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Fun, healthy choices to spark food creativity for kids

Healthy snacks

From Stacey Antine, author of Appetite for Life: The Thumbs-Up, No-Yucks Guide to Get Your Kid to Be a Great Eater.

Kids today have a lot of choices, especially when it comes to food. Parents are eager to provide healthy choices, but it’s equally important to add a heaping scoop of fun, too. Offer these kid-tested foods in a bento-style box for a lunch or snack and let your expert taste-tester come up with their own creative tasty concoctions to try.

Here are the top food picks to mix and match:

  • Berries (blueberries, raspberries and strawberries): loaded with antioxidants to keep the immune system strong to fight off a sniffle during even the toughest flu season.
  • Low-Fat Yogurt: contains live and active cultures (good bacteria) that help keep the stomach in tip-top shape. Plus it is loaded with calcium for strong bones and teeth.
  • Avocado: this healthy fat is creamy and delicious and helps you feel full, too!
  • Carrots: carrots are a kid’s best friend. They are sweet, crunchy, and loaded with beta-carotene for x-ray vision. Shredded carrots are easy to eat.
  • Raisins: these dried grapes are a super-fruit because they contain iron, a mineral most children don’t get enough of in their diets.
  • Edamame (also known as soybeans): these neon-green soybeans are loaded with protein to keep muscles strong, and they have calcium for bones and teeth, too. Eat them in the pod or shelled. Since soybeans are at the top of the list for Genetically Modified Organism (GMOs) crops, look for non-GMO labels on fresh or frozen packages in the supermarket.
  • Almonds: almonds are super-crunchy and delicious just raw or as a nut butter. These nuts are high in healthy fat and vitamin E to keep the heart running strong.
  • Dark or Semi-Sweet Chocolate: rich in antioxidants, chocolate is the ultimate mood-booster to brighten up any day of the week.
  • Sunflower Seeds: these seeds are packed with heart-healthy vitamin E, and kids are crazy about them because they come from a beautiful flower.
  • Granola Made with Oats: granola not only tastes and smells good when you make it, but it’s a high fiber food that kids won’t turn down at any time of the day.

And here are a few suggestions for yummy combinations to spark some food creativity for your child at home or at school:

  • Ants on a log for a favorite interactive lunch – celery sticks filled with low-fat yogurt (low-fat Greek is a good option here because of the thickness) topped with raisins and sunflower seeds.
  • Whole-wheat pasta (choose your kid’s favorite shape) with edamame and raisins drizzled with olive oil and lightly flavored with Parmesan cheese.
  • Whole-wheat crepes filled with low-fat vanilla yogurt, an assortment of berries, and drizzled with honey.
  • Make your own yogurt sundaes in a container. Layer low-fat yogurt, then granola, and then berries and sunflower seeds, and repeat until you reach the top.
  • High-energy mix of granola, almonds, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, and raisins!
  • Smash avocado and squeeze a little lemon or lime and serve with carrot sticks or organic corn chips.
  • Spread almond butter on a whole-wheat pita wrap and place raisins and a few chocolate chips on top before you roll it closed – so the chocolate is a surprise!
  • Shred carrots and add edamame, raisins, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds drizzled with olive or sesame oil and low sodium soy sauce for a yummy, colorful sweet and salty salad.
  • Fill a thermos with a berry smoothie, including low-fat yogurt, an assortment of frozen berries, and topped with crunchy oat granola.


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