With Halloween over and Christmas ahead, it is near impossible to not be bombarded with sweets when grocery shopping. Sure, baking and cooking takes more time, but there are lots of delicious and healthy snacks you can put together that do not need much work. Here are some tips for afternoon snacks for your little ones (and for you!).
Chances are you will buy ready-made snacks for your family on-the-go or for school days. In order to get the very best for your little one, it’s important to be armed with tips when looking for snacks in-store. Read the labels and ingredients. Stay away from high amounts of sugar and sodium, as well as words like enriched or concentrated. These items will be of no healthy value for your child. Instead, look for “no sugar added” and whole ingredients. As well, keep a look out for sugar replacements, because they are not needed, and some can be harmful.
Make snacks simple enough that your child will enjoy it. Get back to the basics if you have felt the need to only buy store-bought foods. Fruits and veggies are always a winner for little ones. Adding a healthy dip like peanut butter or guacamole gives them a chance to experiment with flavours.
Find a way to make their favourite food healthy. Instead of white bread, introduce multigrain bread, add hummus instead of butter. For sliced cheese, look for one with no additives and the lowest amount of sodium (I’ve looked high and low and Petit Quebec is the winner where we live).
Make your life easy and prepare things in advance. For example, prepare fruit and veggies in advance in the fridge for about half the week, and place them in big containers.
Waste less by buying in bulk where you can to avoid unnecessary packaging. Once you get into the swing of things, you will find many snack items can be bought in bulk.
Placing a few snacks together on a large plate or platter helps kids select a bit of everything. Give them a small bowl or plate and let them do the picking. It will give them a sense of independence. It also helps them learn to share and take turns. Generally, I serve snack platters in the afternoon. In the morning, a good fruit or smoothie can do the trick, but you will see what your child will like and when. Experimenting is good as well, so you can introduce new foods easily.
Don’t forget to have a special sweet treat now and then! Letting children have the chocolates or candies now and then give them a chance to try them and not crave them. Giving healthy snacks regularly, you will find your child will want those more than anything. But a little chocolate now and then never hurt anyone, right? 😉