Healthy Snacks That Make Kids (and Moms) Smile

Note from Smiles Dental: This post is written by guest blogger and Smiles Dental mom, Monique Tindall. She hopes that by sharing her personal dental stories, other parents understand the importance of dental health for their kids. Her articles take a look at the humorous side of teeth brushing and dentist visits. Thanks for reading!

Satisfying three kids with a healthy snack quite challenging.  Especially on those nights we are running out the door for practices or lessons.  Most “on-the-go” snacks in the store are full of sugars and refined carbohydrates and are not the best choices for your oral and overall health.  Here are a few of our family’s “go to” snacks that are tasty, quick to prepare and healthy!

Dried fruit and nuts are healthy while being quick and easy and my kids love them.  Fresh fruit is a snack favorite in our house but it can be messy when you are snacking on the go. So we found dried apples and other dried fruit are a great solution.  Trader Joe’s has a great dried fruit and nut section. Check out these dried bananas – YUM!

If you can dip it, squeeze it directly in your mouth or slather peanut butter on it – we have a snack winner. Cut veggies with some ranch dressing is a quick snack. Right when I get home from shopping, I like to cut up the veggies and put them in a container so they are ready to go. Our favorites are celery, carrots cucumbers, and zucchini. Cherry tomatoes and Little Cuties are another grab and go favorite snack. Hummus is another great dip for veggies that packs some great nutritional punch. Costco has these snack size hummus packs which are great for snacks and in lunches.

Tubes of yogurt and squeeze packs of apple sauce are great when you are heading out the door. Healthy brands with lower sugar are your best choice. As I mentioned, if you can squeeze it right in your mouth – we have a winner! We are trying these new fruit and veggie squeezes – I love to sneak veggies in anywhere I can.

Turkey Jerky, Pork Jerky, Beef Jerky – just say the word “jerky” and my kids will try it.  There are many choices in the super markets for jerky.  Try to find ones that do not have MSG, high fructose corn syrup and be careful with nitrates. Your best bet is to try making your own.  It is easy and there are many recipes online.

If your kids crave the salt and crunch of chips, you might want to try kale chips. Kale has many health benefits – call them a chip and most kids are willing to try them. Plus, they are super easy to make. You can find plenty of recipes online and it really only takes a cookie sheet, kale, olive oil and salt.  You can spice them up with garlic, taco seasonings or even ranch dressing mix.

One of the best choices you can make for your oral health and overall health is drinking water. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. You can add a little lemon juice for flavor or there are many healthy, low sugar flavorings you can add to your water bottle.

Our family created a meal called “Snacker.”  This is a meal that is more than a snack but not quite dinner and is great on those nights you are going to be gone running around.  One of my go-to items is a roasted chicken from the store. Simply eat the chicken or add it to some tortillas and cheese for a healthy quesadilla and some “Green Drink” (such as Naked Kale Juice) and you have a full meal.  Kids love pizza – so we created a toaster-oven version using whole grain English muffins, some pasta sauce, cheese and toppings of choice.  Pop it in and you’ve got quick personal pizzas.  A can of healthy chili or soup is also a quick fix. We always have salad items cut and ready to go to be added to any Snacker main dish.

I hope these ideas inspire you to find things that are healthy and your kids will love. Think about your child and what gets them excited about healthy foods – be creative and smile.