This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes for nursing colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email: email@example.com.
There are a myriad of nutritional benefits to be had with vegetables. Important dietary fibers and vitamins are packed into every root, stalk, leaf, and bean of veggies ? after all, vegetables make up one of the largest portions of the food pyramid for a reason. However, it can be tough convincing your kids to skip the sugary snacks and reach for vegetables instead, even after you explain that veggies can make them healthier and stronger. Luckily, there are some fun snacks featuring delicious vegetables that you and your kids are sure to love!
1. Ants On a Log.
One of the best ways to appeal to children is to make vegetables more aesthetically interesting. Children are typically visual eaters, which may be why they tend to be more attracted to the bright artificial colors of sugary candies than a bowl of monochrome Brussels sprouts. To make things more visually fun with healthy ingredients, create little vegetable sculptures that your children will enjoy dismantling and eating. Cut a stalk of celery into 3-inch pieces and smear the hollowed portion of the stalk with peanut butter. This will serve as the “log” for ants on a log. Then, drop some raisins on top of the peanut butter for the ants. In addition to the fun name and look, the sweetness of the raisins and peanut butter will make a celery snack much more kid-friendly.
2. Celery Butterflies.
These whimsical snacks also use visual interest to make them more appealing to children. Cut a stalk of celery into 3-inch pieces and spread some peanut butter or low fat cheese spread into the hollow portion of the stalk. Add two raisin “eyes” near the top of the peanut butter spread. Attach two pretzel sticks to make the butterfly’s “antennas.” Set down two twisted pretzels on a flat surface to act as “wings” and lie your butterfly’s body in between them. Just like with the ants on a log, the peanut butter and raisins will add a kid-friendly sweetness to the celery, and the pretzels will add crunch.
3. Celery Cars.
Visual interest is at play once more with celery cars. Cut a stalk of celery into 3-inch pieces. You can fill the inside of the hollow with peanut butter if you wish, or skip that step altogether for a lower calorie snack. Take two toothpicks and poke them through the sides of the celery stick. These toothpicks will act as the “axles” for your celery car. Attach four carrot discs to the exposed ends of the toothpicks for “wheels.” You may fill the inside of the celery car with raisins as well for sweetness.
4. Vegetable Sculptures.
Finally, rather than having to make vegetable sculptures yourself, invite your children to make their own. Provide different cuts of vegetables (such as cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and more), toothpicks, and peanut butter as the building blocks for their creations. They will have fun putting together their snacks as well as eating them afterwards.
5. Carrot “Chips.”
It is no secret that kids and adults alike enjoy potato chips. However, they are high in calories and typically empty in nutrients. Make carrot chips instead to satisfy your childrens’ cravings, as these chips will deliver the crispy satisfaction they desire and do it with fewer calories and more vitamins. Thinly slice up a pound of carrots, making each slice about 1/4 of an inch. You can slice them into straight discs or diagonally for more visual interest. Sprinkle the carrots with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss them onto a baking sheet. Top the carrots with coarse salt and bake them in a 200 degree oven for about half an hour. Let them cool down before serving, and you should have salty-sweet crunchy chips that your kids will love to munch on.
6. Kale “Chips.
While the carrot chips are denser, kale(form of cabbage) chips more closely imitate the lightness of potato chips. Make sure that your kale is dry after you rinse it. Cut out the stem of the plant, and then cut the leaves into big pieces. These will shrink as they bake, so be sure to not make them too small. Toss the leaves in about a tablespoon of olive oil, then spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the kale with some coarse salt and bake it in a 150 degree oven for 20 minutes. The resulting chips will be light and crispy, and the natural bitterness of the kale will all but disappear.
7. Carrot Slaw.
Kids will often crave sweetness, and carrots can be a healthy option. Carrot slaw is essentially a carrot and raisin salad, bound together with a bit of mayonnaise. Combine a cup of shredded carrots, 1/4 cups of raisins, 1/8 cups of low-fat mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon sugar. You can even add some sunflower seeds to the mixture for additional crunch!
8. Raw Vegetable Sticks.
Easy handling is something that kids look for in a snack. One of the best ways to make vegetables accessible is to slice them up into easy to grab and eat sticks. Carrots, zucchinis, and capsicum are all great vegetables that you can cut into sticks. Cut up several of these and make sure that you always have them ready to go at the front of the refrigerator. This way, your children will grow accustomed to grabbing them whenever they are hungry between meals.
9. Serve Veggies with Dips.
Another great way to make raw vegetables more appealing is to serve them with various dips. Tzatzki and hummus are two popular kid-friendly dips that you can have out with a plate of raw vegetables to encourage your children to snack on healthy veggies.
10. Roasted Chickpea Bites.
Chickpeas are full of proteins and zinc, as well as dietary fibre. All of these factors will keep your children fuller between meals. Roasted chickpea bites are crunchy and salty, which will keep your children satisfied. Drain a can of chickpeas and rinse them off. Pat the beans dry and toss them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, top them with some garlic salt, and bake the chickpeas in a hot oven (230 degrees Celsius) for about half an hour. The roasted chickpeas will make your children forget all about the bag of potato chips in the pantry!
What veggie snacks do your kids enjoy?