Studies show that healthy foods help kids do better in school. In one study, children who ate more vegetables, fruit, protein and fiber did better on literacy tests than kids who ate foods high in salt and saturated fat.
While you know healthy foods are the right choice for your children, it can be difficult to get them to eat healthy snacks. Why would your kids want to eat apples and carrots when they can choose potato chips and candy bars?
Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy snack options that are still yummy for kids. Here are a few treats that will make kids’ bodies healthy and tummies happy.
1. Fruit Smoothie
Kids love the sweet, creamy taste of smoothies. There’s no need to make smoothies packed with sugar-instead, try healthy ingredients like fruits and vegetables.
To start, try this recipe for a high-fiber broccoli smoothie. All you need to do is blend the following ingredients:
- 1 avocado
- 1 banana
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 1 cup cherries
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
2. Yogurt Parfait
This is a healthy alternative to ice cream-and a very tasty dessert. In a cup, layer the following:
Instead of regular yogurt, try Greek yogurt, which is packed with protein to help your growing kids build muscle. It also contains probiotics, which aid digestion. And don’t forget about brain-boosting blueberries, which reduce short-term memory loss.
3. Ants on a Log
Kids love making this recipe themselves. It resembles ants climbing across a log, but it’s really a great source of vitamins, minerals, and protein.
- Cut celery sticks into small pieces. These are the “logs.”
- Spread natural peanut butter into the crevice of each celery stick. Peanut butter is a great source of fiber, potassium, andantioxidants.
- Stick raisins (“ants”) in the peanut butter.
4. Fruit and Cheese Kebabs
Small pieces of cheese give your kids calcium, zinc, and other vitamins and minerals, and fruits like apples, bananas, strawberries, pineapple, and mango give your kids many vitamins and minerals. Arranging fruit and cheese into a delicious kebab can make these foods even more fun for your kids to eat.
Cut pieces of cheese and fruit, and layer them on a kebab skewer. Then eat and enjoy!
5. Yogurt Pops
What kid doesn’t love popsicles? With a yogurt pop, your kids get a healthy treat. Here’s what you do:
- Blend 2 containers yogurt, 2 cups cut-up fruit, and 1 tablespoon honey.
- Put the mixture in paper cups.
- Cover the cups with foil.
- Put a craft stick into the center of each cup. Freeze for 6 hours.
6. Whole Wheat Crackers and Hummus
Whole wheat reduces the risk of heart disease, obesity, and many other diseases. Choose whole wheat crackers for your kids, and have them dip the crackers in hummus, a dip high in vitamins, protein, and heart-healthy fats. Kids also love to dip carrots, cucumbers, and other vegetables.
Store-bought microwave popcorn contains many artificial flavors. However, air-popped popcorn is high in protein and dietary fiber. Popcorn will fill your kids up and provide great nutritional value-just hold back on the butter and salt.
Kids will love getting a paper bag filled with popcorn that they can take to school or activities.
8. Homemade Trail Mix
Let your kids make their own trail mix by choosing their favorite mix of various foods. Include the following nutritious foods:
- Peanuts, which add protein to the mix
- Almonds, which lower cholesterol and help build strong bones
- Cranberries, which fight diseases thanks to their antioxidants
- Dark chocolate chips, which provide nutrients like iron and magnesium and could even lower blood pressure when eaten in small amounts
- Cheerios, which contain soluble fiber that lowers cholesterol
9. Banana-Oat Snack Cakes
Instead of grabbing a sugary granola bar, kids can enjoy these homemade snack cakes. They contain heart-healthy oats and potassium-rich bananas.
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and melted
- 3 bananas (chopped)
- Set oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Coat a baking dish with butter, and then cover with parchment paper.
- Whisk oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
- Slowly add butter to brown sugar mixture and whisk.
- Add bananas to dry ingredients and toss.
- Stir dry mixture into brown sugar mixture.
- Spread batter in the dish.
- Bake about 35 to 40 minutes.
- Let cool and cut.
Remember, kids need frequent snacks to keep up their energy and brain power. Your kids can eat these snacks at home or bring them to school or activities. Pack your kids some of these delicious, nutritious snacks, and help them start a healthy lifestyle early on.