Healthy snacking is an important part of a child's diet and is an opportunity to provide your child with essential nutrients.
While kids may want to turn towards unhealthier snack options, these alternatives should tempt even the pickiest of eaters.
1. Opt for Angel Food Cake Instead of Snack Cakes.
Those snack cakes your children love may be deep-fried and may contain heart-damaging trans fats. Instead, substitute small slices of angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries and fat-free whipped topping for a sweet snack.
2. Replace Nachos With Whole-Grain Homemade Tortilla Chips.
Children and adults are both drawn to a large bowl of cheesy nachos. Unfortunately, most store-bought nachos have been deep fried and are full of excess sodium and saturated fat. As an alternative, purchase whole-grain tortillas, brush lightly with oil, and bake in the oven for up to 15 minutes. You'll have homemade tortilla chips that you can top with salsa and vegetables. Try offering hummus instead of cheese for an additional protein boost and the creamy texture kids crave with their chips.
3. Offer Baggies of Dried Fruit and Nuts Instead of Candy.
If your child has a sweet tooth and keeps reaching for the M&Ms, replace the candy bowl with bags full of dried fruit and nuts. You can buy dried fruit in the store, though making it at home is a healthier option. Try dried apples, cherries, and cranberries mixed with raisins and peanuts for a delicious salty and sweet treat.
4. Graham Cracker Sandwiches Make Healthier Options Than S'mores.
The s'more is popular because it is sweet and gooey. Fortunately, you can replicate the messy wonderfulness of a s'more by substituting frozen yogurt and sliced bananas in place of the chocolate and marshmallow. You'll add calcium and potassium and encourage the growth of strong bones while also greatly reducing the amount of sugar and calories.
5. Substitute Baked Sweet Potato Fries in Place of Traditional French Fries.
All you'll need is two large sweet potatoes, a tablespoon of olive oil and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cut the potatoes, lightly coat each piece with olive oil, and cook it in the oven on 450 for 30 minutes. You can leave the peel on for added fiber or peel the potato first if you have picky eaters. Your children will benefit from the sweet potato's rich Vitamin A content without the trans fat and excess sodium of traditional fries.
It might be tempting to give in at snack time and allow children the unhealthy snacks they crave. But the snacks they love as children will form their life-long associations with food, so it is important to provide them with healthy alternatives to the unhealthy food that they desire.