Everybody knows that kids are always hungry. For them, three meals a day aren’t enough to satisfy their appetites! It’s normal because they’re growing. They also need nutrients that will satiate them between meals, help them grow, but that they’ll also enjoy eating. The challenge for parents is to provide healthy snacks for school and at home that will satisfy their little palates and their tummies!
Snacks are really important for kids because they provide additional nutrients that they don’t necessarily consume at every meal. They also give them energy and concentration to last them the whole day. All this as well as helping them to grow!
We know it isn’t easy to predict which healthy snacks kids will like. That’s why Arctic Gardens thought of offering you tips and recipe ideas to help you prepare a week’s worth of healthy snacks!
Our 6 tips for well-thought out snacks
1- Vary snacks throughout the week
Like grownups, kids need different nutrients in a day. Unfortunately, there isn’t a miracle food that has them all! That’s why snacks must be varied during the week in order to get the most nutrients possible. For example, we get fibre from fruit, protein from nuts and vitamins from veggies.
2- Pace yourself, don’t deprive yourself
Kids love candies and so do grownups! But they don’t make the best snacks. They have very high levels of sugar or salt, lots of calories, very little fibre, proteins and vitamins, etc. So we should turn to healthy snacks that will help kids get through their day better.
However, the idea isn’t to completely eliminate these foods from kids’ or grownups’ diet. On the contrary, it’s better to eat a small amount of candy once or twice a week than to deprive yourself and not be able to stop eating it once you’ve started! Choose a time during the week when junk food is allowed: Friday movie night, board games Saturday afternoon … it’s better to spoil yourself once in a while!
3- Prefer homemade snacks
Store-bought snacks like granola bars, muffins or cakes are practical, but be careful when choosing them as they are often as tempting as desserts! Again, don’t try to completely eliminate them from your kids’ lunchboxes, but eat a homemade version.
There are only advantages when it comes to making your own snacks! We know what they’re made of, we avoid sugar levels that are too high and even traces of allergens that can cause problems, like nuts, eggs and gluten, for example. As well, you can add nutrients by choosing whole wheat flour or by adding fruits and veggies to your recipes! Make big portions and fill up your freezer with these healthy homemade snacks so they’re always on hand. You’ll find many recipes in this article. Don’t hesitate to discover them!
4- Don’t trust store-bought snack-sized portions
There are a lot of snack-sized portions on the market. They often come in small bags of about 20 g containing 100 calories. These snacks aren’t in themselves bad for you. However, you have to be aware that in reality, most of the time, they’re desserts! If you wouldn’t give your child a chocolate chip cookie between meals, would you give her a small 20 g bag of the same cookie? Be careful. They boast only 100 calories, but other nutritional facts must also be taken into consideration!
5- Always have a little something to eat on hand
You never know when hunger will strike! When you’re hungry, it’s harder to concentrate, your energy level decreases and you can even get a headache. To avoid this kind of unpleasantness, always carry snacks with you and put one in your kids’ lunchbox. This will also help you not to give in to the temptation of vending machines, for example. This way, you make healthy choices!
6- Plan snacks for the week
When making your grocery list, think about snacks. They make up the biggest part of the groceries which is normal since kids eat two snacks a day, every day. Take the time to plan weekly snacks with your kids. That way you’ll be sure to offer them food they’ll like and that you’ll approve of.
Get the printable version of our schedule here: Week schedule for snacks by Arctic Gardens!
A nutritious and varied lunchbox
It’s already not easy to prepare kids’ meals for school. You also have to think about the snacks they’ll eat during the day! As inspiration can sometimes be lacking, we’ve prepared for you a list of the perfect foods to slip into your kids’ lunchboxes for healthy snacks at school!
Fruits and veggies
Fruits and veggies are always quick and healthy snacks as they require little, if any, preparation. They’re chocked full of fiber and vitamins that help kids grow strong and healthy. In fact, little ones should eat at least four servings a day and snacks provide the perfect eating moment!
On top of that, kids are often hungry when you’re making lunch or supper. Opt for a plate of raw veggies that can you leave out for them so they can munch a little without necessarily ruining their meal! It works every time for kids – and for grownups.
Fruit compotes are a different way to eat fruit that kids are crazy about, Of course, there are many kinds on the market, but if you decide to make them yourself, here are a few recipes:
Muffins, breads and granola bars
Here are classics that all kids love. Just remember to choose carefully so you don’t offer a snack that’s more like a dessert. Choose fruit muffins over chocolate or caramel ones. Choose whole wheat breads and granola bars with granola. The more these snacks are nutritious, the more kids will get their essential nutrients and make it to the next meal.
At Arctic Gardens, we’re experts in the art of incorporating veggies into pastries. Discover some of our recipes: banana vegetable bread, cornbread, broccoli molasses muffins and honey vegetable cakes. Your little ones will ask for more!
Also let yourself be tempted by these simple and quick homemade granola bars:
Hummus is a protein-rich, healthy snack. Made from chick peas, this dip is very nourishing as it contains 8 g of protein per 100 g. You can find different combinations of hummus on the market: beet, olive, grilled peppers, pine nut and more! You can also make it at home. Here are a few hummus recipes perfect for snacks:
Cheese is a great source of calcium that helps kids grow. There are many shapes and sizes for you and your kids to choose from at the store: string, individually wrapped, bricks, curds, etc. Check the percentages of fat and sodium to offer your kids the best possible product. Served with fruit, cheese is the perfect morning snack! You can also make a delicious cream cheese dip to dunk the fruit!
Yoghurt is the perfect healthy snack for kids as it contains calcium, vitamins and in some cases – like Greek yoghurt – protein and fiber. There are almost an infinite variety on the market: drinkable, in tubes, packets, containers… and that’s not including all the different flavours! With everything to choose from, it’d be impossible not to find something that will please the kids. On top of it, these formats take up very little space in a lunchbox.
Alternate giving your kids these foods during the week so they can get all the nutrients they need. Use our schedule to plan school lunches and avoid trying to come up with something every day!
Adapted, healthier treats
We always want to spoil ourselves a little on the weekends! A chocolate bar, bowl of chips, handful of candy, one or two soft drinks… it’s important to know you should treat yourself every now and again. However, we know not to overdo it because they’re not very healthy.
As we’ve mentioned, eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean depriving yourself. It’s more about having good habits and eating healthy food. So if you can replace your children’s favourite candies with a nutritious choice they’ll love just as much, jump at the chance!
We propose alternative solutions for your kids’ (and grownups’!) favourite junk food with guilt-free eating. Discover our very favourite recipes!
Interesting alternatives to chips can be easily found at the grocery store: nuts, crackers, veggie chips, etc. On the other hand, options at home can, in some cases, be more nutritious (peas and grilled edamame), but they’re mainly all lower in fat and salt! Here are our favourite recipes to replace that bowl of chips at the end of the night. You’ll find they have a crunchy and salty side just like chips:
You can find lots of candy made from real fruit juice on the market. Choose them over ones that are only sugar-based. Dried fruit can also be a good alternative to candy. Strawberries, kiwi and apricots are particularly delicious!
You can also make homemade candy that the kids will find fun and tasty! In fact, they should help make them. They’ll love them even more. Here are four easy-to-prepare recipes:
If what your kids like about soft drinks is the sugary taste, replace it with fruit juice. If they like them because they’re bubbly, choose from a variety of fruity sparkling water offered at the grocery store. Or make your own soft drinks using carbonated water. It’s easy. You just add your choice of fruit to the sparkling water, a little honey for a touch of sweetness and food colouring for a splash of colour and voilà! It’s pretty, delicious and thirst-quenching!
There’s low sodium and low fat popcorn on the grocery shelves that are good alternatives to regular popcorn. However, the best choice is made by buying non-popped kernels and seasoning it yourself. Here are a few ideas to enhance your popcorn and your movie nights:
It’s hard to satisfy that chocolate craving, isn’t it? If you or your kids are in the mood for chocolate, go for the dark chocolate (two to three squares), but some kids hate the taste! Here are some chocolate dessert recipes that have been revisited for the sweet tooth in you:
Presentation also plays an important role when it comes time to introducing food to kids, so don’t neglect it. Kids eat with their eyes, so try to make things colourful, original and attractive!
You’re now equipped to brave your little eaters’ cravings! What are the must-haves in your kids’ lunchbox?