Kids need snacks to help get them through the day, but you don't want your children to turn to high-fat, high-sugar options. Instead, lead them to choices with a high protein content, which will keep them satisfied longer. Though healthy foods aren't always fun, you can often present them in ways that will make your child more excited about them.
Greek yogurt has almost twice the protein as regular yogurt, so it packs a good punch. Unfortunately, it can also contain a lot of sugar. Purchase plain Greek yogurt to avoid the sugar, then sweeten it on your own from natural sources. Many kids will enjoy eating the yogurt as a parfait, with fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, peaches or pineapple in between the layers. Alternatively, you could blend the yogurt with some fruit, then drop it onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze it. The result is tiny, healthy, frozen yogurt drops.
Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts and nut butters are high in protein and satisfying good fats. Children can eat the nuts plain, but they might find that peanuts or pistachios in the shell are a bit more fun. Whole nuts present a choking hazard to young children, though, so avoid them until your child has mastered chewing. Spreadable nut butters can go on top of whole wheat crackers or bread, or vegetables like celery. If your child might enjoy something a bit sweeter, try making "energy balls" by combining peanut butter and oatmeal in a 1:2 ratio, along with other healthy ingredients such as dried fruits, wheat germ or chopped nuts. Roll these into balls and let set in the refrigerator.
Not only are beans the "magical fruit," they're also high in protein. Popping edamame out of the shell makes for a healthy high-protein snack. A bean dip, such as hummus or black bean dip, can also provide a healthy snack. Have kids dip cut veggies into these dips for a low-sugar snack. Whole wheat pita, pretzels or tortilla chips are an alternative if the child wants something a bit heartier.
Smoothies can hide all sorts of healthy foods in their creamy deliciousness. Tofu, yogurt and peanut butter are all high-protein ingredients you can include in the smoothie. Start with a milk base, if you want to increase the protein content. Fruits can add a bit of sugar, but it's in its natural form. Consider low-sugar chocolate soy milk with a banana and peanut butter, or yogurt with strawberries and pineapples. You can also sneak in some vegetables, if your child doesn't mind drinking something green.
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