Kid Friendly Snacks

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Mommy, I'm hungry!" Children will eat as much as they need throughout the day, and most of the time, they need three meals and two snacks. Children also need and LOVE routines when it comes to eating. They need regularly scheduled meal and snack times, and when this is the case, they have better appetites. So I have been focusing this blog around meals, now I would like to take a little time to talk about snacks.
Daniel and I belong to a lot of playgroups. I have noticed that more often than not, the snacks served at the playgroups are highly processed and very high in sugar - for example, fruit snacks, the packaged rice crispy treats, cookies, etc. One other thing that has floored me, is that every time I have hosted a playgroup in my home, I have always provided fresh veggies and dip, and they are never touched. Not even by the moms! When I am in charge of snack for a playgroup, I try to bring whole foods, and I make sure that Daniel gets healthy and delicious snacks at home. Here are some of my favorite snack ideas:

  • Fresh fruit - kids tend to really love fruit. Sometimes I make "fruit kebabs" where I place two or three different kinds of fruit on mini wooden skewers. I use whatever I have on had, bananas, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, you name it!
  • Cheese Sticks - Sargento makes string cheese, Colby jack cheese sticks, even pepper jack cheese sticks. Daniel LOVES cheese. These are also really easy to take with you.
  • Edamame - Edamame is a tasty little treat that is fun to eat! You can usually buy it frozen but sometimes you can find it fresh too. It packs a powerful punch of protein and fiber. Just remember to remove the soybeans from the pods because the pods are not edible!
  • Raw veggies and dip- I have found that Daniel will eat anything he can dip. His favorite are mini sweet peppers, he also likes cucumbers, carrots (these should be cooked until the age of 3 to prevent choking), and broccoli (also should be cooked until the age of 3).
  • Frozen peas or corn- I know this sounds odd, but my brother, who is 26 still eats frozen peas and corn as a snack, right out of the freezer. My brother also will pull other types of frozen fruit and veggies and eat it. He has been doing it since he was old enough to get into the freezer himself. Daniel also loves this as a snack, we call it "freezer treats." It is especially good for infants and toddlers who are getting teeth because it soothes aching gums.
  • Peanut butter and banana burrito- Just spread peanut butter on a flour tortilla (I like to use whole wheat tortillas) and top with bananas, then roll up. You can also cut them into bite sized pinwheels.
  • Apples with Peanut Butter Dip
  • Yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit- Daniel LOVES yogurt and cottage cheese. I usually will cut up some fruit and mix it with the yogurt or cottage cheese, like pineapple, strawberries, melon, mango, or bananas.
  • Clementines- These are called the "Little Zipper Fruit" because they are small and easy to peel. Daniel is totally a fan of these. They are also great cause they're so portable and they're seedless!
  • Snack Mix- I like to take a snack sized ziplock bag and fill it with a mix of dried fruit pieces, Cheerios (regular old Cheerios, without any added flavoring or sugar), and either cheese flavored Annie's Bunnies or Goldfish Crackers (these are great because they are all natural and now whole grain!)
  • Smoothie Pops- I got this idea from my friend Traci who is a fellow Foodie Mommy. Basically all you do is make a smoothie in your blender using any kind of frozen fruit you like (I buy a frozen fruit blend at Sam's that Dole makes, it is all natural with no added sugar) and then you add that with 1 cup milk and 1 cup yogurt and then blend until smooth. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze overnight. Smoothies themselves are also great snacks too!

  • Zucchini, Carrot and Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins - This one is my personal favorite and I will provide you with the recipe. This is the snack I bring to most of my playgroups when it is my turn. As many of you know, I like to "hide" vegetables in my food. To be honest, I am not truly hiding the vegetables as my family knows they are in there. Also, I am not substituting the hidden vegetables for serving vegetables with the meal, it is just a little something extra. I am not a huge fan of being dishonest about hidden ingredients, I feel it is important for kids to be exposed to all sorts of colorful produce. I just happen to feel that if I can boost my family's vegetable intake that much more, it is even better. So anyway, these muffins are basically chocolate chip muffins with a little something extra. You can always substitute the chocolate chips for raisins or other dried fruit and nuts if you like. This recipe makes about 84 muffins, give or take, and they freeze beautifully in an airtight container.
    • 3 cups flour (I use half all purpose, half whole wheat)
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 cup honey
    • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
    • 1 cup oil (I use vegetable oil)
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 cup finely grated zucchini
    • 1 cup finely grated carrot
    • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, raisins, other dried fruit, or nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat mini muffin tins with cooking spray or line with mini muffin liners.
In a small bowl, mix together first four ingredients and set aside. In another bowl add honey, eggs, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until combined. Add the vegetable oil and continue beating until blended. Stir in the zucchini and carrots and beat to blend. Stir in the dry ingredients a little at a time until all is incorporated. Add the mini chocolate chips (or whatever additional fruit or nuts) and mix well.
Fill muffin cups to about 3/4 full. Be careful not to overfill the cups as the muffins will rise too high and stick to the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until muffins are light brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

If you have any ideas about snacks out there, I would LOVE to hear them!

Until next time, Happy Cooking!


Andrea said...

Mom's passing up fresh veggies?? I'm shocked! I'm thankful our 5 year old loves most all veggies (I'm lucky she'll even eat them w/o dip like me).

Your Zucchini, Carrot and Chocolate Chip recipe sounds amazing! I'm going to give this a try - even have all the ingredients!

frenchieliza said...

I know, I couldn't believe it either! We eat veggies without dip too, but when I have it on hand, he thinks it is fun! Yes, do try the muffins and let me know how you like them!

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