For modern-day parents, the task of ensuring a healthy diet for your children can be a difficult and, seemingly, daunting task BUT it doesn’t have to be! These days, parents might feel like a Swiss Army knife, required to juggle work, caring for the many needs of children and of course themselves, often last!
Getting involved in preparing a few healthy snacks could be an essential asset in avoiding a bag of chips or a can of ravioli after school. Some simple changes and a good list of inspirational recipes could, not only be life-changing for your children’s health and well-being, but also yours!
There are ways to banish the overly salted, oiled, and sugared junk foods that threaten to remain an unhealthy quick fix for your family. Keep your kids active and hungry for GREAT snack options. Be inspired and involve your kids in the creative joy that healthy food can be.
Getting started might be as easy as throwing out your old shopping list and giving some new, health-conscious ingredients a try! Here is a list of some delicious and beneficial finger food ideas.
1. Multicolored Carrots and Dip
Did you know carrots come in more colors than just orange? Add some flair to the classic baby carrot go-to by making a rainbow of multicolored carrots. I have found them at Trader Joes. Using them as dippers for some peanut butter or hummus may help grab their interest as well as add some much-needed protein.
Talk to your kids about how the different colors taste individually unique and which they like the most. Maybe they’ll find a new favorite color and gain some interest in fresh veggie options.
2) New Cheeses and Crackers
Goat cheese may or may not be a foreign commodity for your household. While it’s an easily accessible and tasty addition to your kitchen, it’s also a great source of calcium, protein, and vitamins.
Introduce your children’s taste buds to some new accents by squeezing a bit of fresh lemon and spread over multi-seed crackers. Goat cheese is available in pre-garnished varieties. It may be a fun way to discover which kind is a household favorite.
3) Hummus with Dippers
Homemade hummus is as simple as canned chickpeas, water, a few garnishes (which may already be in your cupboard) and a blender! Throw in some olive oil, cumin, minced garlic and fresh lemon for this tasty and nutritionally packed snack.
It might just become a new after school request. Though hummus alone contains many nutrients including protein and fiber, it works as a dip for broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and more. Throw out that bottle of ranch dressing with all of its empty calories!
4) Ants on a Log
Some snack classics are still golden, especially if you use your imagination. “Ants on a log” is a speedy way to fill an empty belly and offer some healthy protein and energy. You might switch out the regular peanut butter for some natural almond butter, sunflower butter or avocado.
These trending alternatives are a great source of protein and fiber. As for the ants, try getting creative and use your imagination. Any dried fruit makes a tasty topping. Fresh blueberries or raspberries could be a colorful addition.
5) No-bake Cookies
No-bake cookies are a delicious and easy to prepare treat. We all know oatmeal is an inexpensive yet healthy whole grain, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s the main ingredient. Though this is already a relatively nutritious finger food, adding a few changes to the mix provides an extra boost.
Of course, peanut butter, coconut sugar, and coconut oil are always good ingredients to have on hand. There are so many different variations out there that include mini chocolate chips, walnuts, coconut flakes, cocoa powder or dried cranberries.
Find a version that has ingredients your little one will enjoy for a healthy little treat!
6) Muffin Frittatas
Muffin-tin egg frittatas are a fun way to portion out a high protein snack. The traditional eggs with a bit of cheddar cheese is always a safe bet for most kids. However, why not take advantage of something the kids already like by sneaking in some spinach, kale, tomatoes or peppers.
It can be a challenge adjusting the little ones (or older ones) to new textures and unfamiliar tastes but, smother some finely chopped health foods in a scrumptious omelet and, alakazam!
For many families, cooking with a budget in mind can be a bit stressful. Can you imagine a junk food generation chanting, “Pizza! Pizza!”? With some Italian inspiration, an alternative treat was made.
Trade that classically carb-loaded white crust for toasted English muffins or mini bagels, with pizza sauce, a nice slice of tomato, garlic, parsley (or oregano) and fresh, grated parmesan cheese, and now you’ve got a new taste with natural ingredients for you and your family! English muffins are a great way to create a more appropriate portion size for a snack!
Popcorn may have gained a bad rap through the microwaved version, but it’s time to get an air-popper because this snack is a fantastically healthy option. With a little olive oil and some salt (sparingly), you will have a satisfying option!
You can never go wrong with this high fiber snack. Did you think butter and salt were the only way to spice your popcorn? Think again! Try some pepper, cinnamon, garlic, chili powder, and many others to create your kid’s new favorite flavor on movie night.
9) Roasted Peas or Chickpeas
If you walk down the health food aisle, you might see an intriguing bag of baked vegetables to replace the old potato chips. One look at the price might send you walking on your way but, don’t give up! Roasted peas or chickpeas may be easier to prepare than you think.
First, thaw some peas or grab chickpeas and sprinkle them with Himalayan pink salt and olive oil. Next, place them on a cookie sheet and cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Now, this crunchy delight could replace those grease-ridden chips for good!