Summer is coming to a close and school is right around the corner. If you are a parent, you are either cherishing the peace and calm from having your kids at home all summer or missing spending quality time with them. One of the more challenging things with the start of the school year can be coming up with healthy and nutritious on the go snacks for your children – that they’ll eat. We teach children about making healthy choices, and that should also be reflected in lunch and after school snacks.
Here are some healthy and tasty foods for the kiddos this school year.
There are quite a few traditional snacks that you can try with your kids. “Ants on a log” has always been an old standby, so grab some celery and top it with organic almond or peanut butter and raisins. Also, chopped vegetables including carrots, celery, cucumber, jicama, or bell peppers (green or red) are good choices, especially if you add in a vegetable dip, such as hummus. You can also use hummus with pretzels, whole grain crackers, and pita chips. Skip the microwave popcorn loaded with synthetic butter, and instead use lightly salted air-popped popcorn. Lightly salted pistachios can be a hit and help with fine motor development. Finally, fresh fruits such as apple slices, grapes, and oranges are always a good standby.
Turkey and Cheese Swords
Roll up a small piece of nitrate-free, organic turkey with an organic sliced cheese of your choice and skewer it with a pretzel stick. Easy, and the kids will get a kick out of their turkey and cheese ‘swords’.
Avocado Chocolate “Pudding”
Most kids love chocolate pudding, but traditional pudding cups are full of processed ingredients and sugar. Instead, take two large avocados, pit and peel them, and then chop them into small cubes. Put these in a blender with a quarter cup of maple syrup, a half a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, along with 1/3 of a cup of coconut milk, two teaspoons of vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon. Blend these until the whole mixture is smooth and then refrigerate it until it gets that “pudding” consistency and serve.
Banana “Ice Cream”
For this healthy version of banana ice cream, you need to peel several overripe bananas. After peeling, cut them into one-inch pieces and then freeze them in a Ziploc bag until they are solid. Then, you can run them through a juicer or blender to create a “fake out” ice cream. Be sure to serve this as soon as you take it out of the blender/juicer. If you want to make this a special treat, try adding berries or carob powder to the blender. You can also try topping it off with fruits or nuts.
Fudge you say? This three ingredient treat is tasty and will keep their blood sugar more even than any traditional candy/fudge. Combine 1/2 cup almond butter OR allergy-friendly alternative, 2 1/2 tbsp virgin coconut oil (25g), add optional 2 1/2 tbsp liquid sweetener of choice) and a few drops maple extract. Combine the almond butter and coconut oil or coconut butter, and gently warm until the nut butter is easily stir-able and the coconut oil is liquid. Stir in the sweetener if desired, then spoon into a plastic container or candy molds. Freeze a few hours until solid, and store leftovers in the freezer. Thanks to chocolatecoveredkatie.com for this one.
Fruit and Cheese Kabobs
Wash organic grapes and strawberries, and alternate on small skewers with organic cubed cheese. Everything is more fun on a skewer!
These are a naturopathic favorite. You can load them up with nutrients, vitamins and protein, and the sky is the limit on how tasty they can be. They also make a great ‘on the go’ breakfast or after school snack. The new school year will be bringing a lot of challenges when it comes to schedules and staying healthy, but with these inventive options, your kids can still get quick and easy snacks that are good for them.