Healthy Snacks the Kids Will Actually Eat

Healthy Snacks the Kids Will Actually EatWhen he was a baby my son, Sean, was a great eater.  He would eat anything, at every meal, as scheduled.  It was easy.  It was great.  Then, one day, he woke up as a toddler and refused to eat anything.  The healthy foods that he once devoured sat on his plate untouched.  He went through phases where he would only eat certain foods, many of them less than healthy.  I was nervous that he wasn’t getting the nutrients he needs, I felt guilty for giving in to his dietary demands, but most of all I was extremely frustrated.  What is a mom to do?  I couldn’t force feed him foods he wouldn’t eat, but I also didn’t want to keep giving him foods that lacked any nutritional value.  I’m sure I’m not the only mom who has fought this battle.

Now he is almost five and my daughter, Sarah, is sharing his picky tastes.  Are they ganging up on me?  I think so.  Luckily, I am smarter than I was back then and more willing to compromise by letting them choose from a few different healthy options.  This allows them to assert their preferences while still getting them to eat some nutrient-rich foods.

Here are a few of my kids’ favorites:

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  1. “Eggie” Sandwiches.  Sean loves egg sandwiches with 2 eggs and a slice of lean ham between two pieces of toasted whole wheat bread.  This is packed with nutrients including about 13g protein, whole grains, B Vitamins, and Iron.
  2. Smoothies.  Blend 1% milk with frozen fruit and serve
    with a straw. Sometimes we call these milkshakes, sometimes they are smoothies, but they are always delicious.  And they pack Vitamins D, A, and C, as well as protein and fiber. (Tip: Freeze them to make popsicles!)
  3. Applesauce Pouches.  Sarah loves the applesauce squeeze pouches.  They come in all sorts of flavors with nothing added and boast a ton of Vitamin C.
  4. Peanut Butter Banana.  This is Sean’s favorite.  Spread natural peanut butter along a peeled banana, cut it up, and serve.  He loves it because it tastes great and fills his belly.   I love it because I know he is getting Potassium, Vitamin E, fiber, and Magnesium.
  5. Baby Carrots and cucumbers.  I have no idea why the kids apple-1051018_1920love to crunch on these but they are super easy to serve and healthy, so I don’t argue.
  6. Homemade Trail Mix.  The kids have so much fun making their own trail mix.  We put out bowls with lite popcorn, almonds, peanuts, whole grain pretzels, raisins, and rice chex.  Though not the healthiest food on this list, this mix is dense with magnesium, fiber, Vitamins, and Iron.
  7. Cheese Sticks.  We choose the low fat versions.  Cheese sticks are our go-to when the kids are being super picky.  They are high protein and low in saturated fat, while offering Vitamin D and Calcium.  Wrap them in some deli meat for even more belly-filling protein!
  8. Apples with raisins.  This snack is similar to the “Ants on a Log”, but apples are dense in fiber and antioxidants, plus they taste better so this one of our favorites!  (Luckily we live in Upstate NY, which grows delicious apples locally!)
  9. Meatballs and sauce.  There is something about little, round, red balls of meat that are extremely appealing to my kids.  Maybe it is the fact that they are bite-sized or the sauce.  But when served under a natural spaghetti sauce, meatballs provide protein, Iron, Zinc, and antioxidants.
  10. blueberries-531209_1920Greek Yogurt.  Sarah likes Raspberry.  Not blueberry, or peach, or plain, or anything else.  I don’t mind because as long as she eats it, she is getting about 10g of protein, Calcium, and Vitamin D in one sitting.
  11. Oatmeal with Chia Seeds and Cinnamon (and a touch of Maple Syrup) – OK, yes I know.  Maple Syrup is not a health food, but hear me out.  This sack is a nutrient powerhouse with whole grains, fiber calcium, potassium, antioxidants, and Omega 3 fatty acids!  The syrup provides even more  antioxidants and just enough sweetness to get it all down.

These are the top healthy foods that my kids love to eat.  Of background-2277_1920course, I always offer the foods that I am eating for dinner, but most times these foods are too much for their picky, little palettes so we compromise.  No more arguments.  No more battles.  After all, it is just food and with these selections I know that my kiddos are getting what they need.

When we want to keep it small and simple, we usually reach for a clementine, apple, berries, or milk.  What are your favorite kid-friendly, healthy foods?

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