I decided to sit my kids down the other day to see if I could figure out some healthier snacking options for them. I started off by asking them what their favorite junk foods are. My oldest said, “the middle of those chocolate sandwich cookies, chocolate caramel pretzel granola bars, lattes (He’s joking, he’s never had a latte. That I am aware of.) and ice cream. My youngest said, “ice cream, any kind of chocolate, pretty much all candy and gummy fruit snacks.” I wasn’t surprised by their answers. And that was a good starting point for trying to give them better options while still getting a little bit of what they want. What do you think your kids would say?
Studies show that dark chocolate has good properties, right? And moderation is the key. So I am fine including chocolate in their snacking. But I make sure that it isn’t the entire snack and that I pair it with fruit or pretzels, both of which go AMAZING with dark chocolate. This way, they aren’t eating an entire chocolate bar, or a bunch of chocolate candy, but getting a little to satisfy their cravings.
My youngest would happily survive on gummy snacks if I let him. So I decided to try swapping them with straight up dried fruit. While there is still a lot of sugar in dried fruit, there isn’t all the other funky chemicals like in those crazy-colored, super chewy fruit gummies. At least I am pretty sure there isn’t all that other stuff in there…
Sometimes they ask for chips or sugar cereals for a snack. Due to food allergies, we can’t give them nuts, but salted sunflower seeds are a great substitute. They are crunchy and salty with good fats which their little bodies need. I, on the other hand, need to be careful with these in the house because I want to eat them by the spoonful. So yummy.
When they get home from school I like to give them a snack that is a little bit more hearty. If I don’t, I find they ask for more food several times leading up to dinner. For this snack I make Sunbutter and banana “quesadillas”. There is no cheese in these, they just look like a quesadilla. The Sunbutter is a great substitute for peanut butter (dumb allergies) and the banana is a nice sweet touch. You can make it even a little bit more decadent by spraying a non-stick pan with a little bit of spray oil and then grilling it up. Oh man. Try this. [Read more…]