Quick, Healthy, and Kid Friendly Snacks
"I'm hungry" "Can I have a snack" "When are we eating?" These are the regular rotation of questions I hear as a mom and wife.
I have a 10-year-old boy and he is always hungry. I must admit I have some jealousy that he can eat all the time and not gain any weight. Wouldn't it be awesome to eat 2 breakfasts and ice cream every single night without any consequences? We can thank the genes his ectomorph father gave him for this ability. While he is completely happy to eat junk food all the time, the health and nutrition coach in me knows he needs more nutritious options to stay healthy.
Snacking shouldn't be complicated. A couple of rules I try to keep in mind with snacks is:
Keep it simple! You really only need 1-3 ingredients in your snack. All moms are amazing and are different. Some moms (dads too) really enjoy and are good at making cute snacks and more power to them. However, if you aren't one of those moms (I'm not and am ok with it), don't add that kind of stress to your life. Your family will get the exact same nutrients if you serve the food looking like a butterfly or just dump it on a plate and give it to them.
Have snacks or the ingredients ready and available. By the time you are starving for a snack, it is most likely too late to start searching for healthy options. You will grab whatever is available and normally that doesn't lead to the best choices. Can we say "Hangry"?
Remember it's a snack and not a meal!!!! Your total daily snacking should only reach 350-400 calories in total. Split that amount by however many snacks you plan on having.
Now that we are spending more time at home due to Covid, I am making even more snacks for my husband and myself as well as my son. I have a quick go-to list of snacks and thought I'd share them here.
Frozen grapes - get a bag of grapes from the store or local farmers market (small plug for shopping local!), wash them, and freeze them. I use mason jars to store them. They are ready to grab anytime! Grapes don't always get all the recognition they deserve as a healthy snack. Here is an article sharing some of the benefits of grapes.
Baby carrots and hummus - I am all about making life easier, so I order the large bag of baby carrots from Costco. Then I take hummus and separate it into serving sizes so it's easy to grab and I don't "accidentally" eat the entire container at once. I found these small baby food containers on Amazon that work great.
Frozen banana slices with peanut butter (we call these Monkey Bites) - These are another make-ahead snack. I slice bananas and put them on a cookie sheet, then put a small amount of peanut butter (or any nut butter of your choice will work) on each slice. Leave them in the freezer for a couple of hours and then transfer them to a container. If I am feeling extra special, I will melt chocolate and drizzle it over them before freezing.
Shredded Chicken - This is my saving grace! I will either boil, cook, or grill chicken at the beginning of the week, shred/dice it, and then store it in a container. Then for a quick, lean snack, I can grab some chicken. I can also use it for other snacks such as chicken salad on crackers or a wrap.
Hard-Boiled Eggs - Do not underestimate the power of the hardboiled egg. It is low calorie and nutrient-dense with protein, B vitamins, zinc, calcium, and many others. It's a snack you can quickly grab. I highly recommend everyone keep some hard-boiled eggs ready in your fridge.
Pre-made Quinoa Bowls - I need to write an article on why quinoa is a magic food and should be part of every diet. Quinoa is easy to make and reheats great. My favorite combination to make is quinoa with roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, spinach, green onions, and some soy sauce (mental note to share this recipe). It tastes like fried rice and my kid can't get enough of it! I make a batch each week and he can easily reheat it for an afternoon snack. A quick note on this snack item, it would be very easy to overeat this making it a meal and not a snack. Make sure to measure out the amount you plan on eating. Also, I've noticed this is a very filling and energy-packed snack. I would recommend it if you know you will be stuck in a meeting, may have a longer wait time between meals, or need some extra energy for a workout or chasing kids!
Smoothie Bags - I put fruit and spinach in a bag and pop them into the freezer. Then I keep yogurt in the fridge. When it's snack time, I dump the frozen goodies and the yogurt into my Ninja blender and hello healthy snack!
Fresh Fruit - Fruit is a natural healthy snack that is full of vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. Oranges, bananas, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, apples, plums, and so many more fruits are easy to have ready to snack on.
I would love to hear what are some of your favorite snacks. Please comment below and share your favorite snack options!