If you were to take any number of nutritionists, doctors or physicians, they would tell you that healthy eating habits start young. The foods that we surround children with when they are growing help shape their ideas about health and nutrition as they age and begin to make diet choices for themselves.
Obesity in the United States is at an all-time high, affecting more than one in three Americans. In order to curb this trend, it’s important that you as a parent equip your child for health success.
One of the biggest threats to a child’s health is the prevalence of poor snack options that inundate their lives. From commercials featuring products loaded with refined sugars, to snack machines in their school, bad snacking is not only readily available, it’s often cheap and appealing to the taste buds. Instead, turn your children on to healthier snack options. These three recipes below, aimed at the younger crowd, will help build a foundation of healthy snacking that can be carried with them into their adulthood.
Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter and Fruit
Rice cakes, especially those made with brown rice, are simply just a great snack option for a child or an adult. One serving of rice cakes has only about 70 calories. Because of this, rice cakes make a great alternative to bread or the snack crackers that line the shelves of grocery stores. For the little guys, plain rice cakes can be a bit of a bland, bore, so consider dressing them up quite a bit. The recipe below is a personal favorite of my niece.
For a great rice cake snack that even the pickiest palates will enjoy take some peanut butter (almond butter if your youngsters have the taste for it) and spread it across the rice cake. From there, dress it up even further. Sliced kiwi is surprisingly tasty as are quartered tangerines. Other great toppings can include raisins, dried cranberries or thinly sliced apples. Low in cost and fat but great in tastes, you might even find yourself sneaking one or two while making these quick treats.
Supplying your child with all of the essential vitamins and nutrients, especially now during flu season, is very important. A body loaded with vitamin C, B and other great immune boosters will help combat those germs and bugs that are passed back in forth between children. A great way to make these fruits even more appealing is make them a bit more playful. Enter, the fruit kabob.
Wooden kabob sticks are inexpensive and can be purchased just about anywhere. If you are worried about the sharp ends, you may be able to find a package with dulled edges, but also, snipping off these prickly points with a pair of kitchen shears takes but a second and can also get the job done.
To begin, start with a selection of about five or six different fruits. When I was young, my mother used to use slices of pineapple, apple chunks, raspberries, blueberries and oranges. One by one, place these foods on the kabob until you have lined them up (I think the contrasting colors were half the reason these snacks stood out so much to me). Children are inherently tactile, so appealing to their affinity for finger food while supplying healthy options is great way to keep them happy and healthy.
Banana Roll Ups
Bananas are packed with vitamin A, iron and potassium. With the abundance of these vitamins and minerals, bananas are a great source of clean and steady energy. Combine that with a little peanut butter and a whole-grain tortilla and you’ve got a great snack on your hands,
To start making these roll ups, get a package of whole grain tortillas and some low fat (or sugar) peanut butter. Start by spreading a thin layer of peanut butter on the tortilla, this will act as the “glue” that will keep the banana in place. Next, take a banana (depending on the size you may need to cut it in half) and place it on one end of the peanut butter covered tortilla. Next, carefully roll the banana inside of the tortilla and press the exposed end to the outside, carefully sealing the banana inside. If you want to get creative you can slice of either end of the roll to make them a little bit cleaner, but it’s up to you.
Do you have any other great snack options that you use for your kids? Or perhaps you have a really great snack idea for adults? I’m always on the lookout for new great tasting and healthy snacks. Let me know below! I look forward to hearing what you have to say.