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10 Healthy Snacks for Kids (and adults)

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Kids love to snack! Unfortunately, what many kids consider snacks are often loaded with sugar, fat and salt, so concerned parents often discourage snacking. The real question however, should not be how often kids snack, but what they are snacking on. In fact, studies have shown that kids who snack between meals are usually slimmer and better nourished than those who are restricted from doing so.

Snacks can and should be healthy. They should offer your child the same good nutrition as the regular meals you serve. Snacks should not be an excuse to eat poorly, rather, think of snacking as the perfect opportunity to put additional nutrition into your child’s diet.

The best bet for healthy snacks are fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products (such as milk, yogurt and low-fat cheese) and whole grains, nuts and seeds.

You’ll notice many of these are fruit oriented…which is my personal way of not offending the cheese hating from my own kid, but at the same time touching what others may like as well.

1. Mini “Pizzas”

America’s favorite snack doesn’t have to be made from junk food if made from nutritious ingredients. Make these with whole grain crackers, (wheat or rye) your favorite pizza sauce and grated low-fat mozzarella cheese. Spread about one-half to one Tablespoon of pizza sauce on each cracker. Sprinkle with cheese and add Italian seasoning if desired. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350° for about 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

2. Orange Shake

Place one cup of orange juice, one cup of ice cubes and 1/3 cup non-fat dry milk powder in a blender. Blend until smooth. (serves one)

3. Frozen Bananas

Peel bananas and cut in half crosswise. Insert wooden popsicle sticks. Freeze banana plain or roll in chopped nuts or carob sprinkles. Wrap banana in plastic wrap or small plastic bags . Freeze until firm.

4. Quesadilla Quickie

Place a small corn tortilla in a frying pan. Sprinkle a little grated jack or cheddar cheese on one half of the tortilla and your choices of chopped onions, tomatoes, chilis or salsa on the other. Heat until cheese melts, then fold and eat!

5. Peach Yogurt

Drain a 16 ounce can of unsweetened sliced peaches and spread fruit on a cookie sheet. Freeze until hard (about 2 hours). Put peaches in a blender with one cup of plain yogurt. Blend until smooth and eat at once. (serves 2)

6. Frozen Yogurt Squares

Mix 2 cups of fruit yogurt with one cup of cut up fruit and 2/3 cup of non-fat dry milk powder in a blender until smooth. Stir in 1- 1/2 cups of unsweetened granola or Grape Nuts cereal. Pour mixture into an 8″ square pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup more granola or cereal, pressing in. Freeze until firm (about 4 hours), then cut into squares and serve.

7. Pita Melts

Cut whole wheat pita bread rounds into halves and stuff with (low-fat) grated cheese. Heat in oven at 350° for about 3-5 minutes.

8. Sardine Snacks

Yeah, that’s right we all beat down sardines with words but they are pretty healthy for you. Sardines are loaded with protein and omega 3 fish oils, as well as high calcium, vitamin D and iron . Top whole grain bread or crackers with a sardine or two.

9. No Fat-No Salt Nacho Chips

Cut four 6″ corn tortillas into eighths. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake at 400°  about 7-8 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and dip into salsa or top with grated cheese.

10. Banana-OJ Slush

Place one cup ice cubes, 1/2 cup banana and 1/2 cup orange juice. Blend until smooth.

Our top snacks around here seem to lean more towards the fresh fruits rather than vegetables and cheese. Which don’t get me wrong, vegetables, steamed or cooked any other way go over quite well nowadays, but if you have a picky eater in your home that dislikes cheese, then my top 10 list will will leave you partially, if not fully satisfied…and don’t you forget it!



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