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Various snack foods on the table, including chips, pretzels, nuts and seeds.

Top 5 Kid-Friendly Healthy Snack Swaps You Must Try!

Eating snacks is one of the best things in the world. After all, there is nothing better than eating our favorite snacks while we work, watch a movie, or talk with friends, right? While the answer to that question might be yes, ensuring we have the right snacks is crucial!

Parents and staff of our Silver Spring child care center know that snacks are a huge part of any kid’s life! They snack pretty much all day, every day. This is why it’s important to pick the right snacks for our kids, especially the ones they eat every day. Healthy meals are the most important thing for our kids’ diet, but snacks are also very important.

Having kids snack on processed foods that are bad for them is not only bad for their health and diet. Some kids may be unable to learn to enjoy the taste of real food because of these snacks. These prepared foods are full of refined sugars and can be very hard to stop eating. That’s why kids who eat these things often like them more than fruits or raw vegetables as adults.

When it comes to food, kids are very set in their ways. From a young age, they will like to eat what they learn to eat. The more healthy things you give them, the more likely they are to pick their favorites.

1. Swap Microwave Popcorn for Stovetop Popcorn

One of the best and most nutritious snacks you can eat is popcorn. It is a whole grain full of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. Popcorn from the microwave is the trouble here. Several health problems have been linked to microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn not only has trans fats and other bad things in it but also has Diacetyl. This chemical is used to make popcorn taste like butter.

Making popcorn at home is the best thing to do here. You can use a stove or an air popper to make popcorn. If you choose to cook it on the stove, watch out what kind of oil you use. Choose oils with high burn points, like avocado or coconut oil.

Kids eating popcorn, looking at each other, sitting on sofa.

2. Cookies for Energy Bites

There isn’t enough room here to write down all the bad things about store-bought cookies. Nothing is healthy about any kind of pre-packaged cookie you can find in a store. If you want cookies, it’s better to make them yourself, even if the ingredients aren’t clean. Even if you don’t use gluten-free flour, the items you use will probably still be much better for you than any box of cookies.

Feel free to make energy balls instead of cookies as a healthy daily snack. This is a snack that the whole family can enjoy. GF rolled oats, peanut butter or other nut butter, dried fruit like raisins and dates, dark chocolate chips, maple syrup, and other things are used to make energy balls. When you roll them into little balls and freeze them for a few hours, you have a healthy snack that will fill your hunger and sweet tooth. They are great, and if you want to add more protein, you can always use protein powder. Just make sure that the protein powder in the kid’s version is safe for kids.

3. Goldfish for Roasted Chickpeas

Those with any work experience in a day care in Silver Spring, MD know that most kids LOVE Goldfish Crackers. They’ve been around for a long time. It said on the package that they were whole-grain baked crackers. Some of their boxes have even been marked as organic. While this sounds like a good choice for your kids, the story changes when you turn them over and read what’s inside. To begin, “whole grain” refers to improved wheat flour that has not been bleached. This means the wheat has been treated and no longer has bran and germ. This means it no longer has all the important nutrients and fiber that whole wheat does.

For a healthy swap, opt for baked chickpeas instead of Goldfish Crackers. They’re just as crunchy as Goldfish Crackers, and you can add a lot of different tastes to them. You can make them honey-roasted, BBQ, or even “cheesy” with nutritional yeast. Chickpeas provide a lot of protein, fiber, iron, and complex carbs. You can buy these as a snack or make them yourself with chickpeas from the can and have more control over what’s in them.

Composition with bowl of chickpeas on wooden table.

4. Chips for Kale Chips

Chips are full of calories, trans fats, salt, and refined sugars and have no nutritional value at all. It’s not bad to let your kids eat a few chips every once in a while, but putting these in their lunch every day or having them as a snack in the afternoon is bad for their health.

We all want something salty and crunchy sometimes. If you don’t want to eat chips, try kale, seaweed, or potato chips you make yourself. They won’t have any bad ingredients or add-ins and are pretty simple to make.

5. Granola Bars for Trail Mix

It might look like granola bars are a great snack for your kids. But store-bought and pre-packaged granola bars are full of chemicals that are bad for you. They might have dyes, high fructose corn syrup, canola or palm oil, and other things that aren’t good for you.

Homemade granola bars or trail mix is pretty easy and much better than buying them in stores. You can use dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, freeze-dried fruit, coconut chips, and other things. It’s quick and easy to make and much better than the granola bars you buy in stores.

Trail Mix of nuts and dried fruits make a great snack food.

Final Thoughts

There’s no harm in giving your kids a bag of chips or some cookies occasionally. However, the key is to ensure that they mostly eat healthy food that is high in nutrients. It’s never too late to start giving your kids better foods. Those who have spent years working in child care in Silver Spring, MD, say don’t give up on these healthy snack options just because your kids don’t want them at first. As long as you keep offering them, they will finally come around and be willing to try them.

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