8 Easy and Healthy Snacks for Kids

I know kids who request vegetables or who have never eaten fast food. I know other kids who will scoff at the sight of fruit and throw a temper tantrum if they don’t get their junk food.

Here’s the thing. You CAN get your kids to enjoy real food!

Not only are these snacks a healthier alternative to the processed, artificially-sweetened, genetically-modified, high fructose corn syrupy, junk food snacks in the grocery store, but they’re so easy to make that your child can even help you out. In fact, giving children the opportunity to help you in the kitchen will give them a feeling of ownership, empowerment and importance, all of which will encourage them to eat and enjoy their healthy creations!

By the way, these are great snack options for you and the other adults in your life too!

(Note: Some of these recipes require usage of a food processor or blender. Watch your child get excited when he pushes the button and watches the food transform before his very eyes!)

1. Fruit/Veggies + Nut/Seed Butter

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Kids can’t resist the dual combination of crunch and creaminess with sweet and saltiness. Almond butter and sunflower seed butter are my preferred nut/seed butters of choice. When possible, try to get a brand without added sugar (the ingredients should only be the nuts/seeds alone or combined with sea salt). Here are some winning combinations:

  • Sliced Apple + Almond Butter + Cinnamon (use one apple slice or put a second one on top to make a “sandwich”
  • Banana (sliced length-wise or width-wise) + Sunflower Seed Butter + Cinnamon (use one banana slice or put a second one on top to make a “sandwich”)
  • Celery Sticks + Almond Butter + Raw Honey
  • Baby Carrots + Sunflower Seed Butter

2. Crackers/Veggies + Dip/Spread

Hummus-Guac

CRACKERS:

  • Brown Rice Crackers
  • Marys Gone Crackers
  • Homemade tortilla chips (Cut gluten-free or sprouted grain tortillas into triangles, lightly coat with olive oil and sea salt, bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes)

VEGGIES:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Red/orange/yellow peppers
  • Jicama

DIPS/SPREADS:

3. Trail Mix

trail-mix

This is a perfect snack for your kids when you know you’re going to be out all day or when you’re traveling because it doesn’t require refrigeration.

Combine some or all of the following and store in a container or resealable bag:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds

FOR ADDED SWEETNESS:

  • Dried cranberries
  • Goji berries
  • Raisins

4. Ice Cream, Sorbet, Popsicles

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If you have frozen fruit and a food processor, you can make a refreshing dessert in seconds that tastes so good, it’s hard to believe it’s healthy! Enjoy at any time of day (makes for a perfect “dessert for breakfast” treat!)

COMBINE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

  • Frozen Blueberries
  • Frozen Blackberries
  • Frozen Raspberries
  • Frozen Strawberries
  • Frozen Cherries
  • Frozen Banana
  • Frozen Mangos
  • Frozen Acai Packet (the lowest in sugar on the list - add a few drops of stevia to sweeten)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add desired amount of frozen fruit to your food processor
  2. While food processor is running, add unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk as needed to help blend
  3. Transfer into individual bowls and add toppings (optional)

TOPPINGS:

  • Cinnamon
  • Fresh fruit
  • Shredded coconut
  • Crushed nuts
  • Hemp seeds

RECOMMENDED RECIPES:

To make popsicles, place mixture in mold and freeze for a few hours until completely frozen.

5. Nut & Date Bars

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You'll need nuts, dates, and sea salt. That's it!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pick 1-3 type of nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts work great) and grind in a food processor or blender until fine:
  2. Add a tiny bit of sea salt (to taste) and chopped dates to food processor/blender (Medjool dates work great because they're very moist, but if the dates you're using are too dry, soak ahead of time). You’ll want the mixture to be sticky enough to form a dough. If it’s too dry, add more dates or a tiny bit of water. If it’s too wet, add more nuts.
  3. Remove mixture and place in a bowl. Roll mixture into balls (about the size of ping pongs) or bars (roll "dough" into a big ball and place between two sheets of parchment paper, use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten, cut into bars)
  4. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge/freezer for at least 10 minutes before serving.

6. Kale Chips

Kale_Chips

If you have a potato chip addict on your hands and you are looking for a healthier, more nutritious alternative, then this is the recipe for you!  In less than 20 minutes, you and your kids will have a crispy, crunchy, tasty, salty snack ready to eat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Large bunch of curly kale (organic if possible)
  • 1-1.5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Paprika (amount is up to you)
  • Celtic Sea Salt (to taste)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Rinse kale leaves and dry well. Remove leaves from the stems and tear leaves into chip-sized pieces. (If you have a salad spinner, remove and discard the stems, tear leaves into pieces, and use your salad spinner to wash/dry the kale)
  3. In a large bowl, coat the kale with olive oil and “massage” the kale with your fingers to ensure that all pieces are covered
  4. Place kale onto a cookie sheet (or two…cooks best when the pieces aren’t overlapping)
  5. Sprinkle paprika and sea salt on top
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy. Take them out of the oven before they turn too brown or burn.
  7. Let the chips cool and store in an airtight container for an easy snack on the go!

VARIATIONS

  • Add nutritional yeast to the kale in Step 5. This will give it a cheesy flavor and add some texture to the final product.  Nutritional yeast is a complete protein and certain brands are fortified with Vitamin B-12, which is a must-have for vegans.
  • Try these other toppings: lemon juice, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, parmesean cheese, sesame seeds…experiment!

7. Fruit Bowl

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This is a refreshing snack to enjoy in the summer months using the fresh, organic fruit from the farmers market.

Combine some or all of the following in a bowl and serve immediately (or chill in the fridge prior to serving):

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Nectarines
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Grapes

8. Turkey Lettuce Pinwheels

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Layer one slice organic, hormone-free, antibiotic-free turkey (I like the brand Applegate Farms) on top of 1 romaine lettuce leaf. Roll layers together and secure with 2 toothpicks. Cut in half so you have two pinwheels, each held together by one toothpick. You can also reverse the layers so the turkey is on the outside. Feel free to add other ingredients as well, such as avocado/guacamole, mustard, sprouts, etc. (Note: Be careful with the sharp end of the toothpicks around very young children!)

Image Credit (CC)