Healthy snacks are great for your kids because they can help manage your children's hunger, boost nutrition, and help prevent overeating during meals. If your child is a picky eater, snacks are an excellent way to add more nutrients to their diet.
When it comes to snacking, fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, protein food, and dairy are good choices. There are two surefire ways to ensure your child is eating healthy snacks: Eating with the season and eating the rainbow colors.
Eating with the season means eating plentiful foods that grow at certain times of the year. These foods are fresh and contain the maximum amount of nutrients because they harvest them at the time of the year you buy and cook them. They are also cheaper, so they're also good for your budget. You can expect the following to be in season this fall: apples, pears, bell peppers, squash, pumpkin, and pineapples, to name a few.
Eating with the rainbow is eating and combining food of different colors because each color represents nutritional benefits. The more colorful your food is, the more nutritious it is. Let's quickly go thru the different colors of the rainbow and their benefits:
- Red foods ( like apples and watermelon) contain carotenoid lycopene, which helps the body eliminate free radicals.
- Orange/Yellow foods ( Citrus fruit, sweet potatoes, pumpkins). They contain alpha-carotene, which helps prevent cancer. They also have beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A
- Green/Yellow (collared Greens, green beans, etc.) contain carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin which help reduce muscular degeneration.
- Red/Purple ( eggplants, beets) contain antioxidants that help with heart health.
Eating with the season and eating the rainbow when it comes to snacks doesn't need to be complicated. We've compiled a list of easy-to-make and colorful snacks that will make even the pickiest eater want seconds. Let's get cooking.
1. Turkey Snack Bags
No time to cook? No problem. These easy-to-make turkey snack bags with popcorn and goldfish biscuits are easy to make. All you need are these ingredients:
- Goldfish biscuits (or you can use any biscuits you like)
- Orange felt paper ( optional)
- Googly eyes ( optional)
- Disposable plastic gloves
All you need to do is fill the fingers of the plastic gloves with the goldfish biscuits ( or any biscuit you like) and then the palms with the popcorn. If you feel creative, you can cut orange felt papers into triangles, paste them on the thumb for the beak, and stick on some googly eyes.
It's a great after-school snack option, or if you're going somewhere for Thanksgiving, your kids can snack on these in the car.
2. Clementine Pumpkins
Clementines are usually in season between October and January and are in their best flavor during this time. But, sometimes, oranges can be boring for children, so you must be creative. You can transform a clementine into little pumpkins with only two ingredients:
All you need to do is cut the celery stalk into pumpkin stems by slicing the celery into thin one-inch strips. Peel the clementines and place the celery into the middle of the peeled clementine, transforming the citrus fruit into a clementine pumpkin. Make a few and arrange them into a plate.
3. Candy Corn Parfait
Candy corn parfait sounds fancy, but they're easy to make and healthy too! You'll need the following:
- Orange slices
- Yogurt (plain
Layer the pineapple and orange slices in a glass, place the honey, and pour a generous amount of yogurt on top. You can also substitute the orange and pineapple for any available seasonal fruit.
4. Apple Donuts
Donuts are yummy, but they are not always the healthiest option. But you can substitute donuts for a healthier version - apple donuts. They're apples topped with cream cheese or peanut butter. If you want to make it, click on this link for the full instructions. They are colorful, delicious and healthier alternatives to store-bought donuts.
5. No Bake Apple Cookies
This recipe for no-bake apple cookies from Rachel Schultz is a delicious alternative to store-bought cookies. Apples are delicious and plentiful in the fall, and it's also a good source of fiber and vitamins C and E. For this simple snack, you'll need the following:
- Peanut butter
- Shredded coconut
- Chocolate chips
Remove the apple core and splice the apple into rings. Take one apple ring, spread peanut butter, and sprinkle almonds, walnuts, shredded coconut and chocolate chips. Repeat the process for the rest of the apple rings.
6. Baked Butternut Squash Fries
Squash is plentiful in the fall and is rich in vitamins A, B6, and C, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It can also be a great alternative to french fries. Butternut fries taste like a cross between zucchini and sweet potatoes: You'll need the following:
- Butternut Squash
- Corn Starch
- Seasoning ( garlic powder, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper)
Slice the butternut squash into thin strips ( the thinner the strips, the crispier). Sprinkle the squash with cornstarch, then put oil and the seasoning. Line them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake in a preheated oven ( about 392F), and bake until crispy.
7. Fall Harvest Granola Bars
Granola can be a great healthy snack option, but they can be healthier if you make them at home. This fool-proof recipe uses seasonal fruits and nuts and doesn't need baking. It's sweet, salty and crunchy and packed with vitamins and minerals.
If you want to make this recipe, click here for the full recipe and instructions.
8. Healthy Pumpkin Cookies
There's nothing better than soft, warm cookies from the oven. These healthy alternatives are made with almond flour, maple syrup and pumpkins. It even has a delicious chocolate topping. Sounds yummy? For the full recipe and instructions, click here.
Snacking healthy is easy and fun
With creativity, you can make fun and healthy snacks for your kids. And while this list is not exhaustive, it's enough to get you started on making snack time fun and healthy for your little ones. Happy snacking!