Every preschooler looks forward to snack time! While the convenience of packaged, processed snack foods is tempting, these junk food choices are generally loaded with empty calories. To boost your child’s energy level in between meals and to encourage healthy eating habits from a young age, try out some of these fun, homemade treats.
1. A Blend of the Best Ingredients
Let your child choose his or her favorite fruits to drop into a blender with vanilla yogurt, a banana, and juice. Kids love to watch the blender whirl and the resulting smoothie will be jam packed with protein, vitamins, and fiber. Garnish with a straw to add extra delight to the whole experience!
2. Hand-Picked Trail Mix
Display a yummy, nourishing assortment of whole grain cereals, pretzels, pita chips, popcorn, dried fruit, and nuts on the kitchen counter. Then hand out a small container and let your little ones go wild mixing up their dream combo of foods! Cover with an airtight lid and store in the pantry for when the munchies strike.
3. Sculptural Snacks
Spread peanut butter on a celery stick and top with a line of raisins to make the classic ants-on-a-log. Or use cookie cutters to form interesting shapes out of sliced cheese, apples, and melon, and then stack on a skewer to create colorful, healthy “lollipops”.
When young children are a part of the food-prep process, they’re always excited to eat the tasty products of their creativity. With smoothies, fruit, and cheese kabobs and a savory mix of crunchy bits on the snack menu, your preschooler will quickly lose interest in the array of unhealthy junk food featured on the supermarket shelves.
Suggested Resources for You
Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up In this sequel to her classic Pretend Soup–considered by many to be the gold standard of children’s cookbooks–award-winning author/illustrator Mollie Katzen works her magic with 20 new, child-tested recipes including such delicacies as Counting Soup, Chewy Energy Circles, and Polka Dot Rice. Each illustrated recipe offers the child chef the opportunity to count, measure, mix, assemble, and most important, have fun. Designed as do-together projects–with the child as chef and the adult as assistant–these kitchen adventures will give children confidence in their cooking skills and inspire a life-long healthy relationship with food. With Salad People and a little time in the kitchen, budding chefs will cheer: “I like it because I made it myself!”
Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater: A Parent’s Handbook: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating Pediatrician Nimali Fernando and feeding therapist Melanie Potock (aka Dr. Yum and Coach Mel) know the importance of giving your child the right start on his or her food journey—for good health, motor skills, and even cognitive and emotional development. In Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater they explain how to expand your family’s food horizons, avoid the picky eater trap, identify special feeding needs, and put joy back into mealtimes,