Kids, no doubt, are always hungry. They are busy navigating their creative worlds—constantly exploring, jumping, skipping, running, thinking, playing.
So it’s important to fuel these high energy levels with nutrient dense snacks so they can thrive as opposed to nutrient void (sugar, refined flours) foods that could potentially alter moods, attention, focus and behaviours, lead to anxiety, low blood sugar, sugar highs, exhaustion, hunger and even depression. What our children eat has a huge effect on their overall well being, happiness and success.
Since kids consume about half their days worth of calories in snacks, having/packing healthy foods to graze on are just as essential as preparing nutritious meals.
Ideal snacks are:
- Low in added sugar (this does not include fruit sugar from a whole fruit source): under 3 grams
- A complex carbohydrate and protein: apple with peanut/almond/sunflower butter; hummus/bean spread and cut up veggies; organic cheese with air-popped popcorn; hard-boiled egg with brown rice crackers; edamame
- High in fibre: 3 grams or higher keeps kids fuelled and full longer
- A whole food rather than processed: Foods as close to their natural state as possible—i.e. blueberries instead of a blueberry bar; an apple as opposed to sweetened applesauce.
- Whole grains such as oats, millet, quinoa, teff, amaranth, 100% sprouted whole grain flour (germ, bran and endosperm are included) as opposed to refined white rice and breads.
Here are a couple Nourished snacks to keep your kids powered up so they can be their best versions of themselves and do what kids are meant to do—explore and have fun.
Energy Bites: Where do I ever get to have all three of my favourite nutrient dense seeds—chia, hemp, flax—in the same bite as well as my all time favourite antioxidants—dried organic cranberries and dark chocolate? These high fibre, high protein, gluten-free superfood snacks are seriously the most delicious power nuggets to keep you and your kiddies energy levels up. Go ahead, have another.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Green Smoothie: Yes, you read that right. We have something in my house called “vacation cereal.” Why? My girls discovered Cinnamon Toast Crunch on a trip to Grandma’s house. And they were obsessed ever since. But that is one seriously scary label. I don’t think we recognized any of those ‘foods’ in this house. I have played around to make a green smoothie to taste as much like this cereal as possible. I think I just about nailed it minus the crunch. Greens+healthy fats+protein=an easy, fast breakfast/snack in a pinch minus the crazy sugar, preservatives, fillers, pesticides, chemicals, etc.
Banana Hemp Sushi: So I’m not sure a snack gets any healthier—Omega 3s, Protein, Calcium, fiber, folate, Vitamin E. Or any yummier—sweet, creamy, rich, decadent, satisfying. Kids love it as it’s messy and fun to eat. Make this one now. The best snack, EVER. Serve with fresh hemp or almond milk for an even healthier health kicker.
Loads more healthy ideas here.