Tricks & Treats: Making Healthy Snacking Fun

In the past three decades the obesity rate among adolescents in the U.S has tripled, resulting in 1 in three kids being overweight or clinically obese. As a Mom and as an American, I find this statistic very alarming. This means an increase in heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and blood pressure. What does this mean for the future of our babies…for the future of our health care system???

One of the many responsibilities I have as a Mom, is to keep my children safe and to keep my children healthy. I’ve spent hours researching car-seats, reading reviews on childcare providers, and sanitizing bottles and binkies. Why? Because I want to protect my babies at all cost. And this includes teaching them (leading by example) the importance of proper nutrition. It’s not always easy, or convenient, but it is necessary, and it is possible.

Tricks

Simply don’t buy junk! If there are no cookies in the house, you can’t eat them. Right? And if your baby has never tasted a cookie, they will never miss a cookie. Easy-peasy! I personally keep our pantry free of the junk because I tend to be weak. I’ve been known to eat an entire row of Oreos in one sitting. It’s just much safer if they aren’y easily accessible.

Make eating healthy snacks fun! My oldest daughter will eat anything if it is cut in the shape of a heart. Use cookie cutters for sandwiches and fruit. And kids love to help out in the kitchen so get them involved. Take a peeled banana and coat it in organic peanut butter. Sprinkle some grated coconut on to a plate and let your little one roll the banana around until it is coated in coconut. Delicious and nutritious. And fun! Or try using festive plates, bowls, or cups. Somehow a bright new cup, or in our case a “flower plate” (this is a porcelain plate that Harper received as a 1st birthday gift from Aunt Lindsay) makes any treat exciting.

Treats

Smoothie- Mix 1 cup fat free vanilla yogurt (or to cut even more sugar you can use plain non-fat yogurt and add a bit of vanilla extract), one banana, 1/2 cup of milk (I use unsweetened almond milk), crushed ice, and whatever other fruits your kid likes into a blender and blend.

Glitter Grapes- Remove 1 cup of grapes from their stem and rinse really well. Do not dry. Sprinkle one packet of unprepared sugar-free jello (any flavor) into a plate. In small batches roll the grapes on the plate until coated with the jello. Place the grapes in a bowl in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow the jello to set. Serve as cold as possible. Try Sour Patch Grapes.

Granola with Raisins- I buy the large tubs of granola and separate it into proper portion sizes in cute little zip-lock baggies and carry them in our diaper bag. This has been a huge hit with my two year old. *Be forewarned- an overzealous toddler can make this treat quite messy.

Dips-Kids love to dip. Try my recipe for  ‘Almost Sugar-Free Cheesecake Fruit Dip’ served with fresh fruit or try Black Bean Dip (2 cans of black beans drained, a handful of freshly chopped cilantro, a couple tbs of cumin,  and about a 1/2 cup of salsa pureed) served with all natural carrotts or natural pita chips.

Whole Grain Waffle Sticks- Toast a whole grain waffle and cut it into sticks. Serve with sugar free jam, organic peanut butter, or yogurt for dipping.

Fresh Fruits & Veggies- Keep a clear bowl containing apples, oranges, and bananas at your childs eye level .  Allow them to help themselves. They will appreciate the independence;)

There are many, many, many healthy tasty treats. Get creative. Have fun with it!

And as always, if you have ideas or recipes that you would like to share, please do.

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