Healthy Snack Options

I spend a lot of time planning healthy meals for my family but I sometimes run out of steam when it comes to snacks.  While it’s easy to reach for packaged snacks at the supermarket to send with kids to school or keep in your bag, with a little bit of planning you can provide them with nutritious and tasty snacks.  My kids tend to gravitate towards unhealthy snacks at the supermarket because who wouldn’t ask to buy a box of cookies with cartoon characters on the front?  From time to time I will give in to those requests, but for the most part I try to provide them with healthier options.  Here are some of my favorites to pack for school.

Fruit and vegetables.  You may be thinking well, I’ve tried sending these and they just come home untouched.  Try to think about the presentation and also what fruits and veggies that your kids like most.  While my son loves plums, my daughter favors apples with the skin removed.   Yes, it can be labor intensive to pack different snacks but if they are going to eat it, then it’s worth the extra few minutes.  My kids also love grape tomatoes, blueberries and peppers cut into strips.  If they need some encouragement to eat their fruits and vegetables, consider packing something on the side like homemade ranch dressing in a small container.  

Homemade granola bars.  There are a ton of granola bars in the snack aisle at the supermarket, but most are filled with ingredients you wouldn’t really want to feed your kids.  Making your own is pretty easy plus if kids help with the recipe and customize the ingredients, they are more likely to eat it.

Yogurt.  I buy organic yogurt for my kids and there are great options out there.  Sometimes I’ll buy just small containers of yogurt and pack it with a spoon.  Yogurt pouches are a great option too.  It you want to take the yogurt snack up a notch, pack a small container of granola on the side for them to sprinkle on top.

Make your own trail mix.  If your child does not have nut allergies, this is a really fun one.  Go to the supermarket bulk bins section and pick out a bunch of different ingredients such as dried fruits, nuts, and seeds.  Add them all together when you get home and then divide them into bags for the week.  Not only is this a great energy-boosting snack, but making your own is very economical.

Beans.  My kids love beans in many shapes and forms.  Lately they have fallen in love with edamame and a friend tipped me off to little edamame pouches that are sold in the frozen section of the supermarket.  I pack them frozen and by the time snacktime rolls around, they are softened.  Another favorite in my house is roasted chickpeas.  I drain a can of chickpeas and toss them with some olive oil and seasoning, then roast them for about 25 minutes at a high temperature.  These only last minutes in my house.

On my blog you can find recipes for homemade granola bars, no bake carrot cake bites and turmeric roasted chickpeas.  I’ll leave you with a very simple recipe for ranch dressing.  Make a batch to use on salad or send with cut veggies for a healthy snack.  Your kids will love it!

INGREDIENTS

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup buttermilk (store bought or homemade by combining milk with white vinegar)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Serve as a salad dressing or for dipping vegetables.

Marci Lutsky is a food blogger at Vegging at the Shore, www.veggingattheshore.com and can be reached at veggingattheshore@gmail.com.