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Best 20 Snacks for Kids


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August 21st, 2006, 02:16 PM
Rusha's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Toss the junk food! Our nutritious munchies taste so great, your child will never guess they're good for him.
By Jacqueline Plant and Fraya Berg



1. Peanut Butter This versatile childhood favorite's got plenty of protein and fiber. For a change, try making silly PB&J sandwiches: Instead of bread, use toasted mini waffles or rice cakes.

2. Sweet-Potato Chips Sweet spuds are one of the most nutritious vegetables around: They're packed with vitamin A and are a good source of B6, C, and folate. These simple, delicious chips are a great alternative to the greasy, store-bought variety.

3. Healthy Baked Treats Your child will never guess you're sneaking fruits or vegetables into her diet when you bake them into yummy muffins or breads. Banana bread, zucchini muffins, and carrot bars are a few of our favorites for kids. Our tasty Carrot-Cake Bars contain beta-carotene from the carrots and vitamin C from the pineapple.

4. Whole-grain cereal A bowl of enriched whole-grain cereal with milk and fruit is power-packed with vitamins, calcium, and fiber. Cheerios are a classic, but another brand we like is Barbara's Bakery Multigrain Shredded Spoonfuls.

5. Cheese The protein in this versatile snack keeps energy levels high until dinnertime. We like to stick salt-free pretzel sticks into cubes of low-fat cheese to make "satellite snacks," but you can also make cheese more interesting to kids by melting some on an English-muffin half, serving it with whole-wheat crackers, or cutting a face in a slice of American cheese.

6. Eggs One egg provides a 4-year-old with almost one third of her protein requirements for the day. Keep a bunch hardboiled in the fridge (they last for seven days), or scramble an egg and roll it up in a flour tortilla. Our fun, hard-cooked creation, decorated with FooDoodler food-coloring markers, makes a jazzy addition to an after-school snack pack.

7. Yogurt Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, and children love it dressed up. To keep sugar content to a minimum, buy plain yogurt and mix it with your child's favorite fruit preserves, a pinch of colored sprinkles, or a bit of honey and some granola.

8. Quesadillas Cheesy quesadillas are a calcium-rich snack that's got protein as well. You can mix anything with the cheese: chopped vegetables, leftover cooked chicken, or even shrimp. Try our Quesadilla Twisters, which are easy to make and fun for kids to hold. Between the folate in the corn, the lycopene in the tomato, and the iron in the spinach, this snack really packs a nutritional punch.

9. Hummus Made from pureed chickpeas, hummus is an excellent dip for kids. It's got an appealing nutty flavor, is thick enough not to be messy, and contains folate, vitamin B6, and iron. Serve our easy-to-make hummus with cut-up vegetables, pita triangles, or salt-free crackers.

10. Pears Rich in fiber and available year-round, pears come in many delicious varieties. Pack one in your child's lunch box, or try slicing it for an after-school snack. Or serve up equally nutritious canned pears, which is what we used for our fun Pear Pinwheels.

11. Noodles Pasta is a fabulous source of complex carbohydrates. Pick some in your child's favorite shape, and cook up a batch to keep in the refrigerator. At snacktime, microwave a half-cup serving tossed with veggies or cooked chicken and jarred tomato sauce.

12. Smoothies Kids go crazy over these delicious, sippable treats, and they're packed with nutrients. Use nonfat vanilla yogurt, orange juice, and a banana as the smoothie's base, then experiment with a combination of cut-up fresh or frozen fruit. It's a great way to sneak two or three servings of fruit into your child's diet. Our favorite smoothie adds an extra dose of fiber, a nutrient that many kids don't get enough of.

13. Snack Mix Toss together a healthy combo of nuts, pretzels, whole-grain cereal, banana chips, and popcorn for a handy, portable snack. Nuts contain must-have minerals like magnesium, iron, and zinc. Try our kid-friendly Nuts and Bolts, or make up one of your own!

14. Ovaltine Milk mixed up with caffeine-free Ovaltine (available in chocolate or malt) is a filling, protein-rich snack that provides a child with 40 percent of the RDA for calcium, 80 percent of her daily vitamin D, and more than 50 percent of her daily B vitamins.

15. Low-Fat Ham It tastes just as good as regular ham, but the low-fat version is much healthier and a great way to boost your child's protein intake. Roll up a slice on its own or with a piece of cheese, make crustless ham-sandwich "hors d'oeuvres," or try our Peekaboo Muffins with diced ham and shredded cheese baked inside.


Our 5 Favorite Convenience Snacks

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Kettle Valley Real Fruit Snack: This all-natural dried-fruit bar provides lots of vitamin C.
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General Mills Chex Morning Mix: This low-fat, vitamin-fortified snack comes in handy single servings.
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Polly-O Pizza Diparellas: Healthy cheese sticks come with a fun tomato dipping sauce.
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Glenny's Soy Veggie Snack: These seasoned puffs are a good source of soy protein.
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Ragú Express: These microwavable single-serving containers of pasta and sauce are low in fat.

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