Healthy snacks for kids11:24 AM
Recently, a reader working for nuts.com and I got into contact and talked about healthy snacks she suggested that I should write a post about my take on kids friendly healthy snacks. Needless to say I thought that was a very good idea and I was all up for the challenge.
I certainly always made it clear over the years that I prefer healthy food over anything else and have been encouraging Ishita to discover new tastes since she started solids (which was a long long time ago).
When it comes to snacks, I believe they should be small, and only serve the purpose to tide you over to the next meal. I know this definition varies for different people, and in different cultures. In India for example, a snack can mean a pizza slice or a sandwich. Both of which are considered a meal in the big old West. By snack, I usually think of a 100-200 calories bite, generally a whole food that requires little or no prep. Because, if one has the time to put together something hugely elaborate together, they are hungry enough and clearly have the time to fix a small meal.
Snacks should be as simple and as unprocessed as possible for me to call them one. The only exception being cake (I'll come back to that)
Below is a list of snacks that are popular with Ishita, and are quite kids friendly. I am definitely not one of these moms that will painstakingly cut fruits and put them on a plate so that they look like the rainbow, a dog or an airplane though. First because I have better things to do, and then because a kid that is hungry will eat without caring about the shape their banana has.
Without further ado, here is our favourites over here :
You can't go wrong with seasonal fruits. it's impossible to go wrong with that. Most of them are also travel friendly and can be handled by small hands quite easily. Think banana, grapes, berries, apple wedges. Plus they all come in bright cheerful colours that are sure to put anybody in a good mood on top of providing them with essential nutrients.
- Mix it with yogurt.
We mostly eat plain yogurt in which we put pieces of fruits over here. in Switzerland you usually find these yogurts ready made. But, it's really not that difficult to pull at home, and I have been doing it for years here in India. Ishita's favourite is yogurt mixed with pomegranate seeds, without any added sugar or sweetener. I also favour full fat dairy in general. Low fat is process crap that has been loaded with sweeteners to compensate. Don't EVER fall for it.
- Go nuts over nuts.
I love, we all love eating nuts. Nuts are great! Nature's best snack food. It is loaded in minerals, essential healthy fats and vitamins. It comes in a tiny package and a handful is all you need to kill that hunger pang. Sure, they are considered costly. But, think about it, that handful of wholesome goodness that makes for a serving size cost as much as a pack of chips while only serve to spike your blood sugar and make you fat.
Mix them and add a few dry fruits and you have your very own trail mix.
Process a batch with oats, coconut oil, flax seeds and a little honey and you have a home made granola.
- Roasted ragi chips.
Ragi is the name given to red millet in India. It is a wholesome grain that helps control blood sugar and has heaps of benefit. Roasted ragi chips is something you usually find in stores that sell namkeens, or in health stores. I wrote about it and shared a picture once, you can find that blog post here. This snack has been a huge hit at every play dates we had, so much so we rarely buy potato chips, because those are really really really really good.
- Hummus and carrot sticks.
Not only is hummus super easy to make at home, it also keeps in the fridge in an airtight container for quite a few days. In our home hummus and carrots sticks are either a snack, or a meal, it all depends on the size of the serving. It is also a tiffin box friendly food. One of our big winners.
- Let them have cake.
Yes, you read right: CAKE. Cake is not the big bad devil it has been made to be. Cake is an umbrella term that regroup sugar loaded bombs coated in artificial colours and healthier, much healthier options.
In Switzerland, like in many Central European countries we have a tradition of "Coffee and Cake" which is a name given to the afternoon snack. In my neck of the wood it is also reffered as "The 4 o'clock".
Kids obviously don't drink coffee or tea, but they usually come home from school at that time and need a snack to tide them over to dinner. That snack is usually cake. The wholesome sponge with no icing type.
Think lemon loaves, muffins, and other flavoured sponges.
In Switzerland it is also very common to substitute half the white flour with ground hazelnuts or ground almonds (with the brown skin). These cakes can be made in advance and stored in the freezer until needed. In cupcake forms they make for a easy to handle serving.
The common recipe for all these delicious sponges is to take a certain number of eggs (more eggs mean more batter) and weight them in their shell. Then take that same weight in sugar, butter and flour and add the flavours and add ins you want. I usually substitute half the flour for ground almonds, reduce the sugar a little and leave some of the butter out if the extra add ins are moist enough. It's as simple as that.
I believe in whole foods rather than low sugar, low fat, low something. The key is moderation and the real enemy is over processed ingredients laced with artificial substances. On top of it, kids are usually active, they need food that are packed with both energy and nutrients to keep them going.