Easy & Healthy Munching
We often rely on processed snacks, just because they’re easy. A mom’s question exemplifies the problems parents face with finding snacks that are both easy AND healthy. She says, “I’m looking for some easy-to-grab healthy snack ideas. My kids are sick of me saying ‘have a piece of fruit or some crackers’.”
If you have a picky eater, the problem of healthy snacking is magnified, because picky eaters love junk food and usually refuse anything remotely healthy. What you have in your kitchen is what your kids will eat. If it’s loaded with chips, cookies, and ice cream bars, that’s what they’ll snack on.
Whole foods can be easy, yummy, and fun. You’ll want to try the three fun food ideas below. They’re fantastic ways to entice a bored or picky eater. Summer food fun is not a pie eating contest. It’s not a sugar-and-food-coloring slushy or cotton candy. It’s not nitrate hot dogs and chips fried in altered fats, either. Summer food fun is making whole foods yummy!
Savannah and Ashlyn are serious little chefs.
1. Create Healthy Munchies
Thinly slice English cucumbers for cucumber crackers and spread with herb cream cheese. Make toothpick fruit and cheese kabobs. Spread nut butter on a celery rib. Dip fruit and veggies slices in yogurt and apple slices in nut butter. Organic corn chips served with homemade guacamole. Deviled eggs. Seeds and nuts. I love raisins mixed with walnuts. Keep string cheese on hand. Make hot air popcorn and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Have a watermelon seed-spiting contest on the patio or driveway. Hose away the mess when you’re finished…including the mess on your children!
For a frozen treat offer 100 percent fruit juice popsicles. Make your own Banana Pops and Banana-Orange Yogies for frozen food fun. Make a frozen slushy with crushed ice and 100 percent fruit juice. Freeze grapes for a refreshing frozen treat. To avoid a chocking hazard for young children, cut the grapes into quarters before freezing.
2. Farmer’s Market Scavenger Hunt
Take the kids to a farmer’s market and send them on a scavenger hunt. They need to discover a yummy healthful snack. Set the ground rules before you leave. Cotton candy, ice cream, taffy and fudge are off-limits. Summer produce is bountiful and colorful. See who can be the most creative.
Give your children the challenge to find produce that they have never tasted. Then purchase it and together research how to prepare it. Finally, give it the taste test. Make construction paper blue ribbon awards for the tastiest, the prettiest, and the most creative healthy snacks.
2. The Child Chef
Let your child discover his/her inner chef. Designate a day for the kids to make the meals. No pop tarts or toaster waffles for breakfast. No hot dogs or chips fried in altered fats for dinner. Help your children plan the day’s menu with whole foods. Be sure your children experience different and even unusual foods. Try new recipes. Go shopping together with your list of needed ingredients. Cook as a family or give each child a meal to prepare on their own (with supervision). Don’t forget that clean-up is part of the experience as well.
If you have preschoolers, then designate a chef-in-training day. Deck them out in appropriate attire: an apron and a chef’s hat (Click Here for directions to make a paper chef’s hat.) Do you have a summer birthday? Have a kids’ cooking party! You can give each chef their very own wooden mixing spoon to take home.