First of all, let’s just briefly remind ourselves of how important it really is to get our children to ‘indulge’ in healthy snacks instead of junk food. Otherwise, we are illegal to make the small effort needed to crank their eating habits up a notch or be consistent in implementing dietary changes over the long term. So, let’s be blunt about this: healthy snacks instead of junk food mean things like better performance in schoolwork, sports and general behaviour now, and avoidance of degenerative conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart disease later. If your concern is that junk food snacks are cheaper than more wholesome ones, just remind yourself of how much money you are going to save on your children’s medical expenses because you loved them enough to make them eat well and keep healthy, okay?
Alright, presuming your children have a strong resistance to foods they suspect of being healthy, let’s try a few ‘new’ snacks on them like the following:
1. Yummy Balls. These can be prepared in a huge variety of ways, and are like large marbles of concentrated sweetness and flavour. The base ingredient is usually peanut butter. If you can get freshly ground peanut butter made from 100% peanuts, so much the better. Start with about one cup, then add about half a cup of honey, half a cup of oatmeal, some sultanas or other chopped dried fruit, chopped nuts, or whatever you like. Add enough skim milk powder to get the mix to a firm but slightly sticky consistency, then form into balls and roll in coconut. Allow to firm up in the fridge for an hour or so, then eat. You can vary these balls by substituting carob powder as the natural sweetener, adding finely ground whole wheat or any other natural ingredients. Tahini (sesame seed paste) may be used instead of peanuts. Children will enjoy making these themselves.
2. Banana Shake. (This would usually be classed as a ‘smoothie’, but since that sounds too nutritious, we’ll call it a ‘shake’). The trick here is to use lots of very ripe bananas that you have peeled and frozen. Very ripe bananas have more flavour and sweetness, and using them frozen in your blender gives a thick shake effect. Use about three bananas per serve, with just enough skim milk to blend. Adding a couple of raw eggs adds quality protein, gives a natural yellow colouring, and any eggy taste is masked by the bananas.
3. Pop stick Iceblocks. On hot summer days, your children will love your homemade iceblock treats. Buy several of the mould sets so that there are always plenty of these healthy frozen snacks on hand.
Apple Slushy. Freshly juice whole organic apples, or peel and core non-organic apples before juicing them. (Harmful sprays are either on the skin or concentrated in the core.) Do not just buy bottled juice because it has typically been pasteurised (heated) before packaging, and you will lose valuable nutrients. Mix a little of the pulp back into the juice for added fibre before pouring into the moulds and freezing.
Pina colada. In your blender place either the contents of a tin of pineapple (in juice, not syrup) or fresh pineapple and a tin of coconut cream or milk. Blend well and freeze in your moulds.
Apricot Coconut. Blend the contents of a tin of apricots in juice with 1 or 2 cups of fresh carrot juice. (It’s okay, they will not notice.) Add your tin of coconut cream and freeze. Of course, when it’s not summer, you can still use these blends as a dessert, or turn them into jelly (jello).
4. Movietime Popcorn. Who can resist the aroma of fresh hot popcorn? Use a hot air popper, then lightly spray the popped corn with olive oil and sprinkle a healthy ‘salt’ or seasoning alternative over it. Your children will be getting whole grain corn into their diet while they watch the show.
Childhood is a critical time to develop healthy eating habits, so do whatever it takes to ‘sneak’ the good stuff into their diet.
Related Article: Hungry? Eat Healthy Snacks That Taste Good and Keep You Energized