Snacks for Hungry Kids
Kids always seem to be hungry (or is that just my kids?)! If you’re heading out, it is vital you pack snacks. They get home from school, kindy or day care and they’re starving (sometimes it even starts in the car on the way home). Snacks are important for growing kids and need to be included between meals but it’s tiring coming up with ideas day in, day out and it can be easy to fall into the trap of buying pre-packaged snacks that are often high in sugar, fat or sodium (salt).
The key to a good snack is trying to ensure it has some protein in it and fibre if possible (obviously whilst also being tasty). Snacks can also be served alongside some fruit and/or vegetables to help your children get in their 5+ a day. Try some of these ideas to incorporate into your usual snack options. Most of these snack ideas are also perfect for us and the rest of the family!
- Smoothies: These are a great way to fill the kids up, are high in protein and calcium, and depending on your ingredients can include a serve or fruit, vegetables and/or good fats. Start off with milk as a base. This can be cow’s milk or a dairy free alternative if needed (ensure calcium enriched). Next, add fruits and/or vegetables. The choices will be based on your preferences but you can include things like banana, berries, mango, spinach or avocado. Then you can add some good fats and protein such as peanut butter (or other nut butter), yoghurt (regular or dairy free), chia seeds, nuts or rolled oats. Finally feel free to add a bit of extra flavour like honey, cinnamon or cocoa. Try different flavours and see what you and the kids enjoy.
- Muffins: Muffins are quick and easy to make and they freeze well so make a big batch and freeze half! If you can, choose a recipe that has some fruit in it like banana, apple, pear or berries, swap white flour for wholemeal (or do a half/half mix as a starting point) and try to include some bran as well to boost the fibre content.
- Yoghurt or Dairy food: This is a convenient and easy snack option. Try to choose one that has less than 10g of sugar and fat per 100g of food.
- Popcorn: Kids love popcorn and if made at home is a cheap and quick snack option (plus who doesn’t love listening to the kernels pop!). Try it au naturel (i.e. with nothing added to it), or if needing a bit of flavour, keep the butter, salt or sugar added to a minimum. If going for readymade, choose the plain varieties to avoid excess fat, sugar and salt. Popcorn can be a choking hazard for younger children and generally isn’t advised for children under four years of age.
- Cheese and crackers: Try to choose low fat crackers (less than 10g of fat per 100g of food) or wholegrain options.
- Vegetable sticks: Cut up your favourite vegetables and serve with hummus, cottage cheese or have them plain alongside some of the other options listed.
Snacks can also be a time for treats but it is important that treats do not become something that creep in as an everyday food. If serving a treat food to kids (and even ourselves), keep the serving size small and try serving it with some of the above ideas.