Food can be a daunting task for parents, and finding the time to feed you and your kids is a job within itself. When it comes to snacks, most parents grab the most convenient items they know their children will love.
Snacking is a necessary part of a child’s diet. Kids need boots of energy, calories to grow, and something to focus on when the day becomes dull. A parent rarely questions this. So why is it that as adults, we question snacking for ourselves?
There has always been a cloud of confusion over snacks and the idea of snacking. Many people wonder if they should snack, what they should eat as a snack, and at what time of day should snack.
While people, including dietitians and nutritionists, could most likely debate this topic for hours, something that most can agree on is the power of intuition within each individual’s diet. Intuitive eating, or the action of listening to your body’s desires, is one of the most important aspects of an adult’s ongoing relationship with food.
If you are one of those who often get confused on the topic of snacking, Mind Body Green has boiled the debate that often goes on in everyone’s mind into 9 rules, which can drastically help improve your relationship with snacking.
1. Snack when your hunger is real.
2. Snack when your blood sugar is low.
3. Snack when you’re running out of fuel.
4. Avoid daylong snacking.
5. Don’t snack when you’re bored, mad, or scared.
6. Snack mindfully.
7. My mantra is: food first!
8. Keep it real, even when you are on the go.
9. Plan ahead. Don’t expect to find nutritious food and snacks on the go.
To read more in depth about these rules, check out their article here.
Making life even simpler for parents, having healthy snacks on hand that can be delicious, nutritious, and exciting to both you and your kids is ideal.
Having an arsenal of sweet, savory, simple, and interactive options will help within your daily life. Here are 7 ideas that just might do the trick!
Sweet and Quick
Granola is one of the easiest, delicious, and perhaps most deceiving snack for kids. Reminiscent of sweet cereal, your little ones might not even know that they are eating something healthy and dense with nutrients.
It is an easy snack that you can grab out of the pantry for you and your children. Most companies (like us here at Naturalvert!) have a variation of flavors, so finding a flavor that you and your kids like is easy. In addition to that, if you get bored of one flavor, you can always switch to another.
Check out our granola here!
2. Nut or Seed Butters (with or without fruit)
It may be more challenging to get your kids to eat nut or seed butters on their own, but the recent production of those little packets at the grocery store may make it fun for them.
If they still need convincing, serving nut or seed butters with fruits is one of the easiest, healthiest snacks. It is no wonder that apples and peanut butter is one of the most popular options for everyone at every age.
Sometimes for a quick fix, a spoonful of nut or seed butter can be enough to satisfy your mid-day sweet tooth.
Nowadays there are so many different and exciting, options on the shelf, like mixed nut butters, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, cashew butter, etc.
Justin’s, Woodstock Foods, and the store’s organic brands are great, accessible options within most grocery stores.
Sweet and Interactive
3. Homemade Protein Balls
These sweet treats are made from healthy, energy providing, wholesome ingredients. They are incredibly easy to make, require no baking, and are the perfect snack to get your kids involved in making.
The ingredients can include anything from nut or seed butters, dates, cacao powder, protein powder, coconut, chia seeds, almond flour, agave, honey, cacao nibs, etc. and they are blended together, rolled into a ball, and dipped or coated with toppings of your choice.
The options are truly endless and customizable to what you and your kids love to eat.
For some inspiration or something to start off with, check out this article from Good Housekeeping.
4. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seed pudding is another easy option for you and your kids to make together. It does require some planning time to make, as the chia seeds need a few hours to absorb liquids and create a pudding-like consistency.
The beauty of chia seed pudding is that it is healthy, full of protein, customizable, and requires minimal ingredients.
The base of chia seed pudding has chia seeds and a plant based milk of choice. Optional and common add-ins are vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and a sweetener of choice (like agave, maple syrup, or coconut sugar).
From there you can create flavor bombs by adding anything like fruit preserves, matcha powder, cacao powder, banana, cinnamon, pumpkin, etc.
What is great about chia seed pudding is that it makes a great base to build upon for a heartier snack. You can top it with ingredients like fresh fruit, nut or seed butter, and granola.
Here are a few recipes to check out if you are interested in making this:
Savory and Quick
This is a no brainer option for families. The high fat content in avocados satisfies stomachs of all kind. The healthy fat is brain food and the creamy texture is particularly enjoyable for kids.
To many people’s surprise, a lot of kids will eat an avocado straight up. If that is not exciting enough, try topping it with some salt and pepper, seasonings like garlic powder, chili powder, bagel seasoning, etc. It is something your kids can get involved in as well, as you can let them top their avocado themselves.
A simple way to top an avocado (for the parents) is with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and chili flakes.
For fun variations on ways to top your avocado check out this article from Tasty.
6. Hummus and Veggies
Possibly the snack of the last half-decade, this is another healthy option for kids and parents. It can be made interactive if you want to make the hummus from scratch with your kids, but for the most part this is a quick and easy store bought snack.
Being able to dip into something makes kids feel like they are having fun with their food, and makes them think that they are possibly eating something that is not as healthy as it actually is.
Buying hummus in fun flavors will also help hide the high fiber and protein health factor, and buying simple vegetables your kids love to pair with it is a big win. Carrots, celery, cucumber, peppers, and tomato are often safe bets.
For the parents, try switching up your hummus game by buying seasonal vegetables to dip in from your local farmers’ market, or add in some fun ingredients to the hummus like chili oil, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, or fresh herbs.
If you want to make this more involved, check out this article from Cookie and Kate that lists a hummus recipe and a few variations.
Savory and Interactive
7. Baked Chickpeas
Baked chickpeas are a recent snack discovery that has really taken storm. While you can buy these store bought, there is nothing that compares to making them homemade.
It is easy to involve your children in the process as they do not require much preparation, plus it is a great way to introduce them to the use of the oven.
After you have rinsed and drained the chickpeas, you dry them off and add a bit of oil. You can go in a lot of different directions with flavors and spices from there, like taco style, falafel spiced, ranch, etc., then toss them in a preheated oven to bake.
They are crunchy, savory, and a healthy savory snack alternative to chips or pretzels.
To try a basic recipe for crispy baked chickpeas, check out this post from Minimalist Baker. To gain some inspiration on the variations you can create, check out this post from Oh My Veggies.