Nutritious snacks are important for growing children, but at some point we’ve all chosen pre-packaged options over homemade snacks. Lives are hectic, a lot of snacking happens on a go and it is just easier sometimes to take out a bag of crackers or open a pouch with pureed fruit. And although many prepackaged snacks are not horrible nutritionally and nothing beats their convenience, I am a big proponent of a traditional sit-down homemade snack at a set time.
Enjoying a homemade snacks at a table is a more satisfying experience than munching on cookies in a stroller or while doing home work. If you include at least two foods groups, you will also increase the satiety factor, which means that there will be less begging for food 30 minutes before dinner. Besides, homemade snacks give us a great opportunity to “sneak in” more vegetables, whole grains, legumes, or fruit–foods that many kids don’t get enough of.
If you involve your children in making these easy snacks they will be more likely to try what they’ve made. And they will learn the invaluable survival skill – preparing a meal from scratch – an almost lost art in our modern society.
More ideas for homemade snacks:
Caesar Salad Boats
- 2-3 romaine lettuce leaves
- 3 cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 tablespoon of “clean” Caesar dressing, like Simply Organic
- 3 whole grain crackers, crumbled
- ⅓ English cucumber, diced
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Place the lettuce leaves on a plate. Add the cucumbers and tomatoes into the groove of the leaf.
2. Drizzle with the dressing and top the leaves with fresh parmesan and crumbled crackers. Enjoy!
- 1 whole wheat (or whole grain) tortilla
- 2 tablespoons of edamame hummus (can be substituted with regular hummus)
- ¼ cup of canned white beans, smashed
- Olive oil to drizzle
1. Spread the hummus onto the tortilla. Be careful not to tear it.
2. Place the mashed beans towards one end of the tortilla. Drizzle with a little olive oil, then roll the tortilla up like a burrito. Using a serrated knife, slice the tortilla into wheels and enjoy!
The Waldorf on a Stick
- 4 stalks of celery, washed and trimmed
- 2 tablespoons of low-fat whipped cream cheese
- ¼ apple, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon toasted and chopped pecans
1. Fill the center of the celery with the cream cheese.
2. Top with the toasted pecans and apple slices. Enjoy!
This post and recipes were contributed by Lauren Maddahi, a dietetic intern from Teachers College, Columbia University.