As any parent knows, planning healthy snacks for children can be a struggle. This is especially true if you are raising a picky eater.
It can feel like you’re running a marathon in the search for healthy foods that choosy kids will actually eat. And forget about trying to artfully design these foods into appealing shapes, textures, and configurations. It can be a major project!
As a naturopathic doctor with a love of pediatrics and an organic eating, I am constantly searching for creative ways to get veggies, fruits, healthy fats, and proteins into children.
Read on for healthful ideas on how to get nutrient dense foods into your child while keeping a smile on their face.
Here are 13 of my favorite healthy snack options that will make your kids say yum:
1) Almond butter and apple slices. Can also use pear or other fruit. Cut pieces into shapes to keep ’em coming back for more!
2) Raw cocoa energy balls. 1 cup almonds, ¾ cup medjool dates, ¼ cup raw cocoa powder. Add into food processor or blender in multiple layers then blend and press into balls. Pure bliss!
3) Salmon pancakes. Gluten free mini pancakes (it’s quick and easy to find a g.f. pancake mix at the grocery store), topped with sliced avocado and smoked wild salmon. For more mature tastes, you can add wasabi mayo.
4) Ants on a log. Celery topped with almond butter and raisins. You can also use dried currants, cranberries, blueberries, or chopped dried apricots in the place of raisins. Also try guacamole or hummus instead of nut butter and top with finely minced tomatoes, spinach, or olives.
5) Edamame beans. Add Himalayan rock salt on top for an extra zap of flavour. Watch for soy allergy.
6) Veggies and dip in a cup. In a short transparent cup or glass, place tzatziki or hummous at the bottom. Stand brightly coloured veggies tall inside the cup. Kids will love the look of it!
7) Raw cultured yogurt. Plain is best but you can add a dash of honey, coconut syrup, or some fruit to sweeten the deal.
8) Smoothies – the options are endless! Add spinach, chard, or kale to fruit smoothies to get more leafy greens into those wee picky peeps.
9) Popsicles made from smoothies. Can sneak in all kinds of wonderful nutrient packed foods (hint: kale!) this way. Green popsicle? Call it the Green Monster and they’ll beg you to make more!
10) Cheesy kale chips. Tear kale into 1 to 2 inch pieces and combine in a bowl with olive oil, salt, nutritional yeast, and ground cashews. Spread on a baking sheet and pop into the oven at 250 degrees F for 40 mins. Check on them periodically, bake until crisp.
11) Pin wheel wraps: spread almond butter or hummus on a rice/corn/or wheat tortilla. Roll up tightly and slice into sections. Can add banana or finely chopped veggies if you like.
12) Seaweed snacks. You can tear nori sheets/wraps into small pieces and add to a mix of dried fruit or nuts for an iodine-rich trailmix.
13) Granola fruit bars. There are many recipes out there but my favourite recipe is called
Popeye Fruit and Protein Bars by Shirley Braden at Gluten Free Easily. They are similar to a Larabar but homemade and very delish!
Which snacks are a favourite at your house? Please let me know in the comments section below. Happy snacking!
Dr. Hilary Trojano
Summit Holistic Medicine