Child Nutrition: Healthy Snacks For Kids

All parents know that kids seem to always be hungry. The challenge they face is coming up with easy healthy snacks. It isn't as time consuming and complicated as some think. With a few ingredients kept on hand, healthy snack are just minutes away.

Any parent of a young child knows that the phrase "I'm hungry" comes fairly often. Keeping a range of healthy snacks on hand can become very important. It's often all too easy to reach for potato chips or other not-so-healthy convenience foods to give to hungry kids as a quick fix, but with a few ingredients on hand, a quick, healthy snack for the little ones can be equally convenient.

Keep such pantry items as whole grain crackers, cereals, granola bars, graham crackers, peanut butter, raisins, other dried fruits, and pretzels on hand. In the refrigerator, stock up on bananas, cheese (string cheese seems to be very popular with children), apples, and other fruits. Many kids also enjoy veggies with dips.

Apple slices can be spread with peanut butter for a snack that is filling and protein-packed. Serve this snack with a glass of milk to round it out. Celery sticks filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins are also popular with children ("ants on a log"). You can also make a quick snack mix of raisins, cereal, dried fruit, and pretzels.



Flour Tortillas are a fairly versatile product. You can sprinkle cheese on them and bake them, serving them with salsa for a nacho-like snack. You can put pizza ingredients on them, and bake them into mini-pizzas. Tortillas with a small amount of butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and baked will serve as a sweet snack. Tortillas may also be used as a wrap. Fill it with a light layer of sandwich meat, with the condiment of your choice, and a leaf or two of lettuce. Roll it tightly like a pinwheel, and then slice it into bite-size pieces.

A crudités tray is popular as well; you can put baby carrots, cucumber slices, sugar snap peas or any other vegetable of your choice on the tray along with a dip. A healthy variation of ranch dip is to use plain non-fat yogurt instead of mayonnaise or sour cream. The taste is almost identical to the original. Feel free to add cut-up veggies and cheese cubes for a well-rounded snack.

Many lunchtime favorites can also be used for snacks. For example, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can be cut into triangles or small pieces and served with fruit for a healthy snack. For a heartier snack, English muffin halves can be made into mini-pizzas. Just top the halves with canned pizza sauce and cheese. Then bake them until they are warmed through.

For a healthy , blend a small amount of vanilla non-fat yogurt (about ½ cup) with frozen fruit, ice, about two tablespoons of honey (for kids a year and older), and a splash of milk. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze it for a delicious treat on a hot day. Frozen strawberries (about 8 whole) and about 1 and ½ bananas make a tasty fruit combination for this recipe.

With a little creativity, many snacks can not only be quick and easy, but also healthy. Kids love fun snacks that are new-many of these will seem like a treat, but in reality, they are healthy and well-rounded. Keep plenty of ingredients on hand and ready, and you will always be prepared for that famous statement all parents come to know so well: "Mom, I'm HUNGRY!"

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