Cool Snacks for Kids (and Parents!)

Fun snacks aren't just for kids; Robin Miller's cheese-stuffed garlic knots and baked onions will be loved by kids and parents.

When we talk about healthy and cool snacks, why is the focus always on kids? At what age does fun snacking end and boring snacking begin? For me, I’m still 8 years old at heart, so fun snacks are always a part of my family’s repertoire. Check out two nibbles I recently made for myself and my kids. The pretzel knots are a breeze to prepare (because you use store-bought pizza or bread dough) and they’ve got a hidden gem of sharp cheddar nestled in the middle. You can tuck any cheese you want inside – in fact, you can insert lots of different things into a pretzel knot (olives, sundried tomatoes, pepperoni, ham, and so on). The onion rings might seem like an odd snack, but we love them in my house. Plus, onions are rich in cancer-fighting sulfur compounds so enjoying them as a snack instead of a measly side dish means you’ll likely get more of the onion’s powerful goodness. We like to dip the rings in ketchup, but they’re also amazing dipped in smoky barbecue sauce. What are you noshing on between meals? Let me know!

Stuffed Pretzel Knots with Coarse Salt
Cooking spray

1 pound frozen bread or pizza dough, thawed according to package directions

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 16 equal pieces
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Separate dough into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece out to 1/4-inch thickness (work on a floured surface if dough sticks). Place one piece of cheddar in the center of each piece of dough. Fold over dough to cover cheese. Pinch dough together to seal. Pull out dough far enough to create a small knot. Place knots on prepared baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.

Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes 16 pretzels knots

Nutrition Info Per Serving (1 knot)
Calories: 102
Total Fat: 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 13 grams
Sugars: 0 grams
Protein: 5 grams
Sodium: 263 milligrams
Cholesterol: 7 milligrams
Fiber: 1 gram
Crunchy Baked Onion Rings
Cooking spray
1 sleeve whole wheat saltine crackers (about 41 crackers)
1 tablespoon salt-free Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine crackers and seasoning in a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of the flour and black pepper in a separate bowl. Place remaining 1/2 cup of flour in a large freezer bag.

Cut onion crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Separate slices into rings, reserving the biggest rings (reserve the smaller pieces for another use). Add onion rings to the bag with the flour and shake to coat. Working in batches, dip the flour-coated onion rings into buttermilk mixture and then into cracker mixture. Arrange rings, in a single layer, on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, until onions are tender and coating is crisp and golden brown.

Serves 4

Nutrition Info Per Serving
Calories: 251
Total Fat: 4 grams
Saturated Fat: 1.6 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 46 grams
Sugars: 8 grams
Protein: 8 grams
Sodium: 575 milligrams
Cholesterol: 6 milligrams
Fiber: 2 grams

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Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of "Robin Takes 5" and “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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