It’s important to serve healthy snacks to your children because not only will you provide them with good nutrition, you’ll also help them establish healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, because it’s so quick and easy, many of us revert to giving our children junk food. However, with a little preparation, making healthy snacks can be quick and easy too. Try our ideas for fruit, vegetable and healthy grain snacks. Look out for our follow-up article on protein and dairy snacks, and some snacks you can easily make yourself.
Most children don’t eat their recommended five to seven servings of fruit and vegetables each day, so try to sneak them into their diets.
- Get the kids to help you make a fruit salad.
- Make fruit kebabs: dice up some colourful fruits and line them up on a wooden skewer.
- Incorporate fruit into your baking, for example banana bread or blueberry muffins.
Serving vegetables, especially fresh ones, may seem challenging. Try to serve lots of different vegetables and prepare them in various ways to find out what your children like best.
- Set out vegetables in separate bowls and let the kids build their own salads.
- Serve a selection of sliced vegetables like carrots, cherry tomatoes, baby corn, snap peas and cucumber, and serve them with hummus or a guacamole dip.
- Cut open whole-wheat pitas and let the kids fill them with vegetables and a low-fat dressing.
Though most children eat a lot of grain products, too many of those products are refined grains, like biscuits or sugary cereals, which are high in sugars. So try to serve more whole grains.
- Serve whole-grain crackers with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese.
- Kids love popcorn, and the microwave ones are so quick and easy to make. But steer clear of the butter-flavoured options, as these contain a lot of fat and oils.
- Pasta is a great source of complex carbohydrates and it also comes in various shapes, sizes and even colours. Serve a snack-size portion of warm pasta with some vegetables and chicken or beef, or serve it cold as a salad. Just add some low-fat cheese, cherry tomatoes and dressing.
Tip: Make snack time fun by serving the food on colourful paper plates or with printed serviettes and funky cutlery.