Sam's Guide To Healthy Snacking For The Whole Family
Guest Post By Sam Hadadi
The "How To" On Healthy Snacking For The Whole Family
If you read my blog the other week, you’ll know just how tough I find it to get my son to eat healthily.At times, it quite literally is mission impossible. In fact, dinner usually goes something like this:
“How about some broccoli, Zayn?” Nope – a furious shake of the head.
“Have some carrots then. Look - mmm. Yum yum carrots!” Yet more head shaking.
“OK then,” (cue heavy, ‘I-give-in’ sigh from me) “How about some yoghurt instead?”
Just like his father, my boy has the sweetest tooth imaginable. Cake, chocolate, rice pudding and jelly would form his ultimate diet – and, in an ideal world, those foods would be nutritious as well as delicious.
Of course, they’re not. And, with his mealtimes a little wobbly at the best of times, I know that it’s more important than ever to get him snacking right and eating healthily throughout the day.
Healthy snacking options
But what healthy snacking options are there out there? And what can you give that will get the big thumbs up from your child, without dipping into the biscuit tin?
Need some tips?
To make life a little bit easier, make sure you have these top tips in place first:
- Save treats for special occasions – everything in moderation is OK!
- Ditch the fizzy drinks or the sugary squash and get kids used to drinking water.
- Leave bowls of fruit lying around the house, ready for kids to dive into.
- Keep ready-made, homemade healthy snacks at hand (I make a huge batch on a Sunday afternoon, then dish them out as the week goes on)
- Steer clear of packaged, ready-made foods. Trust me, it’s easy to make your own snacks. Plus, not only is it cheaper, but it’s also far healthier!
- If you’re going to buy shop-bought, always check the labels. Worry less about calories, and more about sugar content – if it’s high in sugar, ditch it.
- Always keep a container full of healthy snacks to hand. This helps you to avoid grabbing chocolate or crisps on the go.
And once those rules are established, you can move on to the content – what to feed ‘em comes next.
Having your five-a-day
Of course, we all know that we need our five-a-day (carrot and cucumber sticks, bananas and handfuls of berries are all favourites in our household), but other than fruit and raw veg, what else can we do to make sure our family is snacking and keeping healthy?
Here are my favourite baby and child-friendly snacks. Even my hubby loves a bit of these!
- Homemade fruity flapjacks taste great and are the perfect antidote for mid-afternoon slumps. Mix together food processed dates, melted coconut oil and agave syrup, then add in dried fruit and seeds, oats and bake.
- Strawberries dipped in homemade chocolate - try melting half coconut oil, half cacoa powder for a healthy alternative.
- These No-Bake Chocolate Nut Cookies are a HUGE favourite in my house. With no refined sugar and full of protein-boosting nuts (just chop finely for smaller kids), these are delicious.
- Homemade Chia Charge Granola with yoghurt is a great source of Omega 3 and kids love it.
- Handfuls of dried fruit and seeds are a great source of energy and fibre and taste delicious too!
- It may sound weird, but try apple quarters spread with peanut butter – it is delicious. In fact, this is my favourite – no one is safe around me if they’re eating this!
- Serve up a healthy, fresh smoothie. Everyone loves a smoothie, and you can sneakily include some vegetables in there too (kale and iron-boosting spinach work particularly well in smoothies, especially with sweet kiwi. They’ll never know!)
- Spread rice cakes or oatcakes with cream cheese, or dunk in dark chocolate and top with mixed berries. Utterly delicious!
- These Peanut Butter Bites are amazing!
- Dish up homemade houmous and a spicy red pepper dip and serve with raw vegetables and toasted pittas.
- Instead of crisps, try making your own vegetable chips – simply thinly slice your favourite root veg, toss with oil and herbs or seasoning, then bake in the oven.
- Cheesy Muffins – Instead of serving up a sweet, fruity muffin, why not try a calcium-boosting cheese one instead? Simply mix together coconut oil, flour, baking powder and cheese, then fold in beaten eggs and milk. Simple!
- Cheddar Popcorn – Popcorn is absolutely delicious, but so often laden with sugar or buttery toffee. To make a healthier, savoury alternative, why not try adding cheese instead. An all-round winner!
- If you have time on your hands, sweet potato fries are a fantastic alternative to regular fries, and come packed with Vitamins B, C and D.
All the best,
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Sam Hadadi is an ex-BBC journalist and now a freelance writer specialising in fitness and food.
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