10 Strange But Healthy Snacks for Kids
While children are starving in many countries around the globe, childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. Some will say this is a good problem to have and a sign that our country is prosperous, but extremely overweight kids are at risk for serious health problems. The abundance and convenience of unhealthy snacks like chips, candy, cookies and other processed foods make it difficult for parents to promote healthy eating habits in their children. For those kids who are bored with plain old fresh fruit and veggies, here are some strange but healthy snacks they might enjoy.
- Trail mix – Make your own trail mix and alternate ingredients so that it doesn’t get boring. Have a variety of dried fruits and nuts that you can use in different combinations. Add some low sugar cereals to add extra texture and flavor or some popcorn for pizzazz.
- Edamame – These green soybeans are popular in Japanese restaurants and can be really fun for kids. They can be found in the freezer section of the grocery or natural foods stores. Steam them in the pods, and sprinkle heavily with sea salt. Children love to pop out the bean seeds for a protein filled snack.
- Hummus – This spread made from chickpeas and olive oil is a favorite in the mid-east, but is rapidly catching on in America and other western countries. Introduce it to your kids for a healthy alternative to high fat dips. Hummus is great with raw vegetables like carrots and celery.
- Dragonfruit – Known as pitahaya in Nicaragua, the dragonfruit is a cactus fruit from Central America, but also grown in Southeast Asia. The fruit is bright red with little black seeds and has a sweet-tart taste something like kiwi. If you warn them about it first, your kids might get a kick out of the harmless side effect of their pee turning pink.
- Salsa roll ups – For a strange, yet festive, Christmas snack, mix salsa with cream cheese and spread it thinly on green and red tortillas. Your kids will love the bright colors and won’t even realize they’re eating something healthy.
- Ground cherries – You won’t find these delicious berry-like fruits in a store, but they are grown quite easily in gardens or pots. The bright yellow or orange cherries are enclosed in a tan colored husk shaped like a Chinese lantern. Kids will enjoy popping the cherries out of their papery husks and into their mouths for a sweet to tart unique flavor.
- Radish sandwich – This healthy snack can be enjoyed by kids and their parents alike. Spread low fat mayonnaise on bread slices and add sliced radishes for a crunchy sandwich. Most people would think it’s strange to put radishes in a sandwich, but it makes a fun summertime snack.
- Roasted pumpkin seeds – Don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds after you make jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween. Separate the seeds from the fibers and coat with vegetable oil and butter. Sprinkle with salt and bake them on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. You can also buy shelled pumpkin seeds in health food stores.
- Peanut butter and pickle sandwich – Known as a strange craving for pregnant women, peanut butter and pickle sandwiches are a delicious, healthy snack for kids of all ages. Spread the peanut butter on both slices of bread and put sliced, crunchy pickles in between.
- Pinyon pine nuts – These tasty little nuts are actually the seeds found in the cones from the Pinyon pines that grow in the Southwest United States. Originally harvested by Native Americans, they now can be found in stores if you don’t live in an area where they grow naturally.
Active children need plenty of calories to maintain energy and grow, so snacking is an important part of their daily nutritional needs. With all the unhealthy options available, it isn’t easy to get them to eat healthy snacks unless you start early. By introducing fun and healthy alternatives when they’re young, kids won’t be as likely to balk at the idea. Although you want your children to eat healthy, don’t go overboard. Kids who get enough exercise will burn off the extra fat and calories from the occasional chips or Twinkies.
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