It’s that time of year again — the kiddos are back to school. As your little ones strap on their backpacks and head off to class, they need proper nourishment for their hard-working brains! So rather than loading them up on sugar-filled cookies and greasy potato chips that offer practically no nutrients, give your kids some healthy snack options. I know what you’re thinking, “But my kids would much prefer chocolate cake over a kale salad any day of the week.” With a little planning and creativity, though, getting children to eat healthy doesn’t have to be a challenge. Check out this list of 35 delicious and healthy snacks for kids to nourish their bodies and brains. The majority of these recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, so there’s something for everyone! These creative snack ideas are great to pack in a school lunch box for a mid-day brain boost, or have them waiting at home for when your famished bunch comes busting through the doors.
You know what they say – an apple a day keeps the doctor away! That’s because the popular fruit is rich in beneficial antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. They benefit heart health, brain health, and have cancer-fighting properties. Plus, I can’t forget to mention how delicious they are! While apples on their own make for a great kid snack, peak your child’s interest by transforming them into “cookies!” By simply slicing the apples into thin rounds and smearing a little peanut butter or almond butter on top, you are not only increasing the nutritional value of the snack, but you’re also making it look more appealing!
2) Apple Chips
Say goodbye to greasy chips that make you feel sluggish and hello to brain-boosting apple chips! These apple chips are way healthier than the snack bag chips kids usually eat, but just as delicious. Plus, they’re easy to make. Simply slice some apples, sprinkle them with ground cinnamon and a little sugar (I would recommend using either Stevia or coconut sugar), and dehydrate. Don’t have a fancy dehydrator? Don’t worry! You can simply pop them in your oven at a low temperature. Check out this recipe.
Kids love fruit roll ups, but the store bought ones are typically loaded with refined sugar and other dangerous food additives, like artificial coloring. Did you know research actually links certain food dyes to behavioral problems in children? That’s the bad news. Now, for some good news. Your kids don’t have to give up their beloved snack for good. You can easily make healthy homemade fruit roll ups by pureeing your child’s favorite fruit, spreading it onto a baking sheet, and then popping it in the oven for a few hours. Sounds pretty simple, right? Watch for yourself:
If you tell your kids they can eat a banana split when they get home from school, I’m pretty sure they will jump for joy and call you their hero. As a mom, there’s nothing better than feeling appreciated by your children. There’s also nothing worse than caring for kids on a sugar-high. That’s why if you’re going to feed your little ones a banana split after school, try this healthified recipe!
This recipe swaps out ice cream for strawberry Greek yogurt. The treat is then topped with berries and granola. Keep in mind, granola is on our list of 17 foods you think are healthy, but really aren’t. That’s because most store-bought granolas are loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and preservatives. So if you’re taking the time to make this healthy banana split, why not take a few more minutes to make your own gluten-free granola?
Researchers show a little dark chocolate a day can actually benefit health. It can help improve brain function, fight fatigue, reduce stress, and promote good gut health. Unlike most candy, dark chocolate is also said to be good for teeth. That’s because it contains theobromine, which has been proven to harden tooth enamel. So if your kids enjoy indulging in chocolate from time to time, they will probably love these chocolate covered banana pops!
When shopping for the best dark chocolate to use in your recipe, make sure to read the ingredient label carefully. You see, when biting into dark chocolate for the first time, you may be surprised by the rather bitter taste. The higher the cacao content, the more bitter it is (also, the healthier it is). For this reason, manufacturers sweeten their dark chocolate. If you’re looking to reap those potential health benefits, though, choose a dark chocolate that isn’t sweetened with refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Rather, look for brands that use either Stevia, Lou Han Guo, or Honey as their natural sweetener. Also, go organic whenever possible. This will ensure your chocolate is GMO-free.
Gummy snacks are fun to eat and delicious. But like many of the other treats on this list, if you buy them from the store, they will more than likely be filled with ingredients that you’re better off avoiding. That’s where this recipe comes in handy. It’s made from just real fruit (berries to be exact) and a gelatin-like powder supplement! If you are vegan, then check out the linked recipe for their recommended “gelatin.” If your family eats meat then you can use pretty much any gelatin supplement.
Gelatin, which originates from dehydrated animal bones and tissue, is sold in the form of a powder. While it may not sound that appetizing, it’s virtually colorless, tasteless, and it’s actually very healthy. Gelatin provides the body with amino acids that strengthen the gut lining, lower inflammation, support brain health, benefit bone health, and help maintain a healthy heart. So, when you feed your kids homemade gummy snacks, you are actually giving them a healthy treat.
I know we teach our kids from a young age that they shouldn’t play with their food. But sometimes it’s fun to get your hands a little messy! Slicing and arranging nutrient-dense berries to make them look like little ladybugs will make the snack a whole lot more fun to eat in your kid’s eyes!
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