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 protein and dairy snacks, and some other snacks you can easily make yourself. Previously we shared ideas for fruit, vegetable and healthy grain snacks.
Dairy provides key nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Pick dairy products that are low-fat or fat-free, moderate in sugars and high in calcium.
- Use unsweetened vanilla yoghurt, 100% orange juice and a banana as the base for smoothies, then experiment with diced fresh or frozen fruit. You can also make yoghurt lollies with this yoghurt-and-fruit mixture. Pour the mixture into paper cups, stick craft sticks in the centre and let them set overnight.
- Create a cheese platter for kids. Cut up various low-fat cheeses and serve with unsalted crackers, rye bread, peanut butter, low-fat cream cheese and cut-up carrots, snap peas, baby corn and cherry tomatoes.
- Use fat-free milk when making flavoured-milk drinks to balance out the extra kilojoules coming from added sugars.
Protein provides children with energy and helps build good, strong muscles. Don’t serve protein at mealtimes only; boost your child’s protein intake by sneaking some in at snack time too.
- Boil a couple of eggs and keep them in the fridge. At snack time, mash one of the eggs and serve with low-fat cream cheese or unsalted crackers.
- Make a savoury kebab. Thread pieces of lean ham, cherry tomatoes and low-fat cheese onto wooden skewers.
- Heat up mini wraps and fill them with scrambled egg and smoked salmon.
Make it yourself:
Home-made trail mix is easy to make and store well in a sealed container. Toss together some whole-grain cereals, nuts, seeds and dried fruit like apricots, apples, raisins and banana chips.
This dip is made from puréed chickpeas and has an appealing nutty flavour. It contains iron, which is very important for young children. Let the kids dip cut-up vegetables or crackers in the hummus, or use it to make mini pita pockets. Toast the pitas, then split them open, spread with some hummus and top with various salad ingredients. Try our tried and tested recipe for brinjal hummus.
Tip: Make snack time fun by serving the food on colourful paper plates or with printed serviettes and funky cutlery.