Posts Tagged ‘healthy snacks for kids’

I continue to refer to my toddler as a picky eater, but in reality I can honestly say I think most toddlers are picky.  As babies they happily ate up most anything you put in front of them.  As babies, everything is new, some new exciting texture, taste, and smell.  As toddlers, they realize they have their own personalities, their own likes and dislikes.  Anyone with a toddler will tell you they are hardheaded, strong willed.  My toddler would personally live off graham crackers and milk all day every day if I gave him the ability to choose. 

 

I find myself often times frustrated at his lack of desire to try different things.  Toddlers like routine, and change is a hard concept.  For some it’s harder than others.  “They” say that toddlers take up to 3-4 times of seeing something new on their plate to try it.  Who is “they” anyways?  And “they” clearly haven’t tried feeding my picky eater.  So, being the creative mama I am I watched my sons eating habits, focused on things he liked and didn’t like.  He prefers to drink his food; he loves “shakey’s” also known as milk with some sort of protein powder.  He loves his milk, and prefers to drink his food rather than eat.  Who can really blame him, drinking takes less time than sitting down to eat, and his little busy mind has things to do and places to see!

I was worried he wasn’t in taking enough healthy calories because of his inability to try new things.  Some days it seemed like he would only eat a bite of bread and maybe 4 goldfish and call it a day.  I talked to his pediatrician who said he was thriving, and growing so to try not to worry, and continue to offer him healthy meals.  Out of desperation and frustration I started making him smoothies and shakes.  The options are really endless, with different fruits, juices, milk, almond milk, you name it.  He also is at the age where he loves to help.  Mixing and pouring can keep him busy for hours, so I put him to work helping to pour different fruits, milk, and juices into the blender.

I purchase a sugar free vanilla, or chocolate protein powder to add some healthy calories into his smoothies and shakes.  There are so many different options but I’d like to share a few of our favorite recipes below. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop chocolate protein powder (or sugar-free carnation instant breakfast)

1 tbsp peanut butter (if your child is allergic you of course would want to skip this)

½ banana

Mix all ingredients, and enjoy!

 

Another staple smoothie in our house is:

Berry Smoothie

1 cup milk

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (or vanilla carnation instant breakfast)

½ cup mixed berries

¼ fresh spinach

Mix all ingredients, and enjoy!

 

Like I mentioned above, options are really endless.  You can use mango, strawberries, add a teaspoon of cinnamon.  Experiment, and let your children experiment with you as well.  And most importantly enjoy these special moments with your children, they go much to fast!

I love the fact that at any grocery store or farmers market, you are able to get a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Every grocery store in our area imports fruits and vegetables that I didn’t even know existed! You don’t have to try crazy foods in order to get your kids to, but we think it is fun to try new fruits and vegetables. (Often times the store puts on a sign how these foods are best prepared, but if not a simple internet search will find plenty of recipes!)

I’m not going to tell you the importance of fruits and vegetables because, let’s face it, you know. One way to find out what your kids like is to give them a lot of options. It doesn’t have to cost a lot either. Cutting all the vegetables will be the most time consuming part, but having a healthy snack is the best part! Get the entire family involved. Prepare your “platter” on a weekend and snack on it all day long. Leftovers? Stir fry it up for dinner!

Some great options for vegetable platters

Broccoli, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Cucumbers, Cauliflower, Green peppers, Red peppers, orange peppers, yellow peppers, radish, celery, tomatoes…..

You can also purchase salad dressing or dip packets for under a dollar and mix it with 8 oz of sour cream for a dip.

Your kids may just pick up a vegetable when it is right in front of them. Maybe they like green beans….try them uncooked with dip.

Fruit platters are another great way to get kids to snack on healthy foods. You can incorporate different types of cheese as well. Left over fruit can be made into a fruit salad or used on top of yogurt.

Good luck…you never know what your kids may like!

This recipe contains both peanuts and peanut butter. Most pediatricians do not recommend giving your children peanuts and/or peanut butter until they are at  least one. Please make sure if there are little kids around that these snacks are kept in a safe place!

This healthy snack is quick and easy to make. It is perfect for outings and camping. It only takes 10 minutes to throw together and makes 14 servings.

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1.2 cup finely chopped peanuts

1 small banana

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ

Mash together banana and peanut butter. Stir in wheat germ. Roll individual tablespoons into balls.

Mix mini chocolate chip and chopped peanuts in separate bowl.

Roll the balls in the chocolate chip and peanut mixture.

Chill until firm.

These little balls of energy will keep your kids full and energized. Have a great day!
-Heather

This healthy recipe is a great “dip” that your kids will enjoy. 3 ingredients/2 minutes or less and all you need is a food processor or blender.

2-3 Avocados

1 container of fresh salsa (you can make your own salsa if you prefer)

*Make sure you get mild salsa so your guacamole is not spicy

2-3 limes

Take avocados and remove skin and pit. Add green fruit to blender or food processor

*With older kids you could use a fork or potato masher  to mash up avocado, but for younger kids I recommend a blended smooth texture.

Add salsa to food processor as well. Blend well. Add the juice of 2-3 limes (to taste) blend again.

There are many different uses for this healthy “dip.” It is perfect for dipping tortilla chips in (I use multigrain). It is also a great substitution for mayonnaise on sandwiches. It can be used on tacos or salads.

Avocados contain more potassium then bananas.  They are also rich in B vitamins, as well as Vitamins E and K. They are high in fiber and help promote healthy cholesterol levels. This power fruit is also rich in health promoting fats.

Protecting our kids from harm is a mother’s biggest responsibilty, be it from strangers, physical harm, or even chemicals and preservatives in our food. Thankfully there are some ways we can cut back on the amount of harmful substances that enter into our bodies, and “going organic” is an easy and “green” way to do it.

How do you know its organic? What are the standards?
Supporting organic farms and growers is easy to do, whether you have access to a farmer’s market or a large supermarket. Look for product labeled “organic”, “100% organic”, and for even more brand confidence look for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) seal. Simply “organic” products are those grown, raised, prepared and processed with at least 95% organic ingredients or processes, and the remaining ingredients must be on the approved USDA National List. “100% organic” products are created. raised, processed and prepared with only organic incgredients, with no additions of any kind. Both of these types of products must not be produced using excluded methods, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation. Products labeled, “Made with organic ingredients” must contain at least 70% organic ingredients, can include up to three types of ingredients that are certified organic, and can include the markings of the certifying agency, but can not be labeled with the USDA seal anywhere on the packaging.

What does organic mean?
Organic products do not contain any chemicals, substances or preservatives that are considered unhealthy by the USDA. Chicken that is labeled organic is most likely free range (not caged) chickens that are fed with pure and natural feed that do not include any growth hormones, fattening agents, or antibiotics. Veggies that are labeled organic are grown with no pesticides or chemicals, and are processed using methods that do not require these products either.

What are the farmer standards?

The USDA requires all growing organizations to be certified after a vigorous inspection of their farming procedures by and accrediting USDA agent. Farms and ranches that make more than a $5,000 profit on the items that they sell must be certified by the USDA to use organic labeling.

Why go organic?

Foods that are organic taste better, are better for you, and even make you healthier! Organically grown vegetables have been scientifically proven to have larger amounts of antioxidants, and obviously lower amounts of harsh substances and cancer causing compounds. Lands that use only organic fertilizers are more healthy than those poisoned by chemicals and phosphates, and this helps to protect the waters and ecosystems around the farm as well. And any food that is raised with only compost, sunshine and clean water is definitely going to more yummy than a food that is loaded with chemicals, fillers, and byproducts. Foods that do not contains these harmful substances do not pose the same risks to pregnant women, infants, and young children that chemically processed foods do. You are protecting not only your immediate family, but the next generation as well.

Organic Recipes

There are a host of websites promoting the green movement and organic foods. Check out sites like  Organic.com for games and recipes that your little ones will enjoy. Or try Horizon Dairy for great tasting meals and snacks all made with your child in mind. And try Babyzone for organic goodies for your toddler.

But what about plastics?

There are a lot of chemicals and harmful substances used in making everything from baby toys to the dishes and silverware we use to eat on. One of these in Bisphenol-A, or BPA, which can leach into the foods we eat and the water and juices we drink from the plastic packaging used to display it. To avoid such contamintants, only buy plasticware, plates, forks, spoons, leftover containers and baby bottles that are marked BPA-Free, or pthalate-free. Don’t heat plastic items in the microwave, and don’t wrap your leftovers in cling wrap.If you aren’t sure whether or not your plastic items are free of Bisphenol-A, (BPA) look for the #7 stamped into the container.

These rules are easy to follow and will help you keep your family and future generations safer and healthier.