Friday, February 25, 2011

Snacks, Snacks, Snacks

There are two types of snacks in our house, healthy snacks and treats. 

I really try not to buy too many treats.  The less treats in the house, the more healthy snacks the kids eat.  I am, however, human.  I like chocolate and cookies.   How could I let myself eat a square of chocolate and tell my kids they can’t!?!  I don’t.  We just made a little rule in my house.  You need to eat a healthy snack, before you get a treat.  About 90% of the time, this works.   Another thing I do, I look at their day as a whole.  If my daughter had a great breakfast, lunch and all healthy snacks throughout the day, I’ll let her have the cookies.  I’m trying to teach them about balance and moderation. 

So, what counts as a “healthy snack” at my house?

  1. Fruit
  2. Vegetables
  3. Cheese
  4. Yogurt
  5. Humus – The kids recently discovered how much they love this.   I can’t keep it in the house!  It’s the first snack they go for when they see it in the refrigerator.  It’s gone the same day we buy it.  We dip carrots, celery or triscuits in it.  Any other suggestions on what we could dip?  

Our favorite is the roasted red pepper Sabra!

That's it, that’s how simple it is.  These are also knows as, “anytime snacks”.  Around here that means if dinner is in 30 minutes and you can’t wait, pick one of the above.  These are also the 5 groups they can choose from for a snack for school.  They are a contained audience in school.  It’s them and what is in that lunch box.  If you want your kids to eat less junk, start with not putting any in their lunchboxes.  Then, when they get home, if they want a cookie or some pretzels or chips, you won’t feel so bad. 

I won’t list the “treats” as that list could go on forever.  I do try to buy cookies that do not have high fructose corn syrup in them.  Also, they LOVE the Trader Joe’s Honey Wheat Pretzel Twists.  

Sometimes, we combine the treat and the healthy snack, i.e., apples and nutella... oh and those honey wheat pretzels and nutella is delicious, but that's more of a treat-treat!!!!  

One of my favorite snacks to make for the kids is vegetables and dip.  We discovered a few months back that plain greek yogurt can replace sour cream as a dip base and it tastes delicious!  While it’s not natural, healthy or any of the things I’m trying to feed my kids, I love love love Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix (it’s a dry mix and comes in a packet near the salad dressing) and use it as a seasoning for several things.  Mix some of that in with the plain greek yogurt and let the kids dip, dip, dip! 

My kids are also huge fans of cut up fruit.  R will eat an entire quart of strawberries or blueberries in one sitting, if I let him.  Mangoes are like gold in my house.  Once I learned to ripen and cut up a mango, there was no going back! 

We also don’t buy junk food yogurt.  Trix yogurt is not a healthy snack!  My kids love love love greek yogurt.   They eat the plain, sweetened with honey.  They love the ones with fruit and fight over who is getting the last of their favorite flavors.  I spend approximately $25 every 2 weeks on yogurt.  Think about how much a bag of chips cost.  The big ones are about $4-5 each.  Would 5 of those feed your kids snacks for 2 weeks, without going stale?  I know that when we have chips, they last one day.  So, if I were to give my kids chips everyday for a snack, it would cost me a lot more than buying them yogurt!  I can't wait to get more into comparing the cost of healthy food and junk food.... I'll save that for another day, though!

Having fruit and a big bag of baby carrots in the house at all times is a big help to them and me.  They each have their favorites.  L loves apples, R is a berry boy & J is a basic apple, orange, banana kid. 

Another favorite around here, which we also serve for breakfast, “banana splits”:
·         Take 1 whole banana and slice it in half long ways.
·         Using an ice cream scoop, scoop 2 small scoops of yogurt onto the banana.
·         Top with sliced strawberries, blueberries, peaches, pineapple, or whatever fruit you love.
·         Drizzle a little bit of honey to make “caramel”
·         Sprinkle some granola or nuts for some crunch.
You would not believe how filling this is!  It’s delicious, good for you and so easy to make.  You could also sprinkle some mini-chocolate chips on it, for fun. 

Never underestimate the power of a stick!!!!

Putting a snack on a stick, or even just serving it with toothpicks makes it more fun and appealing!
Fruit and cheese kebabs!
Cheese and cherry tomatoes speared onto a toothpick
Melting some cheese and using a skewer to dip some veggies into it.
Especially, if you have a boy, Sticks = FUN!!!!!

We don't have to deprive our kids of the fun treats, just balance them out with something good. :)  I am looking forward to sharing more snack ideas as I find them.  I'm also REALLY looking forward to some feedback and suggestions!  Tell us what your kids' favorites are!


  1. Kris-I would recommend making your own hummus so it's cheaper and lower fat. I make a hummus recipe and you can have 1/2 cup for 2-3 points depending on how you make it. I use silken tofu in it, no oil and just a little bit of sesame tahini. Here's a link to the recipe:

  2. Thanks so much, Katy! You haven't steered me wrong with a recipe yet, so I'll definitely try it! :)