Many of the snacks that kids enjoy eating have loads of sodium and added sugar in them. When these snacks become a regular part of their diets, serious health problems can develop later in life. High amounts of salt can lead to elevated blood pressure, heart disease, weakened bones, and kidney disease. Excessive sugar can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and high blood pressure.
Consuming too much sugar or salt can change the way that kids taste foods. Once they become used to the super salty or sweet flavors in processed foods, their taste buds get adjust to it. Naturally salty and sweet foods taste less flavorful and blander. They begin to crave calorie dense foods that are packed with added sugars and salt.
- Take steps to decrease the salt and sugar in your child’s diet through healthier snacks.
- Try fresh fruit, rather than a sweet snack like candy. Fruits are loaded with natural sugars that have the same sweet flavor, without the excessive amounts of sugar.
- Reduce salt intake by cutting out chips, highly processed/convenience foods, and read nutrition labels to check for sodium content.
Make snacking fun and invite your kids to help make these recipes. They are incredibly easy to put together and result in healthy and delicious snacks. Feel free to customize the recipes, switching in some of your kid’s favorites to make the snacks more unique. Or try to include more nutrients in the snacks by varying the fruits to add. For example, boost your antioxidant intake by adding blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries. Or simply use fruits of varying color, to get an array of nutrients and make your snack visually appealing.
Snacks like these are much healthier than their processed counterparts and contain plenty of nutrients to keep your kids fueled up and ready to go!
– Mix it up by introducing your child to seasonal fruits
– Greek or low fat
– Recipes below
- Yogurt bark
- Baked fruit chips
- Dehydrated fruit
- Fruit bites
– Cut up one frozen banana and sandwich two pieces together with nut butter or chocolate
- Oat muffins with fruit and nuts
- Snack bars
– Try KIND, Health Warrior, or RxBAR for a filling and nutritious snack
- Black bean brownies
- Chocolate tofu pudding
- Chia seed pudding topped with fruit
- Fruit slushies
- Apple slices with nut butter, seeds/nuts, and fruit
- Air popped popcorn
- Hummus and carrot sticks
- Vegetable chips
- Nuts and seeds
- Kashi 7 Grain Crackers or other whole grain crackers and nut butter
- Cheese stick
- Baked vegetable chips
- Pita, hummus, and cucumbers
- Open faced sandwich
– Take half of an English muffin and top it with nut butter and fruit. Or add ricotta cheese and strawberries for a unique snack.
- Multigrain nachos and dip
– Salsa, guacamole, or black bean dip
- Ants on a log
– Switch out the components of this traditional snack by using a different base, topping, or filling
– Base – Carrot, cucumber
– Topping – Tomatoes, nuts, seeds
These snacks are also super portable and can be brought outside for a fun picnic with the entire family. Wrap these treats up, throw them in a basket, and head out for a fun afternoon outdoors with the kids.
Fruit Salad (cookingclassy.com)
- Your favorite fruits, chopped into even portions
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tsp lime zest (zest of 2 medium limes)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Blueberry Peach Greek Yogurt Bowl (eatingbirdfood.com)
- 6 oz plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup blueberries
- 1 peach, chopped
- 3 tbsp granola
- 1 tsp cacao nibs
Healthy 5 Minute Berry Frozen Yogurt (gimmiedelicious.com)
- 2 cups frozen berries (feel free to mix it up with your favorite fruits)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (low-fat, fat-free, or Greek)
- 2 tablespoons honey (or your favorite sweetener alternative)
- 1 tsp lemon or vanilla (optional)
Easy Yogurt and Granola Breakfast Parfaits (completelydelicious.com)
- 1 cup granola
- 1 cup yogurt (low-fat or Greek)
- ¾ cup of your favorite fruits for layering
Homemade Raspberry Sorbet in 5 Minutes (biggerbolderbaking.com)
- 3 cups of frozen raspberries
- ¼ cup of fat-free condensed milk
- Combine in blender and mix until smooth. Then refrigerate for about four hours before serving.
Tavinun Vickyanont, Penn State Intern