It’s hard to come up with new snack ideas, especially when you have a kitchen full of hungry kids begging you to produce something fast. Most moms (me included!) tend to reach for the same old foods again and again.
Well it’s a new year, and time for some fresh ideas. Below you’ll find a wide variety of healthy snack possibilities using tried and true ingredients in new and unique ways. Before you dismiss an idea, thinking “MY kid isn’t going to eat that,” just give it a whirl. Trying new things and moving beyond standard “kid foods” can reveal a whole new set of taste preferences, and you never know what your kid may end up loving. These recipes are also great for parents!
TORTILLA ROLL-UPS — Start with a whole wheat tortilla, then add any of the following combinations: • Italian cheese blend + prosciutto or ham + dollop of marinara sauce • Cream cheese + turkey slices + chopped cucumber • Cheddar cheese + steamed egg (beat an egg w/ fork in a mug, microwave 1 min or until fluffy & cooked) + chopped tomato • Refried beans + mild salsa + avocado • Nut or seed butter + apple slices + dried cranberries
DIP CONTEST — Kids will try anything – even loads of raw veggies – if they get to vote or play a game. So try this: • Dish out 3 kinds of dip (hummus, Greek yogurt dip, fruity salsa, cheese sauce, bean dip, honey mustard dressing, etc.) and a platter of cut veggies. • Say something like: “Today, you guys are judges, and your job is to decide which of these dips is the best! I need you to try each one, then tell me which is #1, #2, and #3, and then we’ll figure out which is the winner.” • Watch this table of kids gobble down broccoli florets like you’ve never seen.
CORN QUESADILLAS — 1 corn tortilla with shredded cheddar cheese & a sprinkling of corn kernels, microwaved then folded over, or cooked until crisp in a skillet.
SOY CRISPS DU JOUR — Top mini rice cakes or soy crisps with: • Peanut butter + banana slices + raisins • Goat cheese + strawberry slices + honey • Hummus + cucumber slices • Avocado + olive oil drizzle + salt • Cream cheese + sliced black olives
HONEY WHEAT PRETZEL STICKS WITH DIPS — For the dips, mix together any of the following: • Mustard + honey or maple syrup (you can make it spicy or sweet) • Shredded cheddar cheese + hot milk that’s been whisked with a few pinches of flour • Nut or seed butter + honey • Refried black beans + plain Greek yogurt + lime juice • Chocolate low-fat yogurt + a little peanut butter
SMOOTHIES — Smoothie possibilities are endless, since you can turn milk, yogurt and frozen fruit of any kind into the smoothie of your choice. A few delicious places to start (use frozen fruit for a thick consistency): • Strawberries + blueberries + plain yogurt + milk • Mango + pineapple + shredded coconut + plain yogurt • Banana + 2-3 Tbsp uncooked rolled oats + drizzle of honey + vanilla yogurt + milk • Soy yogurt + vanilla soy milk + strawberries + bananas • Tip: make your own organic frozen fruit in the summertime – here’s how). FLAVORED POPCORN — First, make plain popcorn on the stove (simply heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large pot for 2-3 min over medium heat. Add 3 Tbsp of popcorn kernels and cover mostly with a lid) or in the microwave. Once you’ve removed any hard, unpopped kernels, add one of these topping combinations: • Olive oil cooking spray + grated Parmesan cheese • Lime juice + few splashes hot sauce + salt • Melted butter + brown sugar + salt • Canola oil spray + cinnamon + sugar
FRUIT PARFAITS — Set out a big bowl of plain yogurt, 2-3 bowls of chopped fruit or berries, a small bowl of chopped nuts or granola, and small clear glasses or plastic cups. Have kids build their own parfaits by layering the ingredients, then top with a drizzle of honey or spoonful of jam. HOMEMADE TRAIL MIX — Place bowls of different nuts, dried fruits, cereals, and a few chocolate covered raisins (if your kids can handle that!) on the kitchen counter, then give each kid a small plastic cup so they can make their own trail mix. Trader Joe’s is a great place to find well-priced and unique dried fruits, nuts, and cereals that will keep everyone’s interest.
TROPICAL FRUIT TRAY — Present a tray of vibrant, colorful fruits and some small skewers, then let kids make their own fruit “kabobs.” Think outside the apple-orange-banana box, and opt for more unusual or exotic fruits that kids don’t often get to eat. See something intriguing at the market but not sure what to do with it? Ask the farmer or produce guy — they’ll happily tell you how to cut it, which parts to eat, and how to tell if it’s ripe.
FRUIT DIP — Just like with veggies, dips can make fruit more exciting. Make your own fruit dip by mixing: • 6 oz fruit yogurt + 1/4 cup whipped cream + lemon or lime zest • 6 oz plain yogurt + 2 Tbsp peanut butter + 1 Tbsp honey + pinch of cinnamon • 1 cup of Greek yogurt + chopped fresh mint + lemon zest + 2 Tbsp maple syrup • 6 oz chocolate yogurt + ½ cup plain Greek yogurt SWEET POTATO TREAT — turn baked or microwaved sweet potatoes into a “dessert” kids will love. Give each kid half a sweet potato (halved lengthwise), top with a dab of butter, then help them add each of the following: • A sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or sweetened condensed milk, or brown sugar • A pinch each of cinnamon + salt • A dollop of plain or vanilla yogurt. Mash it all up and enjoy!