12 Super Simple and Nourishing Snacks
|September 19, 2011||Posted by carmen under Quick and Easy|
Why have we bought into the idea that kids snacks must be something in the realm of goldfish crackers, animal crackers, granola bars, chips, cookies, gummies or another of the multitude of highly processed, not-really-food “foods” that line the grocery store shelves? Most of these items are not only void of any real nutrition, but they are full of additives and anti-nutrients that are harmful to health and well-being.
Don’t let the label fool you…just because something is fortified with synthetic vitamins does not make it healthy. Take fruit snacks for example. Seriously, does anyone actually believe that a mixture of high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors is a healthy treat?? But wait, it says “Made with Real Fruit” and “100% vitamin C” on the label. Come on, we’re too smart to fall for that marketing trap, aren’t we? It’s nothing better than candy, yet I see kids eating these for snack all the time.
So what’s a busy mama to do? Who has time to prepare wholesome homemade snacks all the time for all the hungry little tummies they have to feed? If your children are anything like mine, snacks are a major part of their menu every day. It can be super hard to keep up with if you’re trying to make healthier versions of store bought snacks at home. I’ve made my fair share of homemade crackers, cookies, muffins, fruit leathers, etc. There are some great recipes out there for making these with real foods in a way that maximizes nutrient value…I will be posting some of these in future posts. But homemade treats take time to make (which is why I always make them in bulk and freeze for future use) and we don’t always have time in our day-to-day. For those times that you need snacks but don’t have any premade treats to offer, what can you do without falling back on the boxed grocery store fare?
This is a list of super simple snacks to offer. Snacks don’t have to be anything fancy. They don’t have to be sweet and sugary either. Offering a protein snack helps keep tummies fuller for longer and helps to avoid the ups and downs in energy that come with sugary, carbohydrate snacks.
Remember, snacks do not have to be fancy. These are all things that take little to no preparation.
- Raw veggies with dip (hummus, nut butter, etc.)
- Nut butter pops (almond butter, cashew butter, natural peanut butter on a spoon)
- In season fruit
- Crispy nuts and dried fruit
- Cheese slices
- Natural Olives
- Leftover meat cut into chunks
- Natural deli meat
- Hard boiled eggs
- Air popped popcorn, or kernals popped on the stovetop in coconut oil
- Yogurt and fruit smoothies
I have found that having an ample supply of these foods on hand and ready to go at any given time to be an absolute necessity to avoiding falling into the junk food trap. This can easily be done by taking a half hour or so, once a week to plan snacks for the entire week and make any preparations in advance that you need to. Things like chopping carrots and celery into bite-sized sticks, making a batch of homemade hummus or veggie dip, cutting up any fruit that can be cut up in advance, getting nuts soaking for crispy nuts, etc.
Here is a sample preparation for the items that need it. This should all take less than an hour and you’ll have snacks made and ready to go for the entire week.
- Slice cheese
- Boil eggs
- Set nuts to soak (see steps above)
- Wash and cut up any fruit that can be cut in advance, like melon. Most fruits should be kept whole until serving.
- Wash and cut up veggies like carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, bell peppers,
- Make homemade nut butter by simply whirling some nuts in a food processor or vitamix until creamy.
- Make a simple hummus by tossing some garbanzo beans into a food processor. Add a splash of olive oil, some fresh garlic, a scoop or two of tahini, some salt and pepper and whatever other seasonings your children prefer. (Ha! Now you see how I cook…a splash, a scoop, some of this, some of that.) Hummus is very adaptable. No need for a measured recipe…just add things to your taste preferences.