Healthy kids' snacks

 

So many of the snacks suggested for children today are junky or nutritionally empty.  There's nothing wrong with pretzels, but there's nothing great about them either.  Our daughter C of course receives her fair share of treats and less-than-healthy snacks, but we try to take every opportunity to sneak in extra nutrition.  Here are some of our favorites, kid and adult approved!

Note: we're vegan, so all of these snacks are free of dairy, egg, and meat.

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1.  Fresh fruit.  This one is a no-brainer, but it is not always possible.  Sometimes we are limited on space (whole foods always take up more room than their processed, packaged counterparts), or we are traveling, or we don't have access to refrigeration.  Some fruits are more prone to bruising than others, so I find if we are not at home apples, grapes, clementines, and kiwi (if we can bring a spoon) work best.

2.  Dried chickpeas, edamame, beans, and peas.  I love how this trend has taken off!  These are a great sources of protein and taste fun and exciting.  World Peas, Seapoint Farms, and the Good Bean are our favorites, but I keep seeing more companies creating their own versions.  The flavors range from sweet to savory, the peas and beans are crunchy, and the snack does not scream "healthy" (even though it is!).

3.  Applesauce and fruit purees.  Ruby Rockets has designed shelf stable fruit purees which travel great.

4.  Larabar and Kind bar minis.  I prefer the mini size for myself and small children.  The ingredients are wholesome even though the sugar count is a bit high, and the bars are mostly made of whole foods (Larabars are entirely).  These taste sweet and satisfying to kids and expose them to grownup ingredients, like hazelnut, coconut, and dates.

5.  Apple chips.  These are genius.  They are crunchy and sweet with no funky ingredients.  We do buy the individual bags.  I hate all of the extra packaging, but I find that they do lose their crunch even when stored in airtight containers over time.

6.  Fruit ropes and strips.  Some are better than others when it comes to ingredients.  These are not a favorite with the kid or grown-ups in our house, but we have them on hand because they are allergen-free: no nuts, no soy, no seeds.  Many childcare facilities are incredibly strict about what they allow when it comes to nuts--if the package even says that the snack was produced in the same facility as other foods containing an allergen, it's not allowed.  

7.  Homemade energy balls.  We relied on Dreena Burton's nut free recipe for preschool last year, but our new school has a more liberal nut policy so we have branched out.  C loves to help make them, from pouring the ingredients into the food processor, to pushing the food processor button, to rolling out the balls.

8.  Kale chips and seaweed.  This might not fly with every kid, but we've found that if something is well seasoned (girl loves salt!), she will gladly eat it.  Trader Joe's has the best price.

9.  Popcorn.  We should pop our own, but we usually don't.  The markup on this stuff is horrible, but it is delicious!

10.   Nuts.  Not all nuts are a hit, but these salt and pepper pistachios are a family favorite (and bonus, the shelling is great for developing fine motor skills!).  

 
Emily Rowell Brownfood, vegan, kids, healthy