As you may have read in one of my past entries for Wellness Wednesdays, I have a huge concern about childhood obesity. Perhaps you can call it an obsession of mine. Fortunately, I think I hide this from my 4-year-old fairly well, being very careful not to raise her to have unnecessary concerns about her weight/body, but with an understanding of the need to make healthy choices when eating. Don’t get me wrong… She enjoy her fair share of “fun foods”, as we call them, but we try not to go overboard. After all, she is a kid!
Given that introduction, I wanted to give you some ideas about healthy snacking options for your children. I’m sure most, if not all, of you have heard of most of these snacking options, but little reminders here and there about things like this can be helpful. Trust me, I find it super easy to fall into a pattern of buying the easy snacks that my daughter can just grab ‘n go with, but have to remind myself that some of these are just packed with sugar, salt and unneeded fat.
Here are some things I like to offer my daughter, who seems to be harboring a tape worm in that always hungry belly of hers:
- Healthy baked goods – We make things like carrot bars, zucchini muffins and banana bread together. It’s fun to bake with her and she sees that fruits and veggies can be used to cook.
- Yogurt treats – Instead of just giving her a boring old low-fat or greek yogurt, we make things like smoothies, frozen yogurt pops (mix in some fruit, use a multigrain pretzel as the popsicle stick) or a whole grain cereal/fruit/yogurt mixture. It makes the yogurt a little more fun and filling than it is just right out of the container.
- Hard boiled eggs – I have learned to ALWAYS have hard-boiled eggs in the fridge. My daughter asks for them quite frequently and when I learned that, for a four-year old, one of these provides her with almost 1/3 of her protein need in one day, I stopped questioning (to myself) why she like them so much!
- Whole grain waffles w/ toppings – This is a fun snack to coat with a bit of reduced fat cream cheese top with fruit or I’ve also done whole peanut butter (natural) and raisins. It’s a different way to eat a waffle and my daughter likes to cut them in half and make a waffle sandwich.
- Cottage cheese – Another thing my daughter asks for frequently that did surprise me at first. Adding some fruit to a bowl of cottage cheese, her favorite being peaches, can make it a little more fun.
- Hummus on a pita – It’s as simple as that. Nutritious chick peas covering a whole wheat pita can be a quick and yummy option.
- Sweet potato chips – YES, I said chips! And boy, does she love that word! Any time my daughter hears she’s getting a chip, it’s almost like Christmas (on a smaller scale, of course). I’m not sure where my recipe is from, but if you search for one, make sure you find a recipe that’s baked. I think I Googled “healthy baked sweet potato chips”, but I can’t recall. (P.S. Baked sweet potato fries can be a fun addition to a dinner, too!)
Happy snacking, folks! If you need any specifics (recipes), don’t hesitate to put a request in where you leave comments.