Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I had a number of requests for snack ideas and since my computer crashed yesterday I no longer have the fun posts I was working on for this week. sniff, sniff. I feel very strongly about feeding children well, not only for the immediate benefits but the lasting effects that learning good eating habits has on their future. I have strict guidelines in my house where food is concerned and have found great success in such consistency. Kids need snacks (heck, I need snacks) but hunger can stike at inopportune times, so preparation is the key. To me, a snack is simple AND healthy. If it has no nutrition or is only "enriched" with vitamins (therefore - fake food) it is a treat. If my kids want a treat, they compensate for it by eating roughly twice as much really healthy food first.

Our snacks start with a vegetable, if they are not hungry enough to eat a vegetable, they are not hungry enough for a snack. Too many kids (and adults) eat all day which causes our hunger cues to get messed up and leads to overeating, mindless eating and eating because we are bored.

These are our standard snack-on vegetables:

*cucumbers - I let them request the way they are cut (rounds, sticks, wedges, thinly sliced...) Giving choices increases their cooperation.
*peppers - only my oldest chooses these for snacks, any variety but green.
spinach - prewashed, organic, baby spinach that I can just toss in some dressing. Another thing I do with spinach is make what we call "super green food." This is blanched and pureed spinach. I think it is crazy how much it is requested--not because they like it, but because only 5 bites is a serving, so it is a fast, get-it-out-of-the-way-so-we-can-get-to-the-good-stuff vegetable.
sweet potatoes - diced, pressured for 3 minutes and sprinkled with cinnamon warm or cold.
*carrots - for ease we often get those organic baby carrots that are portioned out in little bags.
*edamame - I will buy packages of fresh and divide them into portion sized bags for easy grab and go. They freeze well and thaw fast (Brik likes them best frozen)
green beans - leave them whole, pressure them for 2 minutes and eat with salt hot or cold, especially good with hummus.
*freeze dried corn and peas - really great for long trips.
frozen peas and corn - yep, right from the bag.

Fillers are things my kids eat easily and help carry them to the next meal.

toast - usually with peanut butter.
beans - the kids really like S&W brand chili beans.
*string cheese
*nuts - raw almonds or walnuts.
avocado - diced and sprinkled with salt.
*tomatoes - little cherry or grape varieties.
egg - hard boiled or cooked for a couple minutes on a fry pan.
kefir/yogurt - plain, add honey or real maple syrup if needed. Flavored yogurts fall into the treat category--too much sugar.
leftovers - parts of meals that won't be useful in the next few days.

Fruit is like the dessert of a snack - it's what they are working towards.

*grapes, *raisins, oranges, *apples, melon, berries, *banana, pineapple, peaches, pears, mangoes...
ugly smoothies
- these are fruit, kefir and spinach, we love them for special occasion snack desserts.

Kids are funny, they go through stages where they don't like something, then love it, then hate it again. Most kids resist new things (and rules) but if you stick to it, keep offering new things again and again and have a "just one bite" rule, they can learn to eat better. Try to simplify, most people would never dream of eating cold green beans or sweet potatoes or oatmeal, or sloppy joes...my kids prefer their foods cold. So save yourself the time and the harmful microwaves - let them try it straight from the fridge.

*Grab and go.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing the snack ideas!

  2. I just happened across your blog and love a lot of your thoughts on health and eating well. But here is a question that I have not had to deal with yet. Do you worry about the snacks that your kids are fed in nursery or at Primary activities (I'm betting you are LDS)? Or do you just figure that the fish crackers, animal crackers and sugar cookies that they are typically fed at church functions are beyond your control?


  3. It IS frustrating that the general population is constantly under minding my efforts in feeding my kids well. Fortunately it is not all or nothing. Our bodies can recover from the occasional bad here and there. All of us have to learn to choose for ourselves when we are tempted with unhealthy choices. The more we practice, the better we become. How I would love to see the day that my little nursery kid is given a bowl of steamed millet and applesauce for snack time. (True story, my uncle's children are in an amazing school!)

  4. Love this! Are your uncle's kids in a Waldorf school by any chance?

  5. Yeah. How did you know? Wish they were more prevelant around here...he is in CO.

  6. wonderful snack ideas!

    my only problem is that i cannot get my almost 2 year old to touch vegetables with a ten foot pole! i need to do better at always giving them to him (i need to do better at serving us a variety in general) but do you have any suggestions? i guess it is probably just try, try, and try - i am assuming. he is a great eater in all other areas and we also eat very few processed foods (he won't even touch desserts which is a great quality to have!). any suggestions would be awesome!

  7. That has been the hardest age for all of my kids as well. For my second, it was a texture thing. I pureed his vegetables frequently until he was 3. I make sure to offer them frequently, and they always have to eat a serving before getting any kind of dessert or they miss out. I think being firm and consistent in your rules helps a lot. My kids know that if they want to eat that sucker from valentines day they need to eat vegetables first. They will usually ask "can I have a cucumber so that I can eat my sucker?" This way they do not feel deprived, but get a good dose of nutrition to counteract the sugar they are putting into their bodies.


It's rude to eat and run. Humor me with conversation please!

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