“Forget Dinner. It’s Always Snack Time in America.” When we recently spotted this headline in the Wall Street Journal and read that people are snacking five times more than they were in the 1970’s we thought, “So true!” Our clients tell us that they and their kids are often have several snacks throughout the day—many of which are on the go rather than a sit down meal. And admittedly, as Moms we’re always looking for delicious and healthy snacks that the kids will love, but that we too can eat without guilt. And we know that with so many snacks those calories really do count – and they have to fill nutrient gaps.
The key to making the most of snacks is to have an arsenal of healthy foods in your house. Whether your kids are looking for something creamy, crunchy or sweet, make sure to have options that provide extra nutrients that their diets may fall short in, such as fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals.
So here you have it—5 of our favorite kid-approved snacks. They all have the magical combo of protein and fiber for satiety and long-lasting energy—and some are even great on-the-go!
- Frozen yogurt banana popsicles. Simply cut the bananas in half (not lengthwise). Place a popsicle stick in the bottom of each banana half. Spread your favorite yogurt on a plate and roll the banana in the yogurt (you could also dip it in peanut butter at the top or low-sugar granola or slivered nuts). Place finished bananas on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Place in freezer until frozen (about 1-2 hours). Eat or store in an airtight container in the freezer.
- Chia Puddings These are super easy to make! Start with almond milk (or other favorite), mix in your favorite fruit, add a drop of your sweetener of choice and chia seeds. Refrigerate for a few minutes and it becomes pudding!
- Pistachios: These are great on-the-go and you don’t have to worry about them spoiling! Kids love to crack ‘em open and crunch—and so do adults. Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat nuts and offer more nuts per serving compared to any snack nut—you can have about 30 of them for just 100 calories; you only get about 10-12 pieces of most other nuts for the same 100 calories. Plus, pistachios are among the highest protein nuts (over 4 grams for 100 calories), making them a convenient on-the-go snack to help with hunger between meals.
- Cheesy Popcorn: Popcorn is whole grain and fiber- rich and kids love it! Sprinkle warm air-popped popcorn with shredded low fat mozzarella or Swiss cheese for protein. Then, let kids get creative by experimenting to find their favorite flavors. They can sprinkle a few kernels with garlic powder, oregano, black pepper, and even cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder to see which flavor they like best.
- Veggie slices dipped in hummus, black bean dip, guacamole or Greek yogurt. Your saving grace here is that kids love to dip! As they have fun dipping, you can sneak in a lot of nutrients. Veggies are loaded with immunity-boosting phytonutrients and fiber. They provide a quick energy burst while the beans in the black bean dip and the chickpeas in the hummus will extend that boost with fiber and protein. The Greek yogurt is protein-packed too—so all will provide protein for longer lasting fuel.
- If your kids like to dip in healthy condiments like salsa or guacamole (which don’t contain much protein), be sure to also give them protein (such as yogurt, string cheese or nut butter) to keep them feeling satisfied.
The Nutrition Twins work with PistachioHealth.com to help consumers make healthier choices.