The other night, after a very long, active day with my children, my son asked me for strawberries. Most moms would have jumped for joy at a child asking for fruit, not me. I was tired, had laundry to fold, dishes to put away and did not feel like taking a few extra moments to wash and cut up strawberries. I want my children to eat healthy but healthy is not always easy. In order to avoid handing over a cookie instead of slicing up an apple I realized a little pre-planning could make healthy eating as easy as tearing open a bag of chips!
Healthy Snacks: Tips & Ideas
- Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables so they are readily available at home. There is no shame in buying foods that are all ready sliced and diced. If that is what is needed to get you and your family to eat healthy then go for it! (Just make sure to rinse all fruits and vegetables, even the pre-washed ones).
- If you buy fresh fruits and vegetables whole, when you get them home wash and cut up some of the fruit and put it in a bowl so it is ready to eat, cut up an assortment of fresh vegetables and put it by some dip so it is easy for little ones to grab.
- Make fruit or pasta salads ahead of time so all you have to do is serve it when hunger strikes.
- Make fruit skewers; slice fruit and place it on skewers, you can even throw these on the grill and serve them with lunch or dinner.
- Slice apples thin like french fries and call them Apple Fries; serve them with a fruit dip or yogurt.
- Yogurt can be a great snack but look out for high amounts of sugar. Certain brands have over 15 grams of sugar and contain little more than sugar and milk. Look for the brands that have live, active cultures and real fruit, otherwise you might as well have a milkshake.
- Sometimes you just want some chips! Try sweet potato chips instead, they are delicious and contain a good amount of vitamin A (something not found in regular chips). Or serve chips with salsa, most salsa is loaded with veggies.
- Try not to label foods as good or bad. Identify different foods as healthy, meal foods (breakfast, lunch, dinner), desserts, and sweets.
- Most children that are denied certain foods will eventually get their hands on them and may go overboard. Unless your child has an allergy to something it might be a good idea to teach moderation instead of denial.
Children learn by example; if you enjoy healthy snacks then your children will too!