Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Can I Have A Snack?

Submitted for post by SamanthaNC

Special thanks to Desben for submitting the idea.

There are five words that most parents are used to hearing on a very regular basis: Can I have a snack? In our house we try to keep the sugar to a minimum and sometimes even snacks that tout themselves as "low sugar" options- aren't low enough. If healthy snacks are fun kids are more likely to eat them happily rather than begrudgingly- especially if they get to help. Our daughter is a finicky eater- we are firm, but I must admit that if I know she genuinely doesn't like something (and has actually tried it) I will make something else for her…… (shhh don't tell Kate).

On Christmas Eve we make a snack for the reindeer and leave it on the lawn for them to enjoy while Santa leaves the Christmas loot. It consists of whatever we have in the cabinet at the time. This year it was dry cereal, mini-marshmallows, raisins, nuts, goldfish wheat crackers, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. It looked horrible, but she mixed it herself and actually wanted to eat it. I realize we are all busy and we don't have time to launch into a full scale recipe every time our little ones need a snack, but there are some things that take little to no time.

Trail mix is a great option: nuts, raisins, dried fruit, a small amount of candy and you're done. Children can make it themselves with little direction and it's a great on the go snack. Another fun munchie for kids (and grown ups alike) are pinwheels:

You start with a flour tortilla, choose a "spreadable" (peanut butter, cream cheese, jam, nutella (in small amounts), salad dressing etc.) and fill them with anything you like. Just roll em' up and slice it into pieces. Our favorite: one tortilla, one tablespoon fruit dip, sliced strawberries, kiwi, and bananas.

Other quick options we love: Sugar free popsicles, 100 calorie packs, veggies with low fat dips, apple slices with peanut butter, string cheese, and healthy yogurts (characters on the package usually = too much sugar).

What do your kids love? If you have any yummy ideas or tips for getting kids to eat healthy- we would love to hear them!


Guinevere said...

Not so much for kids (though some kids may like it!), but when I want a snack I will have hummus and a few crackers. Hummus is good because like peanut butter it has protein, so it satisfies hunger cravings.

Hummus is good on a tortilla, too. A quick dinner I came up with a while ago is to spread a flour tortilla with a couple of tablespoons of hummus, slap on a few slices of turkey, and fill up with salad (usually just greens and a few sliced radishes in a light vinagrette). Roll up and eat. It's really yummy!

Again not for kids specifically, but I try to stay away from sugar-free alternatives to things that usually have sugar. Yes, you're cutting out the sugar and the attendant calories, but you're putting chemicals in their place, and I'm not so crazy about that.

Nina Bell said...

I love hummus and my kids do also.

Bridget said...

I'm eating hummus right now!

Nina Bell said...

My kids use to enjoy these:

Take one English muffin and spread pizza sauce on it. Then sprinkle some cheese (Monterey Jack and Cheddar works the best) and put it in the oven to broil for about 2 minutes.

Rufus said...

We use this as an after dinner snack/dessert. It's not something I'd call healthy, but it's certainly not particularly bad for you. And if you're dieting, it's fabulous because it totally tricks you into thinking you're being sinful.

All you need to do is take a scoop of fat free FROZEN cool whip (or non dairy topping as they call it on The Biggest Loser) and spread it between two graham crackers. It's like eating an ice cream sandwich, but without the guilt - and without the mess because the cool whip doesn't melt the way ice cream does.

Saint said...

Chips and salsa, is probably #1around here. We also love hummus. We do not love Cool whip, though.

I always have dry cereal, nuts or seeds, and dried fruit available for making lunches in the morning. This morning I used craisins, Cinnamon Life cereal, peanuts, a few chocolate chips that didn't get used at Christmas, and those windowpane pretzles left over from Mom's Rolo No-Bakes.

When my kids were little, they loved cheese sticks.

My 14 year-old makes popcorn with different flavors on top: cinnamon sugar or parmesan cheese.

SamanthaNC said...

Again not for kids specifically, but I try to stay away from sugar-free alternatives to things that usually have sugar. Yes, you're cutting out the sugar and the attendant calories, but you're putting chemicals in their place, and I'm not so crazy about that.

To be clear- I don't reccommend artficial sweeteners either!

MonicaW42 said...

I love hummus. I have a couple of recipes and make my own. I like it with whole wheat pita bread as well.

We are not big on snacks at our house for whatever reason. When we do, we pop our own popcorn. I have a really good but fattening recipe for popcorn balls that I make once a year that has Brachs spice gum drops and chopped up Starlight mints in it. We keep alot of fresh fruit around the house as well. Now that I am home all the time, I have started cutting up red, yellow and orange bell peppers and use a lowfat sour cream and Hidden Valley Ranch dip.

ha ha I'm doing product placement

Lizabeth said...

Oh man I really wish I liked hummus... I'm not a fan of the texture :(.

As for snacks, my most recent favorites are brie with smoked salmon (it is phenomenal on crackers or on a bagel) and half a grapefruit. My nephew is hooked on crackers but I am trying to introduce him to other foods (especially different raw veggies-- he was eating out of my salad the other day).

I really need to be better about eating this year-- its easy for me to mindlessly snack so I am trying to break myself of that habit, as well as my addiction to Diet Coke. I've cut myself way back so I have a maximum of 2 cans or 20 ounce bottles a day of soda (I don't drink any other caffeine). Other than that I may start drinking more calories with stuff like Carnation instant breakfast (made with skim milk) and sparkling flavored water.

Any tips you guys have for other healthy snacks that would cut my sweet tooth and be filling?

Rufus said...

Bridget said...
I'm eating hummus right now!

And I'm eating partycake ice cream. Is that wrong? ;)

MonicaW42 said...


That is so not fair lol......

Cliff Bars are good. I don't know if you like almonds but they are actually good for you and low in fat.

Since I cant get up and exercise for another 8 weeks or so, I started a diet by Dr Oz. If you get Womans World magazine, this week has an article with different stuff to try. String cheese is on the list and I actually like it and didn't think I would. I gave up all soda (even diet) cold turkey at New Years and so far I have not cheated. It's sooo hard though as I am a major Dr Pepper junkie.

cantienne said...

Carrots are great with peanut butter, too. Raw veggies with dip are always good - my favorites are sugar snap peas, which are wonderful with asian-style dressings or sauces (teriyaki sauce, or ginger-soy dressing). English muffin halves always make a good base for a snack, especially if you put one under the broiler with ripe tomato slices and a little cheese.

ani said...

Love this topic.

Here at home we keep grapes frozen, my kids love frozen grapes. We also keep fruits and veggies pre-cut in the fridge ready to eat.

Heartily agree with keeping hummus on hand. My kids love tabouli and it is also chock full of good stuff, antioxidants, vitamins K, C, A and folic acid, protein and minerals.

Popcorn is quick and easy to make we keep it on hand with the cuisinart popper out and ready.

we have a book in the kitchen with recipes for little kids that they can help make. i used it a ton when the kids were small. Maybe this weekend i will pull it out and add some recipes the kids liked here. It's terribly old and probably out of print. But the kids still pull it out every so often.

themrs said...

i make my kids low fat yogurt popsicles. just put some in an ice tray with toothpicks. you can also just freeze "gogurts" but they do have more sugar. my kids loooove them.

disclaimer: i only use yogurt, not yoghurt. big difference:)

TWoP Fan said...

I love microwaved baked apples. Dice a granny smith, toss it in a bowl with a tiny bit of butter (the end of a butter knife's worth) a tiny bit of brown sugar (1/4 tsp) and lots of cinnamon. Nuke for 1 minute. Enjoy!

indianprincess said...

My kids like ricecakes with peanut butter for snacks. I usually eat slices of apple with peanut butter. I can't stand ricecakes but most of the meals my children eat are based on a diabetic meal plan. I'm diabetic and I'm not going to make two meals. Like I tell my children, I'm not there slave. :)

Daisy said...

Apples and peanut butter or cheese was big at my house. We also ate a lot of popcorn when my kids were young.

Trader Joe's has an awesome 3 layer hummus that is cilantro, jalepeno & traditional. It goes great with their vegetable flax seed chips.

Saint said...

Soda lovers,
Try seltzer water. I am addicted to it. It will seem "salty" at first because you expect an overly-sweet taste to accompany the fizz, but it's salt-free. If you can't quite stand it at first, mix it with cran-grape juice. No, it's not Coke, so it takes some getting used to, but I absolutely LOVE it now. I love the fizz. No calories! And it's water...so it's good for you. And when you do try a Coke after drinking selter...yuk. Too sweet and syrupy.

Beth said...

Saint, funny you mention how bad a Coke tastes after you haven't had one. I was never allowed to drink soda as a child, and now as an adult I cannot stand the taste! Way too sugary for me!! Also, I have a co worker that cut out soda from her day and instantly lost 25 lbs. (I don't know how much a day she was drinking, but I thought that was pretty incredible)

Guacamole is a huge snack here. Although, with the price of avocados it might have to take a hiatus for awhile :)

Lizabeth said...

Monica, thanks for the tip on CliffBars! I haven't tried them before but I will pick a couple up.

Themrs, where would you even find this yoghurt you speak of?? :)

Saint, I am now getting myself hooked on the Sam's choice brand sparkling water-- the strawberry tastes better than soda and has no calories, caffeines, etc. Similar to the seltzer water idea, but its nice to drink something without guilt and still enjoy it!!

themrs said...

lizabeth- you would find the yoghurt in jon & kate's fridge!

merryway said...

At first glance the other day, I thought it said “Can I have Snark”. I believed I'm conditioned.

This last little one eats almost everything but is incredibly slow. I can give her the healthiest stuff. So we have lots of crackers with fruit, cheese, etc. She loves everything and grooves on the fine chocolate I have introduced her to. I do regard chocolate with awe and reverence and have to have a little each day. Our most common sweet snack is the BC cookies from the bag of mix that you add butter and egg and then yum yum. They're inexpensive and are easy.

The main reason I'm posting is I just saw that it's Girl Scout Cookie Time. Let the bells ring and and the message go out. I love the ones with coconut that are chewy and also the mints!

Anya said...

merryway said...At first glance the other day, I thought it said “Can I have Snark”. I believed I'm conditioned.

:-) I know the feeling!

The main reason I'm posting is I just saw that it's Girl Scout Cookie Time. Let the bells ring and and the message go out. I love the ones with coconut that are chewy and also the mints!

There goes the diet! Seriously, um, I think I need to head to the shopping center to pick *something* up.

rain88 said...

Cheerios in a baggie There are so many good ideas here, too bad my daughter is now 21. Maybe for my grandkids..one day.

Jersey Girl said...

Merryway - those coconut cookies are called Samoas or Carmel Delights depending on where in the country you live. They are my favorite cookie of all time! My daughter always sold them in the fall and then my niece hit me up in the spring so I didnt have to go a full year without them. This year my daughter quit GS so I may have to find a new supplier. I did find a "copycat" recipe online once, maybe I should try it this year.

merryway said...

Jerseygirl, I might like to try to the recipe but I always have bad luck with caramel. I either it get it too hard or it doesn't set. If I try the Kraft kind to make caramel apples it always slides off while the apples are setting. I'm doing all the shopping this weekend and ridiculously happy that I get to pick some up GS cookies. At work we used to say it was our reward for making it through the holidays.

I'm still happy about the recipes for the crock pot. It's not like there's not a million recipes out there, but it's nicer when it's been tried by someone and their variations. I also want to try to the monkey munch, we've never had that and it sounds good and easy. I meant to do it on the holidays but I kept forgetting to write down the stuff before I'd go to the store