Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fun Snack Ideas

Healthy and fun snacks make each day go more smoothly. Most children need smaller meals along with snacks throughout the day to keep them going and growing strong. Getting creative makes it more appealing and encourages eating well. Here are a few tried and true ideas for you.

Fruit and Cheese Kabobs

This healthy and delicious treat is a fun project to do with children. They can help select fruits and cut cheese shapes. Then pick what they want on their kabob. When children participate in making their own snacks or meals they will eat better. Visit your local farmer's market for local fruits or cheeses - this makes a great outing with the children. As an alternative choose some veggies to skewer and make a veggie / cheese kabob.

Carrots and Dip
Baby carrots are not only nutritious and delicious but are very attractive to children. Pair carrots with dips that add to the fun and encourage eating. Hummus or a veggie dip are great to offer with carrots. Put it all in a fun package and you've got even the fussiest eater enjoying a healthy snack.
Mini Pizzas
Letting children create their own mini pizzas are not only a fun snack or light meal but by preselecting ingredient options they can make choices that are good for them. I like to use an English Muffin as the base. Alternatively you make use French bread or another firm textured bread. Making your own pizza dough is also a fun addition, but you do need to plan ahead for that as it adds time to the whole process. Toppings can include pizza sauce, veggies, mushrooms, cheeses and selected meats. Bake in the oven until cheese is melted and turning golden brown. I often would put the English muffin in the toaster then top and then into the oven to keep a crunchier crust. If you are making your own dough you can bake the crust for a few minutes before topping to get more crunch.

Trail Mix or Gorp
A favorite snack for most children and adults is trail mix or gorp. There are so many options here for mixing and matching ingredients. Typically a base of cereal, cracker or popcorn is the mainstay of any recipe. Then adding in dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, pretzels, mini-marshmallows and more make each batch fun. Placing the mix into interesting containers for eating can also add to the experience. Try using the cone for ice cream, or put into clean (new) flower pots, or what about using a plastic pail and shovel for a beach theme. We've also enjoyed serving in a fish bowl which we added plenty of goldfish crackers (the rainbow kind a bright and interesting) and once we had a construction party where we served the mix in a toy dump truck. We'd love to hear about your inventive serving options and recipes!

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