar added varieties) and sprinkle with a line of raisins.  For a fruit version, dip apple slices in nut butter.
Healthy Treat #4:
Strawberry milkshakes/smoothies
Is there anything better than a strawberry milkshake? Combine 1 ½ cups whole, raw milk with 1 cup frozen, hulled strawberries and a tablespoon of raw honey in a blender and blend until smooth and well-combined. The milkshake is rich in nutrients and wholesome fats, which kids need, as well as the vitamin C and antioxidants that strawberries are known for.
Substitute 1 cup of plain yogurt or kefir for the milk
Healthy Treat #5:
Seasoned nuts

Nuts, especially walnuts, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  Mix with a bit of honey & cinnamon and bake at medium-low setting for 10 to 15 minutes.
Healthy Treat #6:
Figs stuffed with almonds
Dried fruit and nuts always make for a good treat.  Combine dried figs with raw almonds for a sweet treat with a nice, satisfying crunch. Figs are rich in soluble fiber, vitamin K, manganese and potassium while almonds represent a good source of vitamin E and riboflavin. All you have to do is slightly pierce the skin of dried fig and insert a raw almond into its centre. A bag full of these is a great snack to bring to the park or on long road trips.
Healthy Treat #7:
Veggies and dip

There is no excuse for not having fresh vegetables on hand! Buy prechopped, prewashed bagged veggies if necessary. Try hummus, bean or vegetable dips. Carrots and hummus are a delicious combination. Surprisingly, carrots are tasty dipped in nut butter as well.
Healthy Treat #8:
Strained yogurt with dried fruit and nuts 
Consider this healthy treat before feeding your kids sugar- or high fructose corn syrup-sweetened yogurts and puddings. Rich in probiotics, protein and wholesome fats, strained yogurt or greek-style yogurt is a fantastic treat for kids. We like it with raisins or currants and pecans, walnuts or even crushed almonds. Some kids may find that real yogurt – plain yogurt – is too sour for their liking so consider mixing a few teaspoons of maple syrup or raw honey into the mix – decreasing it ever so slightly until they’re taste preferences become accustomed to yogurts natural sour flavor.
Healthy Treat #9:
Root fries

Slice yams, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, beets, parsnips into “fry” shape or dice them, place them in a glass baking dish, mix with extra virgin olive or a few dollops of coconut oil, spice with salt, pepper, rosemary, dill, etc. and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, until soft.  If you have a dehydrator you can thinly slice these vegetables and dehydrate them until crispy.  Most children love yams!
Healthy Treat #10:
Frozen bananas rolled in walnuts and coconut

We love frozen bananas rolled in walnuts and coconut as a delicious and healthy treat.
It’s simple, grab a few chopsticks, skewers or popsicle sticks and thread a banana on to it. Next, melt a bit of coconut oil and prepare bowls of crushed walnuts and unsweetened shredded coconut. Slightly coat the banana in coconut oil and sprinkle it with walnuts and shredded coconut, then set it on a baking sheet greased with coconut and allow it to freeze overnight.
Another yummy treat is banana ice cream. Peel a number of very ripe bananas. Break into one-inch pieces and freeze in a container until very hard. Just before serving, blend in a food processor or blender (you may need to add a little water). Serve immediately. Add carob powder or berries to blender for different flavors or top with fruit and nuts.

So, there you have some new ideas for snacks and treats for your kiddos. What are your household standbys?


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