Snacks -who has time to get lunches together, never mind the bites of energy between meals that we all need?
If you’re a busy parent on the go, or a new parent struggling to keep your hair from falling out, then do we have the mother of all kid-friendly, health-happy, easy-to-prepare snacks right here. While you’re at it, double up on the portion for yourself and enjoy! These are multi-age-approved munchies.
What Do Growing Kids Need?
Calcium and Protein are two nutrients that growing bodies need the most. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. The bone growth it supports during adolescence will determine bone quality and strength into late adulthood. Even though the amount required daily is small, many children do not get the required calcium intake needed to support basic muscle functions. Protein also operates to form healthy muscles.
500mg for a 1-3 year old
800mg for a 4-8 year old
1,300mg for a 9-19 year old
What are the best sources of calcium? Fish are surprisingly high in calcium, as are milk products and cabbage.
Protein requirements are:
13g for a 1-3 year old
19g for a 4-8 year old
34g for a 9-13 year old
46g – 52g for an older teenager
Protein products are fairly obvious; meats and eggs. For the vegetarian folk, you can get protein from nuts and tofu, but be wary of non-traditional soy products. If it was processed anywhere in the Western world, chances are it wasn’t fermented traditionally and thus you run the risk of consuming a product that has been bleached and over-processed. Yuck!
The Master Snack List
-Apple and Nut Butter Sandwiches with Dark Chocolate Chips. Prepare apple slices and use them as if they were bread. Spread your nut butter of choice between two slices and, if you want to treat your kid, add a few dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar and has been proven to aid brain function! An all around delicious snack!
-Cheese in any flavour. Cheese is one of the easiest snacks and packed with nutrients. The older cheeses may be more refined in taste, but they also tend to be richer in flavour. Play around between flavours. Perhaps a sharp cheddar one month and a mild mozza the next? If you’re worried about lactose, then skip the cheese.
-Pita bread pieces with marinara sauce and cheese; mini pizzas!
-Yogurt with berries, apple or peach slices. If you’re trying to be more health conscious, watch the sugar content in yogurt. If it’s in the top 3 ingredients, take a pass. A general rule to keep in mind if it looks kid friendly – it’s probably loaded with refined sugars. A great alternative is a Greek yogurts. Greek yogurt has a higher protein content than the “kid friendly” yogurts and if you want to make it a bit sweet, add some honey – that’s how it’s done traditionally anyways!
-Celery or carrot sticks or broccoli with a ranch or Cesar dressing. For the safety of your little ones, avoid Cesar dressing if it’s made traditionally (a raw egg).
-Roasted chickpeas. Crunchy and delicious and a much healthier alternative than chips! Packed full of nutrients and a solid source of healthy energy.
-Broccoli with melted cheddar or mozza on top. This helps kids tolerate greens early on and cheese is always fun to play with.
-Hard boiled egg with a tablespoon of mayo and a dash of pepper with some celery/carrot sticks
-Whole grain toast with apple and nut butters
-Celery sticks with almond or cashew butter and raisins. If this is a snack you’re thinking of sending with your kid to school or the babysitter, check if there are allergy “regulations” in place that may prevent nut products from being in the building.
-Genoa, Hungarian, Italian, or any other kid-safe salami with cheese slices. Protein packed snack that’s easy and fairly clean to carry!
-A healthy cereal of any kind in a snack amount (1-2 cups depending on your child’s needs!)
-Fruit Newtons. Fig’s are so last generation 😉
-Crackers and cheese or cheese and fruit. Though, be prepared for gas with this one! Fruit and dairy enzymes react powerfully while in our gut. Next time you have fruit and cheese, keep this in mind!
–Homemade Granola; buy 2 kinds of nuts, 1 type of seed, 1 sensible “sweet”, 1-2 kinds of dried fruit in bulk. Mix 2:1 nuts/dried fruit to the sweet.
An idea for a blend could be almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate chips, banana chips and dried apple slices.
-A half cup of pumpkin or sunflower seeds rolled in a nut butter of choice to make seed butter balls you can pop in your mouth on the go.