I am often asked ‘what can I feed my child for a healthy snack?’
Growing bodies need nourishment. Here are some great healthy ideas for snacks to fill up little tummies whilst also helping them to:
- Obtain the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly
- Have the energy they need to run and play
- Reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese
- Support optimal learning and school performance
- Reduce the likelihood of behavioural issues
- Improve their immune resistance to viral infections
Nutrition does not need to be difficult or complex – it simply involves eating a variety of high-quality, nutritionally-dense foods, in the form that is closest to its original state. For example, choose foods that have experienced as little ‘human interference’ as possible. The less packets, labels and ingredients (especially those that are difficult to pronounce!), the better.
Here are a few suggestions for real, nutritious wholefoods for kids:
- Fruit and Greek yoghurt. Fruit is the original ‘fast food’ – you can’t get any more convenient than an apple, banana or a bunch of grapes. Kids often like fruit when it is cut up, so consider chopping a couple of different pieces and topping with some full-fat Greek yoghurt and a little honey. Other suggestions for fruit include investing in a spiralizer or slinky machine to make fun shapes, make into homemade ice blocks, or thread fruit chunks on skewers for fruit kebabs.
- Chocolate coconut slice. Take 600g of dates (rinsed), 1 cup of desiccated coconut, and 2 tablespoons of cacao/cocoa. Whiz dates in a food processor or Thermomix until finely diced, add in the other ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Press into a lamington tray, refrigerate until firm, then slice into squares.
- Eggs & wholegrain toast soldiers. Eggs are a fantastic source of nutrition for littlies, and the bonus is they are quick for time-poor parents to cook. A soft-boiled egg or two with a slice of wholemeal/wholegrain toast with butter or mashed avocado provides protein, vitamins, and fibre to help fill up hungry tummies. Choose free-range eggs if you can.
- Chicken drumsticks. Choose free-range/organic chicken where you can. Marinate some drumsticks in a mix of soy sauce, honey and grated ginger. Bake in a moderate oven until cooked through, and serve hot or cold with a side salad or crunchy vegetable sticks. Great for lunchboxes too.
- Nut butters on rice cakes/celery sticks. Nut butters are a great source of protein, vitamins and fibre, and they are filling and are tasty to boot. If you are choosing a nut butter, make sure it is 100% pureed nuts (eg, almonds, cashews, brazil etc) and avoid commercial peanut butters, which often contain unhealthy added fats & sugars. A 100% peanut butter made from pure peanuts is perfect. Or, you can easily make your own by whizzing your choice of raw nuts with a little cold-pressed olive or macadamia oil. Of course, don’t give nuts to children with nut allergies, and don’t send these as a school lunch if there is a risk of triggering a classmate’s allergy.
- Nibble mix. Mix together sunflower seeds, pepitas, dried apricots, sultanas, quinoa puffs, and maybe a few carob drops as a treat. It is far more economical to make your own variety rather than buying pre-made mixes. Great for travel in the car, or when out and about with kids.