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30 Healthier Snack Ideas for Kids


By Amanda Formaro

When the kids come home each afternoon have healthier snacks waiting so that they don't grab for potato chips or cookies. Here are some ideas for fun and tasty snacks that are much better than the prepackaged ones that are so easy to grab. A little forethought will get your kids eating better and they'll thank you for it. We asked our members to share their ideas for healthier after school (or any time) snacks for kids. Here's what they suggest:

1. whole wheat crackers and toppings - try sliced cheese, cream cheese, egg salad, tuna salad, peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, or pepperoni. Make your own Lunchables by layering ham or turkey and cheese!

2. celery and/or carrots with dip - popular dips among kids may include ranch, hummus, creamy italian dressing, bean dip, cream cheese, and other soft cheeses. Try other raw vegetables too, like cucumbers, zucchini and bell pepper slices.

3. fresh fruit - different varieties of melon cut into chunks, whole strawberries and pineapple wedges are fun and colorful. Use rounded toothpicks to let kids make their own kabobs or mix several fruits together to make a quick fruit salad; add a dollop of fat free whipped topping.

4. apple slices and dip - use an apple slicer or cut into slices with a knife and sprinkle with a little lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Serve with peanut butter, fat free whipped topping, yogurt, sugar free caramel dip, or other fruit dips.

5. tortilla roll ups and pinwheels - spread with peanut butter or peanut butter and jelly, roll up then slice into 1" pieces to make pinwheels. use a layer of cream cheese and a slice or two of turkey or ham, or layer with spreadable cheese and various vegetables, roll up and eat.

6. trail mix - make your own by mixing together peanuts, raisins, chocolate chips, mini pretzels, granola, and other sweet and salty ingredients. Keep the high sugar sweets to a minimum.

7. granola & yogurt - granola makes a great snack on its own, but it's also very tasty when you stir it into a container of yogurt. Look for different flavors available at your local grocer.

8. cheese sticks - String cheese is very popular with kids. You can also find colby sticks and cheddar sticks at the store. You can also cut your own from any of your favorite cheeses!

9. pretzel sticks & cheese - cut your child's favorite cheese(s) into cubes and give him pretzel sticks to pick them up with. Safer than toothpicks and edible too. You can also try dipping pretzels in cheese sauce or bean dip.

10. popcorn - make the light butter or unbuttered kind and sprinkle with parmesan cheese while it's still hot. Try season salt, cinnamon sugar, and anything else you can think of to spice it up.

11. cheese quesadillas - sandwich shredded or packaged sliced cheese in between two tortillas. Heat in the microwave until cheese is melted. For younger kids with smaller appetites, use only one tortilla, layer half of it with cheese, fold over and heat.

12. mini pizzas - spread tomato paste or spaghetti sauce onto a toasted english muffin, sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and any other toppings you like. Heat in the broiler for a minute or two until cheese is bubbly.

13. quick breads and muffins - best when made from scratch, these are wonderful when popped into the microwave for a few seconds and dotted with a little butter. Muffins and quick breads are easy to make and there are many varieties including zucchini, banana, blueberry, and more.

14. smoothies - a great way to sneak in extra dairy and fruit. Pour 1 cup of milk into a blender, add enough frozen fruit to reach top of milk, add an 8 ounce container of yogurt, blend until smooth. Mix and match flavors, try frozen pineapple and vanilla yogurt, frozen strawberries and banana yogurt, or frozen cherries and cherry yogurt.

15. bagels, toast, english muffins - spread bagels with different flavored cream cheese and cut into bite sized wedges. Make toast and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, cut into triangles. Toast an english muffin and spread with peanut butter and jelly or layer with a slice of cheese.

16. cereal - toasted "O's", fruit circles, and other finger cereals and great as a snack. You don't have to limit a bowl of cereal to breakfast, this makes a fun and different snack for hungry kids as well.

17. yogurt - keep a variety of flavored yogurts, containers, squeezable and drinkable are all available.

18. bananas and peanut butter - slice a banana lengthwise down the middle. Spread each slice with peanut butter. Cut into bite size pieces and serve with round toothpicks or pretzels.

19. parfaits - layer fresh cut up fruit with yogurt and a little granola. Your kids will think they are getting dessert!

20. sugar free gelatin and puddings - if you do need a quick to grab snack sugar free gelatins and puddings are much better than a handful of chocolate cookies. Keep a small supply on hand and out of reach.

21. rice cakes - serve plain or spread with peanut butter or Nutella (chocolate and hazelnut spread). Rice cakes come in many varieties and flavors.

22. pita wedges & hummus - cut a pita pocket into small wedges, warm in the microwave and spread with cream cheese or your favorite hummus.

23. graham crackers - graham crackers are a tasty substitution for cookies. They are perfect for spreading peanut butter or dipping into applesauce.

24. tortilla chips & salsa - serve unsalted tortilla chips with homemade salsa. Mix together chopped tomato, chopped green onion, a little garlic salt and chopped fresh cilantro.

25. animal crackers - another great substitution for cookies

26. dried fruit - everyone knows about raisins, but don't forget all the other wonderful dried fruits available. Dried cranberries, plums, mangos and other tropical fruits are sweet like candy. Due to their natural sugar content they should be served in moderation but definitely in place of processed sweets.

27. bread - bread sticks fresh from the oven are yummy, as are sliced pieces of french bread with cream cheese, or bread and butter cut into squares and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or garlic salt.

28. cereal & granola bars - another great option for quick grab and go snacks, cereal and granola bars come in a wide variety of flavors.

29. applesauce - you'd be surprised at the different flavors available in applesauce these days!

30. pita pocket stuffers - fill pita pockets with cheese and ham, turkey and lettuce, or even bananas and peanut butter

Amanda Formaro is the entrepreneurial mother of four children. She is also the owner of FamilyCorner.com Magazine.

Categories: Food & Recipes, MomShare,

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