The first thing to realize about choosing healthy snacks is that you need to choose good whole foods for children, as described by Edward Hallowell. It’s tempting to offer children low-calorie or sugar-free versions of the treats that they love, but according to pediatrician Cara Natterson, these foods are actually unhealthy for your child in the long run. Because we don’t know the long-term effects of the chemically processed ingredients in these foods, we can’t be sure they are ultimately a safe and healthy choice for children. So if you’re going to offer your child a treat, teach them moderation in eating rather than trying to cheat with false versions, which might actually be worse in the long term. But do look for alternatives that fill the same urges as those sweet and salty snacks. Alan Greene discusses the incredible benefits of chia seeds, and below you’ll find a delicious recipe that will fill that sweet craving in your child.
Snacking is about maintaining energy throughout the day, something that’s essential for children who are growing and playing. Here are five healthy snacks that your kids will love.
- Fruit: You can’t beat simplicity and whole foods when it comes to snacking. Fruit fulfills that need for sugar while offering children plentiful amounts of vitamins and nutrients. Keep lots of great, fresh fruit around your house. This can include bananas, apples, clementines, pears, plums, or anything that your child takes a shine to. The key here is to have it independently accessible, even for your youngest.
- Chia Drink: This drink can be made by mixing a half-cup of warm water with four teaspoons of chia seeds. Refrigerate overnight and you’ll wake to find a cup of gelatinous, swollen chia seeds. Mix well with a half-cup of your child’s favorite juice. This method works well when multiplied, so make a large container if you like. Think of it as a “superfood soda.”
- Simple Trail Mix: Mix equal parts of your child’s favorite nuts with their favorite dried fruit. Chopped dates are great with pecans, raisins, and sunflower seeds. Apricots are delicious with almonds. This easy mix is delicious and full of good fats and healthy carbs, not to mention protein.
- Carrots and Hummus: Pick up some baby carrots and make your own hummus or look for preservative free hummus in the produce section of your grocery store. The sweetness of the carrots with the saltiness of the hummus is just perfect and kids love it. Try with other vegetables if your child doesn’t like carrots. Hummus is made with tahini, which is sesame seed butter, lemon juice, garlic and chickpeas. Beans are filled with fiber and protein, while the sesame seeds have more protein and healthy fats.
- Grapesicles: This is a twist on fresh fruit, and absolutely a must try in the summer. Pick grapes off the stem, wash them and dry. Drop them in small snack sized freezer bags and throw them in the freezer for a few hours until frozen. This is a great activity for kids to help with. They taste just like mini popsicles.