The latest research out of the States shows how the overall energy intake of children increases while the diet quality decreases, as they move from toddlers to teens. Specifically under scrutiny were their snacking habits, which showed the greatest area of decline when it came to ‘healthy choices’. Now this may very well be the fact that the younger children have their snacks chosen for them, whereas older kids may be left to make their own (unhealthy) choices, but the advice was clear: by instilling good eating habits in younger children will set them up for a lifetime of healthy food choices and for parents to encourage snacks that are ‘nutrient rich, rather than calorie dense’ in children of any age. Good advice we say!
Here are our team’s top ‘go to snacks’ for children:
A regular favourite with the adults at Vavista Life HQ, they’re equally popular with the next generation. For teens the ‘cocoa’ range may hit the spot if they are used to an after school chocolate fix; or for younger siblings why not pop one in their lunchbox instead of a sugary cake for break-time?
If you’ve got a bit more time, why not try making your own creamy, frozen yoghurt lollies to keep in the freezer for a hot day? We use the Organix fruit puree pots (you can find them in the baby food aisle) as a super easy natural sweetener and whole milk, organic live yoghurt. Just two ingredients and one of their 7 a day! Simply tip one pot of fruit into a bowl and then fill the empty pot up twice with yoghurt and combine. Fill up some lolly moulds (they are in supermarkets at the moment) and freeze. Our tots favourites are banana and strawberry or apple with vanilla.
These rolls are simply dried fruit and a little veg, gently baked. No added sugar and another one of their 7 a day. While we still need to be careful of sugar intake, even from fruit, these fun treats are infinitely better than a packet of sweets and the collectible cards in each pack will test their brains, too.
4. Nut butters
As long as your tots are not allergic, nut butters are a great savoury snack as the high protein hit will keep them full. Cashew is the sweetest, child-friendly variety we’ve tried – but let your brood find their own favourite. Then simply try a variety of ‘vehicles’ for your butter of choice – a teaspoon of butter between two apple wedges, or spread on some oatcakes.
One for the weekend when you’ve got more time, and an easy one for youngsters to get involved with making, these veggie crisps are a great alternative to additive and salt-laden bagged snacks. Simply thinly slice a selection of root veg – carrots, parsnips, beetroots, sweet potatoes are all great – toss in a little olive oil (you want them just coated, not greasy!) and cook in a preheated 200 degree C oven for 15-25mins until golden.
Inspired? We love Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar Kids ebook that’s packed with ideas for healthy, wholefood, and most of all appealing, recipes for kids.