I am passionate about giving my family the best of what I can, and that also goes for food. For me, the best means finding the most natural and organic foods that I can that pack the most nutritional punch for their price! It also means being prepared, whether I’m on-the-go, out and about, or at work. I do this by preparing healthy snacks ahead of time, usually on Sundays. I wash and cut veggies and fruits and bag healthy-sized portions of cereals, crackers, and other healthy snacks for my little ones. I am never without my “supply”, therefore, find it easy to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Below, I have outlined some different snacks that I use for my children, some of my own lunch ideas, and some of my favorite websites to help with meal-planning in a healthy way. I hope you can benefit from my research and experience. From what I know, a healthy family is a happy family!
HEALTHY KIDS’ SNACKS
Here are some examples of what I give (or have tried to give) to my kids (ages 2 & 4)
- peeled and sliced apples (or any fruit, for that matter) with cinnamon and yogurt for dipping
- peeled and sliced sweet potato slices
- veggie straws (I like Trader Joes’ brand or Sensible Portions from Costco)
- Archer Farms brand blue tortilla and flax seed organic chips
- Clif Kidz bar (my daughter likes the chocolate brownie kind)
- Annie’s Homegrown snack packs (organic, all-natural; comes in chocolate, chocolate chip, cheddar or honey graham bunnies)
- Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Goldfish (NOT the colored ones…these are not made with whole grains)
- Devin’s Freezie Smoothie
- Healthy chocolate chip cookie
- Kashi TLC cereal bars
- dry Kashi Heart to Heart cereal or Trader Joes’ High Fiber Organic Oh’s
- Happy Tot organic fruit, veggie & supergrain pouches
- Stonyfield or Trader Joes organic French Vanilla yogurt with fruit
- Happy Face sandwiches
- Butternut Squash mac & cheese- for this, I actually just make a box of Annie’s Homegrown Organic mac & cheese according to the instructions, making sure to add just a bit more milk than the recipe calls for. Next, I add some of my butternut squash puree that I always have on hand…I add about 4 tbsp. or more to an entire box of prepared mac & cheese, but you may want to start with 2 tbsp. to make sure that your kids will still like the texture. I tend to add a little bit of water to my squash when I am pureeing it so that it comes out in a very creamy consistency. Also, make sure that you completely mix all of the ingredients to make the mac & cheese (milk, butter & cheese with cooked macaroni) BEFORE you add the squash puree. Finally, mix until puree is not visible. Serve with sliced strawberries (or other fruit) and enjoy!
- Soy corndogs from Trader Joes, veggie straws and all-natural applesauce (if I serve ketchup, I make sure to serve up one with NO high fructose corn syrup, like Hun’ts all natural)
- Quesadillas- using a whole wheat tortilla and an all-natural cheese, I just roll up the cheese in the tortilla. You could also grill this in a pan with a little non-stick olive oil spray.
- Whole wheat pasta w/veggie sauce- I boil pasta according to directions (we use Penne or Rotini usually), then add a spaghetti sauce to which I have added about a cup of squash puree. I just mix it all together in a big pan and serve. Sometimes, I will boil turkey sausage and slice it up and simmer with the sauce a bit if I want the pasta to be a bit heartier. This is a great meal to freeze as well.
- Yummy brand chicken nuggets from Costco. Now, I know that a chicken nugget is naturally not the first food that comes to your head when you think “healthy”. However, I have found that in the way of chicken nuggets, this brand, by far, outdoes the other commercially available brands. It is made with real white meat chicken and the breading has all natural ingredients, including flaxmeal seed! Nice!
- Kids in the Kitchen- article about how your little ones can help you in the kitchen!
- Produce for Kids- lots of links on everything from how to make holiday food fun and nutritious to how to make your family’s meals healthier
- Healthy Dining Finder- helps you find healthy menu options for the whole family in restaurants near where you live
- Fruits and Veggies More Matters- fun activities to help kids learn about fruit and veggie nutrition
- Choose my Plate- a government-sponsored website, focused around the new nutrition initiative of My Plate. Show you how your kids’ good nutrition habits can lead to more success for them. Lots of information and fun activities for kids!
- Interactive Nutrition Games for Kids- list of links to interactive online nutrition games for kids