Healthy Snacks That Make Kids (and Moms) Smile
Note from Smiles Dental: This post is written by guest blogger and Smiles Dental mom, Monique Tindall. She hopes that by sharing her personal dental stories, other parents understand the importance of dental health for their kids. Her articles take a look at the humorous side of teeth brushing and dentist visits. Thanks for reading! As a working mom of three kids, having healthy, quick after school snacks can be a challenge. Especially when you need to have things that are quick to grab so you can run out the door to soccer practice, dance lessons or martial arts. Most “on-the-go” snacks are full of sugars and refined carbohydrates which are not healthy for your body nor your teeth. Here are a few of our family’s “go to” snacks that are tasty, quick to prepare and healthy! Dried apples (or other fruit) and nuts are healthy while being quick and easy. My kids love apples but sometimes dealing with the core when we are in the car is a hassle. So we found dried apples and other dried fruit are a great solution. Check these out at Trader Joe’s – my kids love the rings Cut veggies and dip or peanut butter – right when I get home from shopping I cut up some veggies and put them in a container so they are ready to go like cucumbers, carrots and zucchini. I also buy baby carrots and cherry tomatoes. Add some dip, hummus or peanut butter and my kids think it is a treat. Basically if you can put peanut butter on it my kids are fans. We love Justin’s Nut Butter Packets for on the go – the kids will squeeze them right out of the package, which is awesome! Yogurt and apple sauce packets are another quick snack fix. Choose healthy brands with low or no sugar. The packaging is what it sells it to my kids. If you can squeeze it from the package to your mouth – we have a winner! Another favorite around our home is jerky. My kids love jerky. Often we will make it ourselves with flank steak or round steak. Costco has some great healthy options including pork and turkey jerky. If you want to try to make your own – here is one of our favorite jerky recipes. This may surprise you, but my kids love kale chips! I was making some for myself when my daughter had some of her friends over. They all wanted to try them and loved them! Kale is so healthy for you and turning it into chips makes most kids willing to try them. There are tons of recipes available online and they are super simple to make. My 12 and 14 year old kids both make kale chips now. You can spice them up with garlic, taco seasonings or even ranch dressing mix. The other healthy item we always have ready to go is water. We have a water cooler at our house for instant cold or hot water. We have one that has a filter so you just pour water in the top and you are ready to go. We go through about two gallons of water every day in our household of five. Water is so good for your body and your teeth. You can add a little lemon juice for flavor or there are many healthy, low sugar flavorings you can add to your water bottle. Finally, if you are like us sometimes you leave the house at 5:00 and you are not back home until 7:30 or 8:00. On these nights we have “Snacker” before we leave. This is more than a snack but not quite a full dinner. We tend to have things liked already cooked chicken, tortillas and cheese for a quick quesadilla and some Odwalla “Green Drink” (more readily known as Super Food). Whole grain English muffins, some pasta sauce, cheese and peperoni in the toaster oven and you’ve got quick personal pizzas. A can of healthy soup or chili is a quick fix. We always have salad items cut and ready to go to be added to any Snacker main dish. I hope these ideas inspire you to find things that are healthy and your kids will love. Think about your child and what gets them excited about healthy foods – be creative and smile.