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Good Stuff: Kid-Friendly Snacking

August 21, 2012

I must have healthy foods for kids on the brain this week. Maybe that’s because I received an email last week from PBS Kids, with some easy tips to share for healthy snacking ideas for the kiddos. Lord knows that my kids would eat crackers all day long if I let them. Crackers and suckers. I will forever regret buying that bag of Dum Dums in bulk for The Beast’s third birthday party.

Earlier this month,  PBS Kids and Whole Foods Markets launched the Fantastic Organic campaign aimed at providing educational tools and resources to help families learn to cook, shop and explore healthy foods together. I don’t think there’s any question that it’s difficult to teach kids to eat healthy when there’s a fast food joint on every single corner, and those same places are advertising to our kids when we’re not even looking. No kidding, they built a McDonald’s right at the entrance to my kid’s elementary school. Every. Single. Time. we drive by, I’m asked if we can get a Happy Meal.

But it does not have to be overwhelming. It just means a few extra steps on our part as parents. Here’s some tips from PBS Kids:

Choosing and Buying Healthy Snacks

  • Stock the fridge and pantry with healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables and ingredients for the recipes below.
  • Before you go shopping, tell your children what behavior you expect and what, if any, snack they can expect.
  • Take snacks with you when you go to appointments or run errands.
  • Provide snacks that are easy to eat.
  • Use snacks to provide the food groups your children are missing during meals.
  • Make snacks small, then give seconds if the child asks for more.
  • Decide what snacks you will allow, and when. Explain the rules to your child and stick to them.

Healthy Snack Ideas:

  • Crunchy vegetable sticks (carrots, celery) with low-fat ranch dip (for older preschoolers)
  • Nearly frozen applesauce
  • Melon Melody: Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew with non-fat whipped cream
  • Ants on a Log: Peanut butter on celery with raisins
  • Mud & Dirt: Low-fat pudding with crushed graham crackers mixed in
  • Peanut butter on half of a whole-wheat bagel
  • Whole-wheat crackers or whole-wheat tortilla with salsa
  • Hummus and pita wedges
  • “Light” microwave popcorn with grated parmesan cheese (for children three years and older)
  • Mini-pizzas: Half an English muffin covered with a tablespoon of tomato sauce, then topped with part-skim mozzarella cheese

My friend Gina likes to keep a bag of frozen grapes in the low basket of her freezer. That way her kids can just open the door and pop a few tasty treats in whenever they want. And if you’re looking for more ideas, the Fantastic Organic link above will take to their site, which has more recipes, games, and more information on getting your kids to make better food choices.

It’s all good stuff. And that’s the key. Good Stuff. Fill your home with Good Stuff. Mom and Dad, eat Good Stuff. Serve Good Stuff. And use some bribery if need be. (Not sure PBS condones bribery, but FitMommas does. Whatever works.)

Can you believe they’re still pushing Ants on a Log? Seriously, that was one that never spoke to me as a kid. Now a finger dipped straight into peanut butter…

What’s your favorite Kid-Friendly Snack? My kids go gaga over freeze-dried strawberries. I buy them in bulk from Honeyville Foods. (Submit your email, and you’ll get coupons!) Because the older one will not eat fresh fruit. I’m not even sure he’s mine. Pair that with a GoGurt, and the kids and I are happy.

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