My 2 year old loves snack time. I love snack time too, especially while I’m nursing a baby! I try to keep a variety of healthy, quick snacks on hand at home so that it’s easy for us to make smart snack time choices throughout the week. Being on the go a lot can definitely make it more challenging to choose healthy snacks. Here are a few simple smart snack ideas for ways to help your kids eat healthily whether you’re at home or out and about!
Don’t Keep Junk Food On Hand
I’ve found that snacking on things like salty, crunchy chips and crackers makes it more difficult to get my son to eat fresh vegetables and meats at lunch or dinner time. However if his snack options are fruits, veggies, and protein-packed foods he does much better eating healthy foods on his own at dinner time. By choosing to primarily offer fresh, nutrient rich foods as snacks I am hoping to develop a taste for fresh, healthy foods in my children so that as they become more independent they will make healthy eating choices on their own. This isn’t to say we NEVER eat chips or enjoy an Oreo cookie, but I choose not to keep those things readily on hand as daily snack options. I do think it has worked for us. Broccoli, cucumbers and bell peppers are my son’s current favorite snacks of choice!
Prep Fresh & Healthy Snacks At The Beginning Of The Week
Part of the problem I run into with making good snack choices is that if something healthy isn’t quick and ready to eat I’ll revert to grabbing the pre-packaged chips or cookie snacks when we are hungry because they are “instant” and ready to eat! To solve that problem I like to take a little time at the beginning of the week or after a big grocery shopping trip to do some healthy snack prep which will make grabbing a healthy snack later on fast and easy. Prep healthy snacks with a few simple tips.
- Wash, peel and cut fresh veggies and fruits into ready-to-eat sized pieces. Store in appropriate containers in the fridge. Squeeze lemon juice over fruits (such as apple slices) to keep them fresh.
- Cut up a block of cheese into ready-to-snack cubes or slices. Or just keep packaged string cheese on hand!
- Boil a bunch of eggs (and you could even peel them) to store on hand for a quick protein snack.
- Mix up some healthy granola or trail mix and portion out into reusable cloth snack bags ready to grab and go!
- Cook a batch of Quinoa (or rice, couscous, etc.). It can be quickly re-warmed or eaten cold. My son loves Quinoa with olive oil and sea salt for snack.
- Make a batch of healthy muffins or these Kid-Friendly Cottage Cheese Pancakes to store in the fridge or freezer and re-warm for a protein-packed snack. Healthy muffins are a favorite for my son!
Jewel print cloth snack bags from Revelae Kids make it easy to take healthy snacks on the go.
Something I’ve recently started doing is making “snack trays” out of items I prepped. Snack trays are awesome to grab for on-the-go snacks or even light meals. The First Years makes these super handy and inexpensive Take n’ Toss Double Duty Plates that double as lids. These are prefect for on-the-go smart snack or to bring along a healthy lunch!
The plates have 2 larger sections for different foods and a spot in the middle for holding a utensil (or you can do like I have and fill that with dip for dunking your healthy snacks). These plates are very convenient for throwing in a cooler or diaper bag. They wash easily in the dishwasher and the lids stay on tight. You can easily find these Double Duty Plates at Walmart.
Make Protein-Packed Fruit & Veggie Dips
Kids love dipping things! Make fresh, nutrient rich vegetables and fruits more fun and appealing for kids by giving them something healthy and delicious to dip them in. It’s always a good idea to pair protein with carbs to help your body’s blood sugar level stay balanced. This is why I like to give protein packed dips for my son to dip fruits, veggies and whole wheat crackers in. I love mixing a little honey and a splash of vanilla into plain whole milk Greek yogurt for a yummy healthy fruit dip that is also low sugar. This homemade ranch dip make with Greek yogurt is also delicious (and loaded with protein, calcium and healthy fats) for dipping veggies and whole grain crackers.
I received this neat Inside Scoop Dip Plate from The First Years which is perfect for healthy dip snacking! The plate has a removable outer rim that helps little ones learn to use a utensil to scoop up their food and also features an inner “bowl” for holding dips. I love the suction cups on the bottom that hold the plate securely to any flat surface. I definitely recommend this plate for kids who are learning to self-feed!
Dehydrate Fruit & Veggies For On-The-Go Snacks
Dried fruits and veggies are perfect for on-the-go healthy snacks. See our recent post 10 Reasons You Should Dehydrate Foods to find out why these are such a great snack idea! Even if you don’t have a dehydrator you can buy dehydrated foods or dehydrate fresh food in your oven! Portion out into snack bags or add to your Take N’ Toss snack packs and you have a healthy, convenient ready to grab snack.
Choose Healthy Hydration
If you give a toddler a snack he’s going to ask for a drink to go with it. Instead of sugar loaded fruit juices opt for good old H2O. Give it some flavor by making your own fruit infused water!
To keep my toddler hydrated when we are out and about I am loving using these Stack-able Sippy Cups from First Years. My son loves the adorable dino designs on his cups. I love that they have proved to be spill proof! They are also super easy to wash as they don’t have lots of extra pieces to take apart. The inside of the lid is simple to wash out with no hidden places for mildew or yuckiness to hide. As the name suggests the cups and lids stack together easily to save on storage place. I’ve found these to be some of the best sippy cups for traveling because they don’t leak in my diaper bag.
By simply not having unhealthy snack choices easily available we have really improved our eating habits and have helped my son develop a love for fresh fruits and veggies. Though it can seem inconvenient, making smart snack choices is easy with a little thought and prep. The First Years offers some great products that make it convenient to take superfood snacks on the go or enjoy a healthy snack at home.
What are some of your favorite healthy snack options? What are some creative ways you have found to make healthy snacking easier for your family?