Friday, February 12, 2016

Snack Ideas for Preschoolers

Snacks are a huge part of what we eat at our house. I have a pre-schooler and a toddler and those little tummies fill up fast and they empty fast. We have a go-go-go 7 year old and three teenage boys. We do a lot of snacking.

I absolutely agree with the power of healthy snacks. And snacks are a pressure free way to offer small bits of new foods with very little pressure to eat a huge amount of something that is unfamiliar.

Small children tend to go through phases of picky eating. Try to offer a wide variety of fun, nutritious choices. Don't force your child to eat.

Snacks are easier on the budget if you are serving something that costs a little bit more - like nuts or dried fruit.

Don't restrict fat in the diet of children younger than age 2. They need it for their little brains to be able to grow. Most children need whole milk between 1 and 2 years of age. Over the age of 2, you can start to offer fat-free or low-fat milk.

To increase the enjoyment and acceptance of nutritious snacks, let your child help prepare them. Here are a few creative snack ideas:

Ants on a log: Celery stick stuffed with peanut butter and topped with raisins.

Pretzel pops: Cubed cheese on a pretzel stick.

Smudgies: Blend 1½ cups milk with ½ cup peanut butter and 1 package of instant pudding-chocolate or vanilla. Beat well, then let stand for 5 minutes. Spread filling ½-inch thick on graham cracker square. Top with another graham cracker square and then freeze until firm-about 3 hours. Makes 12.

English muffin pizza: Halve an English muffin, spread pizza sauce on top, sprinkle with cheese, then bake at 350°F until cheese melts.

Bagel bites: Slice flavored bagels thin, like coins, and place on a baking sheet. Spray them lightly with olive oil and bake at 400°F for 10 minutes.

Fruit milk shake: Blend together ½ cup strawberry or vanilla yogurt, ½ cup frozen strawberries (frozen without added sugar), and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.