For healthy, active kids, three square meals a day are not enough to maintain their energy level. Constantly on the move, they need between-meal snacks that are nutritious, delicious and interesting. Although some children will eat anything their parents put in front of them, they seem to be the exception rather than the norm. With some creativity, parents can have their children eating nutritious vegetables, fruit and other foods that will stoke their energy-burning furnaces.
Sometimes all it takes is an interesting, kid-friendly presentation to get your kids to eat. Cookie cutters can take the blah out of a sandwich. Drops of natural food coloring (from a health food store) can turn an icky beige food into a bright tidbit just waiting to be gobbled up.
Smoothies can be made from almost any fruit, and they are the perfect places to add healthy ingredients for growing bodies. One delicious smoothie idea is to blend frozen strawberries, plain yogurt, a banana, orange juice and just enough honey for taste. Put this in a fancy glass or cup and add a colorful straw, and you have a treat your children will love. Substitute any frozen fruit or apple juice for variety.
Most fruit freezes well. Blend any fruit with orange juice, and pour it into muffin tins. Freeze them for three hours. Take them out of the freezer, and let them soften for five to 10 minutes before serving. Another idea is to put a flat stick (from a craft or cooking store) in a banana, then freeze it. Dip it in melted chocolate, and within seconds you will have a chocolate-covered banana pop. For children who like nuts, roll the chocolate-covered banana in crushed nuts for added nutrition.
Even the yuckiest vegetables can be made tasty with the right dip. Provide a snack tray filled with raw vegetables and a selection of dips (prepared salad dressings are great for this).
Something about a bite-size snack appeals to most of us, especially children. Create tiny cracker sandwiches by sliding healthy fillings between two whole-grain crackers. Some ideas include ham or turkey and cheese, tuna, peanut butter or a veggie cream cheese spread.
Bag the Snack
Snack- or sandwich-size bags are ideal for filling with a mixture of healthy nuts, dried fruits and dry cereal. Their portability makes them very convenient for travel.
Fun Personal Pizza
Anything can top a pizza. Start with a flour-tortilla "crust," and spread tomato sauce, peanut butter, cream cheese or anything else with a pastelike consistency. Top with whatever healthy foods your children like. One example is peanut butter and bananas. Cream cheese and olives or pieces of leftover chicken make a hit with some children.