I remember when I was a new mom, I was pureeing every veggie and fruit I could shove into my little magic bullet blender for meals and snacks.
I also remember that same blended cup o’ mush being tossed and discarded the second it came within a baby’s reach. Oh, the frustration! It quickly became clear that processed snacks were much easier.
Yet I persisted because I knew I didn’t want to feed my kids overly-processed junk. So I consumed every piece of info I could get my hands on about how to get your kids to try new things, and the one thing that stuck with me was how the French tackle the babe and cuisine.
They educate their children on proper eating habits and dine with them outside of the house often. They can sit longer, snack less, and try new things. Best of all, playground snacks aren’t a thing. In fact, snacks are limited and never right before dinner, lest they ruin ze’ appetite.
That’s what I wanted! I wanted children who enjoyed eating, experimented, and didn’t ask for a snack every single time we headed out of the house!
But alas, trips to the playground and playdates brought with it the endless parade of the goldfish! You can’t stop the salty-crunchy power of the goldfish. It’s the goldfish that wore me down after a tireless battle.
We are a nation of snackers, but that doesn’t mean we have to give in to the convenience of it all. I do buy my kids easy, overly-processed snacks, but when I can, I do offer up a few homemade ones that are easy to stuff in a lunch bag or take on the go. With a little bit of effort in the kitchen, if you’re up for it, here are a few suggestions you may want to try.
Healthy On-the-Go Snacks
Healthy and convenient are not the same, and homemade is always best! This requires a bit more work, of course, but not that much time.
Slicing up fruit before heading out to soccer games or for a hike is an easy and obvious choice. Clementines and kiwis will give you a solid boost of vitamin C too. (For the kiwi, all you have to do is slice the top off and pack a spoon so they can dig into like a cup of fruit).
I also like to combine apples with cheese (Jarlsburg goes really well with apples!).
Tip: When slicing up apples, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on the slices to prevent them from browning.
Unsweetened apple sauce is a great choice too — you add the cinnamon for amazing flavor! I pack those in portable cups, and they’re a hit.
Muffins are also super easy to make and are portable. I absolutely love lemon poppy seed muffins — and of course, the kids do too. That’s why we’re here, right? For the kids!
Roasted chickpeas won’t last longer than a day (meaning they get a bit soggy and unappealing — unless you know a way to keep them fresher, share in the comments below!). Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on them and season with salt and smoked paprika, or any seasoning you like, and bake at 350˚ for 15–20 minutes.
Popcorn is super easy to make; however, this one is fine buying packaged since the ingredients are simply popcorn and maybe coconut oil.
This is more for slightly older kids, however. If you have really little ones who cannot wedge that annoying part of the kernel out from under their tongue, back of their mouth, or from in-between little teeth, should it get stuck — which is the worst! —there are better options. (It was like my kids had a furball they were trying to extract when a kernel would get stuck.)
Apple cinnamon roasted cashews, as long as you can do the peanut thing, these are amazing! It’s a little bit of effort but not that much to deter you.
By the way, cinnamon is an amazing spice that has anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. It contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects, which may improve gut health and a lot more good stuff. (I even add cinnamon to my morning coffee!).
Roasted pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc that helps to boost the immune system. You can make a big batch of these and toss them into a container at any time.
Edamame is my fave because, for the longest time, my little one was a vegetarian, so finding protein sources other than beans was a struggle. But once he figured out how to suck the bean out of the pod, he was hooked! Both my kids love this veggie with a little sea salt on top. Toss these into a baggie, and you’re gold.
If you’re still stuck or want more ideas, check this post out: Smart Snacking Tips for Kids.
Limit Snack Time for Better Eaters.
Truth: Our kids aren’t going to starve to death if they don’t have a snack despite their desperate (and oftentimes pathetic) pleas!
When I limit snacks, especially before dinner, my kids will be more apt to try new things and even eat their plates clean. (Semi-French behavior!).
Yes, we are a nation of snackers living on a tower of goldfish, but if we try one new homemade snack a week, we may be able to tame the beasts!