As busy parents juggling the responsibilities of having children with other expectations of being an adult, we don’t always have time to pick the healthiest snacks for our kids. When shopping for groceries, we too often reach for packaged, factory-created snacks because they are convenient, but we fail to recognize that many of the foods we grew up with may not be the right choice for our children.
At Strong Start Early Learning Center, Connecticut’s best early childhood development school, we know that choosing healthy snacks for growing bodies and minds can be a challenging process. In today’s blog, we’ll be discussing some of the best alternatives to the salty and fatty snacks that crowd supermarket shelves.
Celery Sticks With Raisins And Nut Butter
Also known as Ants On A Log, it only takes a few minutes to prepare this classic school snack. Spread some nut butter onto a celery stick, throw on some raisins, and your child has got a healthy treat that’s ready to eat. Just make sure you grab a napkin!
As any kid will tell you, you can’t go wrong with a little bag of fresh mixed fruit. Maximize the nutritional value of this snack by adding “super fruits” to your child’s favorite mixes, such as blueberries, banana, grapefruit, and pineapple. It might turn out a little too messy for kids to eat with their fingers, but you can always grab a fork and plastic cup for them on your way out the door.
For an extra-special addition, throw in some frozen grapes! They add a wonderfully cooling addition to any mixed fruit concoction, and kids love the crunch it makes in their mouths.
Whole Wheat Pretzels With Nut Butter
Whole grains are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but most kids don’t get enough of any of these in their daily diets. Whole wheat and gluten-free pretzels have all of these nutrients, in addition to packing a lot more fiber than regular pretzels normally contain. Spoon some organic nut butter on top, and you’ve got a savory, crunchy snack that children love.
All-Natural Sausage Snacks
Avoid the beef jerky or smoked meats and grab some all-natural sausage sticks for your child instead. They come in a surprising variety of seasoned flavors and can be found in beef, turkey, and even vegan varieties. Compared to their less-healthy counterparts, all-natural, organic sausage sticks have much less sodium and are much lighter on preservatives. They’re also perfect for young meat lovers who need a protein kick at the last minute.
Nut Butter And Apple Slices
Another classic kid’s snack that’s great for adults too. Slice one whole green apple and spread some nut butter on top, and you’ve got a wholesome, delicious treat that fills up stomachs fast. What kid doesn’t enjoy the sweet-and-salty taste combination of this one?
We’re not talking about the kind you buy in a can. Mixed nuts (without all the salt and preservatives you usually find in prepackaged containers) are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats for kids and adults. The wonderful thing about nuts is that they all taste fantastic mixed together, so you can never go wrong picking and choosing your favorites from your local grocer’s bulk section.
As long as you’re avoiding the brands that love to throw massive amounts of high fructose corn syrup into their products, fruit cups can be a deliciously healthy snack for children. Look for cups at the grocery store that contain no added sugars and preservatives, and you’re good to go. Kids love sweet treats, so you can never go wrong with fruit cups!
Eggs are easy to prepare for on-the-go eating: just boil them, peel them, and store them in the fridge for the next snack time. Although eggs have gotten a pretty bad reputation over the last couple of decades due to various studies linking them to high cholesterol, recent research has shown that eating them in moderation does not affect a child’s risk for heart disease or other health issues.
These days, the yogurt section at your local grocery store is a lot different than it used to be. With consumers becoming more health-conscious, companies are going out of their way to make their yogurt with less sugar, fats, and preservatives. Whichever brand of yogurt you choose for your child, stay away from those with more than 16-20 grams of sugar and look for the ones that will provide plenty of protein and at least 25% of the calcium your child needs throughout the day.
Get Your Child A Healthy Education At Strong Start Early Learning Center
With our convenient location in Trumbull and another opening in Shelton later in 2020, the childhood education experts at Strong Start Early Learning Center are ready and able to give your child the pre-K learning they deserve. In addition to a robust preschool program, we offer other programs that align with CT Early Learning and Development Standards such as an infant daycare, early toddler education, the Two’s Program for your two-year-old, and early childhood education enrichment classes. We even have a fun summer school program for your child after the school season ends!
To schedule an appointment to take a tour of our school, or if you have any general questions, contact us today — we’d be glad to show you around the campus!