We know it, and you know it too. Kids can be really hard to please. Some of us adults may be on the high maintenance side, but that’s nothing like trying to please our minis. One of the bigger problems we can have as parents is encouraging our kids to eat a balanced, healthy diet.
We are all about making the best and most informed choices for our kids, and that means cutting out the added sugars and empty calories. This can be hard, and sometimes the hardest part is finding delicious alternatives to all the sweet treats out there.
We put together these ideas for parents everywhere, snacks that are easy and so delicious that even the pickiest of eaters are sure to at least try them.
Snacks Rule, So Make Some Snack Rules
As much as they’ll resist every step of the way, kids crave and need structure. So setting some basic rules and limits around snack times is a great place to start transitioning to healthier options.
These could be basic principles like no sweets after dinner or dessert only happens after at least a portion of a meal is eaten. They could also be more related to the time of day and proximity to mealtimes. Saying that no snacks can be had an hour or two before a meal will ensure that they are actually hungry come dinnertime.
A fun way to set up rules for healthier snacks could be ensuring that each color of food is eaten at some point of the day. This way, it’s fun and a little more kid-friendly and also puts them in charge to a degree of what they eat. For example, telling them that they need something orange or green means they are at least attempting the veggies they might have scoffed at last week.
Thanks, But No Thanks
A lot of parents love the idea of a “No thank you” bite. So if you start swapping their midday snacks, and they aren’t going for it, issuing the “no thank you” bite rule will at least get them trying the snacks before turning it away.
It’s basically a rule that states that your child at least takes one bite of whatever you’ve prepared before saying no thank you. It gets them out of their comfort zone a tiny bit to help them experiment in doses they’re comfortable with.
Mini Shoppers on a Mission
It may require some extra planning based on their ages, but take your littles grocery shopping with you when the opportunity presents itself. Give them a small bag to choose their own produce. Promoting them to make choices about fruits and veggies to buy puts them on the frontlines of their eating.
We aren’t saying buy a huge crown of broccoli or a big bunch of carrots, but put one piece of different things in the bag that they can try at home. Even if they get home and mostly play with the food, that’s ok.
This exposure will be a way for them to start to understand textures, smells, and the names of different produce types and feel more comfortable with them. Over time, they will begin adding lick or taste to the routine and slowly make a choice to eat the healthier items themselves.
You can also help them pick their favorite CravePatch from The Natural Patch Co. We created these stickers infused with bergamot, lemon, peppermint, and grapefruit essential oils. The combined powers of these oils can help reduce cravings, improve focus, and calm stress.
With their fun colors, your kids will love the CravePatches (not to mention how amazing they smell). Plus, they work for adults too, so you can model healthy eating habits for your whole family.
Along with this, you can start adding some bonding time to your day with your tiny humans by allowing them some space in the kitchen. Remember those fruits and vegetables they picked out? Well, they need to be washed and prepped. Learning new skills, especially in the kitchen, can help our kids throughout their lives.
We are not in any way saying you should give them a peeler and kitchen knife. But, allowing them to add new skills and experiment with foods will promote positive food associations. We can all agree that a positive mindset is the first big hurdle in healthy choices.
Eat the Rainbow
As we’ve said before, trying to get your kid to eat a whole “rainbow” every day is an easy way to get those veggies and fruits whenever possible. Chopped strawberries or carrot sticks are perfect options for sugar-free snacks.
Keep in mind that fruit does contain sugar naturally. However, the sugars to keep out of your diet are processed additives, so fruit is still a great snack for any kid.
Apple slices with all-natural peanut butter or nut butters are always a great choice. By choosing nut butters that are all-natural, you are keeping those added sugars out of your children’s diets. You can even add some cinnamon or nutmeg to them for added flavor.
So, it’s time that we present our list of six amazing healthy snacks.
We can all clearly agree that guacamole might be the best thing ever created in the kitchen. It’s also a great source of nutrients and healthy fats that your body uses and needs. The healthy fats in avocados keep you energized all day and help boost your metabolism. These are great points for kids; they can get through their day of play without any crashes from sugary snacks.
Air fry some corn tortillas or even a fresh batch of sweet potato fries for a delicious dip for guacamole. All kids like fries, and air fried or baked if you prefer. Plus, sweet potato fries are a great source of vitamin A which promotes eye and skin health.
Make sure they’re on the thinner side so the texture won’t be too soft. Then, add some salt after cooking, and kids won’t know the difference!
No, not real sushi; we don’t expect you to become a sushi chef just to get your kids to eat healthier. But preparing kid-friendly sushi rolls is a fun way to add a little creativity to their snack time. Roll your favorite deli meats with cheese slices and a tortilla (spinach wraps are great here for their color and added health benefits), and slice them up for little rolls.
If you have chopsticks on hand, put them on the side for added effect, we are sure the kids will love the added fun.
It might seem like an unhealthy choice, but popcorn makes a great snack for kids, and there is nothing better than warm, freshly popped popcorn. Buy a plain version, and add your child’s preferred seasonings. It’s a fresh snack ready in a minute or two, and this healthy popcorn recipe can be customized to fit your kids.
Hummus is a perfect alternative to a sugary snack. There are so many different styles and flavors; there is sure to be something for everyone.
Almost anything makes a great dipper for hummus, so don’t be afraid to experiment with what your kids like. Pretzels, cucumbers, bell peppers, and zucchini sticks are great alternatives to traditional pita or naan bread and offer an added health bonus too.
Cheese is a perfect source of calcium, protein, and healthy fats your kids need to grow up healthy and strong. It’s the perfect sugar-free snack because it will help boost natural energy levels.
With this snack, you can say goodbye to any midday crankiness (well, at least not any from their food). Additionally, cheese sticks can help your little ones stay fuller longer so they won’t be hungry again minutes later. Unless they did the typical thing, which is to take one bite and move on, and now they’re starving. Time for more cheese, then!
There are still options for sweets without piling on the sugar. Yogurt is an obvious choice. It’s a great source of healthy fats and probiotics for gut health and can be sweetened naturally. This way, we can avoid added sugar.
Be sure to buy plain full-fat yogurt options. The flavored styles have a lot of added sugars to them, that’s why they’re so much sweeter, and low-fat options usually leave out some nutritional qualities.
Plain yogurt will have a tang to it, so sweeten it up by adding fresh fruits, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as all-natural nut butters. It will be delicious, and your child will look forward to snack time every day.
Maybe your kid is an ice cream addict; who isn’t? Unfortunately, even some healthier options still have added sugars, so they’re still not perfect. A delicious alternative to ice cream is bananas. Overripe bananas are soft and naturally so sweet. You can mash them up and add fruits and other toppings to create the same soft-serve experience your kids already love.
If you’re prepping for a long day of errands and activities, but your kid needs something, you can try a fruit smoothie for a great snack to-go. You can add in all the best fruits and sneak in a veggie or two, along with yogurt and all-natural nut butters. It’s easy to create the perfect sweet treat that your kid won’t even realize is healthy.
Put Their Health First
Kids might struggle and fight at first because, of course, they want all the sugar they can find, but even these snacks will be too delicious for them to resist. We always want the best for all of our kids, which means helping them make healthy choices that can guide them through their life.