Give me a good ‘ol box of macaroni and cheese any day, but I like to try and rotate in healthy food when I can. Food here has kind of been a roller coaster ride that I’m still figuring out. It’s so easy to just hand my kids junk and then they ask for more and more, which makes it harder to feed them good stuff. So, below are 10 easy and healthy snacks I keep around for little kids! I’ve also written how I can tell if they are actually hungry…a lifesaver mom hack.
Why letting your kid snack on junk all day is actually making it harder to feed them healthy food.
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The more I let my littles snack, the less they eat their big meals. And, the more sweet treats I offer, the less they “like” things like fruit, which should taste great! So, in general, my goal is to have just one sweet treat a day, one snack before lunch and again after naps, and water between meals.
Do I do this in real life? No. I often cave and give them what’s easy rather than healthy. Or I let them snack all day and we never actually sit down for a meal. But, I’m working on it. And I’ve gotten to the point where I’m ok with telling them to wait. I say, “It’s not time for a snack yet”.
Also, if any of you are artsy, you can send me a painting that says, “kitchen’s closed” 😉
How I can tell if they are really hungry or thirsty.
One thing that really annoys me in our home is hearing “I’m hungry. I’m thirty” like Alllllll day…(especially right before bed or when they are bored). I used to be so worried they were actually going to fizzle away, or not sleep or something so we would cater to it a lot.
Now, out of absolute necessity (or else I’d be on snack duty all day), I can check if they are really thirsty or hungry pretty easily. I say, “Here’s some water”. Surprise they didn’t want water, just milk… Ok, kid, mom’s not worried anymore. Similarly, I say, ” Here’s an egg.” Surprise they just wanted the peanut butter pretzels. Ok, mom’s not worried anymore.
10 easy and healthy snacks I keep around for the kids
1. Hard Boiled Eggs or Cottage Cheese
I’ll do a dozen at a time. We often have one for lunch or a snack almost every day. Unlike carbs, they will only eat an egg if they are truly hungry so this is a good test for how hungry they are. I put them in the cold water, turn the stove to high, and as soon as it starts boiling I turn the burner off and let the pot sit on the burner for 10 more minutes. This uses less electricity and still cooks them perfectly. I find they peel easier if after that I dump out the hot water and soak in super cold water.
They love cottage cheese. Peter adds honey for them. I add pepper. So different but it’s high in protein and well, not another bag of crackers so thats my goal.
2. Bananas or sliced fruit
We always run out, but if they have one a day it’s a healthy, dependable snack packed with vitamins and fiber.
Side tip: I find apple bites and banans unfinished a lot. We don’t throw away any fruit here because all of those little pieces they don’t finish go in a freezer bag. And when it’s a bit fuller we make a smoothie.
3. Greek yogurt
I buy full fat because we are a full-fat kind of family! We either get vanilla or plain and add jam. It’s easy to control the amount of sugar that way. I’ve also bought reusable pouches (they look like those applesauce pouches at the store), and then fill them with yogurt for outings or easy eating at home. Plus, their not too bad to clean out and have screw caps.
4. Rice Cakes
5. Candied Pecans
Lets be real, these are like candy coated nuts and they taste AMAZING! I figure, they are getting a ton of nut in proportion to sugar, soooo…justified right? Make your own here in 10 minutes with just pecans, cream, and brown sugar!
6. Leftover oatmeal or pancakes
We make oatmeal and pancakes a lot, and if they don’t finish it I’ll leave it on the table and that is what they go back to till its gone. And they always hop back up and nibble it down mid morning.
7. Oatmeal squares
Sometimes I just gotta send a bag of something outside, close the door, and let them snack while they play outside. These are a tad sweet, but give them some whole grain and are a sure win. These are also great for the car and park and diaper bag. These snack containers make it easy to carry around. We love them for the car.
8. Smoothie of any combo fruits we have
If there is one way I can get fruits and veggies down them, it’s in liquid form. In general I’ll try for one cup of fruit, a half a cup veggies (usually spinach), one cup of water, a handful of ice, and wa-la! I use our refurbished Blendtech (saves $100!), and it’s awesome. You can see my Blendtech review, along with a smoothie recipe. Fruit that is on the verge in our house just goes into the freezer for smoothies. We use this thermos which has a straw, is vacuum sealed, and keeps things cold for up to 10 hours!
9. Peanut Butter
Sometimes on a spoon. Sometimes in celery (one of my kids just won’t eat the celery without a fight…) On apples, and bananas. It’s such a healthy snack and gives them some protein. I try and buy healthier brands with no hydrogenated oils and fewer additives, although they are more expensive.
Pic’s Peanut Butter recently sent me theirs to try free of charge and my kids (and mama) REALLY liked it. It’s gluten-free, sugar-free, gently salted with Kiwi salt, and contains 25% more good fats than non-Hi-Oleic brands. I had to stir it though as it separates in the glass jar.
Now I’m curious to know what you love for healthy snacks (and not so healthy too!). Leave a comment and share some tips with me! And, just so you know I’m a normal person who also has processed foods around, cause well, it’s just easy. So no judgment here, but hopefully this inspires you to add a few healthier options to the list of things you like to offer!