When the kids come home from school or inside from play, one of the first things they do is head for the refrigerator to get a snack. If you want them to eat healthy snacks, you have to have the right foods available and ready to eat. If it isn’t easy to grab and go, they are going to reach for something else.
The key to feeding your kids healthy food is planning ahead. Everyone is so busy, and it is not easy to plan healthy snacks, especially after a hard day of work and school. This will give you some ideas.
When you go grocery shopping, you can buy some things that are going to make storing your snacks a little easier. Pick up some zipper seal baggies of different sizes, and some disposable plastic containers with snap on lids to keep your food fresh.
Now it’s time to pick out the drinks. My kids used to be big soda drinkers. If we brought it into the house, it was gone in minutes. We finally realized how unhealthy those drinks really were for them, and we decided to stop buying them. At first, it was not easy. The kids kept asking, just hoping we would change our minds. But we stood firm. We did, however, allow them to order a soft drink whenever we went out to eat. But that was it.
We started buying bottled water, and guess what. They drank it! It was gone just about as quickly as the soda had been. It was then that we saw that it was not the sweetened drinks they wanted as badly as they wanted something easy to pick up and drink. What happened next was almost unbelievable! We started noticing that whenever we went out to eat, they didn’t want to order the sodas anymore. Most of the time, they would order water.
You are going to have to do a little more work to prepare the snacks. Stock up on fruits and vegetables. Prepare little baggies and containers filled with fruits like grapes, apple slices, strawberries, chunks of pineapple, watermelon slices etc. For the vegetables, slice up some cucumbers, green peppers, peas still in the pod, baby carrots, tomatoes etc., and put them in your containers. Keep these snacks ready and available in your refrigerator at all times. Change things around every once in a while and buy a vegetable or fruit you have never tried. Or set up a rotation so that you do not always have the same snacks all the time.
Buy different kinds of nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, and brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds.
Buy little sticks and make kabobs with the fruits and vegetables. Add in chunks of cheese. Try out different types of cheese and see what kind your family enjoys the most.
When grapes or bananas go on sale, stock up on them. Wash and dry your grapes, peel your bananas, and put them into quart or gallon sized freezer bags. Now freeze them. When your kids want a frozen snack, pull them out of the freezer and let them eat them just as they are.
Buy plain yogurt (make sure it has live or active cultures and no sugar) Buy some frozen strawberries, blueberries, peaches, or use your frozen grapes. Put the yogurt and your choice of fruit into a blender with a frozen banana (I always thaw my bananas out some so they will not destroy my blender). Put some liquid like milk or fruit juice into your blender with your fruit and yogurt, and blend it into a healthy smoothie. Adding the frozen banana or grapes gives your smoothie the consistency of ice cream. If your kids will tolerate it, add a hand full of leaf spinach before you blend it. Spinach is incredibly healthy, adds lots of vitamins and nutrients, and does not change the flavor. If you want to add some fiber, you can toss in a couple tablespoons of wheat germ or ground flax seed.
Preparing healthy snacks for your kids is not that difficult. It does take some thought and preparation. If they are not used to eating healthy foods, they may complain for awhile. Having healthy kids is worth the few bumps in the road that you will encounter along the way.