Snacking is an important part of your diet. This is true for your kids too; if you're worrying about giving them healthy meals yet leave the snack section of their diet to luck, think again. If you think your kid isn't going to snack between meals, think again.
We'll go ahead and share some truths about snacking:
1. Everybody Snacks
Supposedly, 94% of Americans snack between meals. We think the remaining 6% are lying. It's highly unlikely that your kid won't snack. This is isn't a bad thing, it's a reality. We don't want you or your kids to stop snacking. We want you to make the most of it.
2. Crafting Habits
Snacking healthier is a great way for teaching kids about nutrition and helping them make better choices on their own later on. Snacking is regarded as something we take pleasure in. We don't do it because we're hungry, we do it because we want to. Making snacks healthier will result in our brain making associations between healthy food and pleasure. This will go a long way towards building healthy eating behaviors.
3. Healthy is Delicious
When we talk about your brain identifying healthy food as pleasurable, we're not talking about "tricking it into believing" that this healthy food is delicious. This food is in fact delicious. Aside from the habit crafting mechanics that we talk about, we want to invite you to explore the healthy possibilities that snacking offers.
Alright, so now we hope you're into this. We hope to have seeded in you the desire to snack healthier and to procure healthier snacks for your kids.
Where to start?
1. Veggies With Lime and Tajín
This is an old Mexican tradition. Chop some cucumber, carrots, and jicama. Pour some lime juice over them and sprinkle tajín seasoning. Just how much tajín seasoning should you sprinkle? That's a completely personal decision. Start small and try it, add more, try it again, work your way from there. It's something you'll have to figure out. Good common sense should guide you, just don't go crazy.
2. Yogurt & Berries Ice Pops
Kids love ice pops, but they're usually filled with sugar or corn syrup and that's something we don't want making its way into our kids diet. So try making ice pops with non-fat yogurt and fruit. The fruit will provide that natural sweetness we've got nothing against. Berries are great for that! You can, of course, try other things, but this is a good place to start.
3. Unsweetened Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is an all-time favorite, and it's actually pretty nutritious. It's got a lot protein and good fat (there's good fat and bad fat, and the one in peanuts is good), so spread some peanut butter on sliced apples or celery sticks. Maybe try a peanut butter banana sandwich on whole grain bread.
4. Whole Grain
This is huge. If you get your kids used to whole grain early on, white bread is gonna seem pretty weird and tasteless to them. And it really is as easy as just getting them used to it. Whole grain has fiber, more flavor, and it's overall just better for you, so get your kids used to it.
At first, they might not go along with it, but put your foot down. After that, they won't think about white bread ever again. Get them used to rye. Get them to try many different kinds of bread, that way they'll begin to appreciate the nuances that bread can offer and that won't only help them in making healthier choices later on, it will also expand their palate.
Snacking on tomatoes doesn't sound all that great, but hear us out: sliced tomatoes with a little bit of lime and salt, try them. It's a non-fat way to eat when you're not particularly hungry, but you want to experience something flavorful. We know it sounds a little weird, but we're confident that once you try it, you'll be thankful. Some people like adding pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar... all of that is great too. Try sliced tomatoes in several different ways, they're a great snack. Another thing you can try is mixing them with cucumber and add lime and salt too.
"Potato chips have no place in this house", say it once, say twice, say it as many times you need until you believe it. Every time you feel like really snacking on a bag of chips, pop some corn in the microwave or get an air popping machine to make air popped popcorn. Popcorn is so much healthier than potato chips, and if you take it an extra step and do them air popped, you really lower your families fat intake.