Get Kids To Eat Healthy Snacks

Get kids to eat healthy snacks may be easier than you think. These ideas will help.

When the kids come home from school or playing sports, the conversation is always the same. "Mom (or Dad), I'm hungry! What can I eat? There's nothing good in the fridge (or cabinet, or pantry)." Now of course you don't hear the complaints if they have managed to get their hands on some junk food such as cookies, candy, or chips. But what do you do when they want a snack and you want it to be something healthy?

Different ideas work with different kids. But no matter what sort of eater you are trying to please, from picky to whatever-you-put-in-front-of-me, the key is to be prepared. Shop at the grocery store with snack selection in mind. Look for nutritional value and variety. Keep in mind how much time you or your child normally has to prepare a snack. To get the desired results, you have to be prepared with the right supplies.

One snack that is a big hit with lots of kids is something they can dip. Mix up a plain yogurt dip or buy on of the ready to go ranch dip products. Keep the dip on hand with lots of healthy dipping supplies like cut up veggies or fruit. Kids may tend to end up eating more dip than fruit or vegetable, but at least they are getting some nutrition.

Another idea that is especially a hit with younger kids is to have them participate in making the snack. They can help knead the dough when you bake some healthy breadsticks. Give them fruit, vegetables and cheese to make silly faces on a slice of bread or a bagel. Let the children mix shredded carrots or zucchini into bread or muffin batter. It's an added bonus if they have helped grow the veggies in the garden. Kids are fascinated with the growing process and feel proud to eat something they helped produce.

This could even lead to a lifelong love of salad.

For very young kids, check with the "experts". I have gotten great ideas from my children's preschool teachers. They have given me lists of tried and true healthy snacks that the little ones actually eat. Raisins, string cheese, fruit cut into funny shapes, and almost any nutritional food teamed with peanut butter are all big hits with the little ones. Get some ideas from the teachers and be creative. For elementary school aged kids, you might want to call the school nurse or your pediatrician to get nutritional information with persuasive ideas on how to get grade-schoolers to try something healthy.

Finally, remember to remove the temptation. If you know your kids are junk food lovers, keep the junk food out of the house. Or at least keep it out of sight and let them know that these foods aren't an option for their snack time. Once you have stocked your kitchen with healthier fare, let the kids know what the choices are and where to find them. It's a good idea to keep a special section of the fridge or cabinet just for these parent-approved snacks. That way kids can feel free to help themselves and you can feel confident they are eating the good stuff.

So remember in the snacking battle a little preparation goes a long way. Keep the right supplies on hand and include the kids in the process from shopping or gardening to preparation. Soon you will find that they are reaching for the right kind of snacks. And remember to grab healthy snacks for yourself too. It sets a good example and you'll be a family that is eating healthy together.

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