10 Surprisingly Healthy Snacks for Kids
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The Search for the Perfect Snack
Snacks can often be a big part of your child's diet, so it's important that most of the snacks you give him or her are ones you feel good about. These 10 snack ideas offer the perfect combination: some fiber (from whole grains, fruit or vegetables), some protein and some fat. It's a combo that's sure to satisfy and that will fuel your busy child.
Popcorn is a sure-fire hit with kids, and ... it's a whole grain! Popcorn actually has 4 grams of fiber per 3-cup serving, which makes it a filling snack. Plus, it's endlessly versatile. You can transform air-popped popcorn with all sorts of toppings, including grated cheese, nutritional yeast or cinnamon and sugar.
Ice pops couldn't be easier or more versatile to whip up. And when you make them yourself, you control exactly what goes in them. These Frozen Orange Pops deliver a helping of vitamin C and calcium to your child, courtesy of the main ingredients: orange juice and nonfat Greek yogurt.
Get the Recipe: Frozen Orange Pops
Here's the thing about cookies: You can make them healthy when you use the right ingredients. Whole-wheat pastry flour can be subbed for white flour in most cookies. Rolled oats add even more fiber. And in some recipes, like these Oatmeal-Chocolate Snack Cakes, you can replace some of the butter with applesauce to lighten up the saturated fat. Serve them with low-fat milk and you have a nutritious, balanced snack for your kids.
Get the Recipe: Kids Can Make: Oatmeal-Chocolate Snack Cakes
Natural peanut butter (the kind without added sugars and other kinds of fats) is a great snack option. It gives your kids protein and healthy fats, and pairs perfectly with apples, bananas, celery and whole-grain crackers or toast.
Cheese is super-flavorful and satisfying, and gives your kids protein and calcium. The key is making sure it's not in every meal and snack. But a cheese stick paired with apple slices or carrot sticks (or whatever fruits and vegetables your kids like) is the ideal power snack.
Pizza is really just another take on a sandwich, and it can be a vehicle for healthy toppings like olives, sliced peppers, or pineapple and ham. Use whole-wheat English muffins or buy premade whole-wheat pizza dough and have your kids add their favorite toppings.
Want to make fruit and nuts extra appealing? Dip them in chocolate.
Snacks don't need to be made from snack foods. Serving a sandwich (or half of one) can be a smart solution for snack time. Even grilled cheese can be a good choice when you use 100-percent whole-grain bread and add in sliced apples for extra fiber.
Crispy Rice Treats
The classic crispy rice-marshmallow-and-butter snack gets a health boost in these Puffed Rice Snowballs, thanks to added dried fruit and seeds. Use puffed whole-grain cereal to make them even better for your kids.
Get the Recipe: Kids Can Make: Puffed Rice Snowballs
Chips and Dip
A serving of pita or tortilla chips is really fine nutritionally — it has filling fiber and can be a tasty vehicle for healthy dips, such as hummus, black bean dip or salsa.