Eating a well-balanced diet is always a good choice for anyone, but it’s especially important for children. Their organs are still forming, and what they eat is what becomes their blood, tissue, and cells. Because of this, a high nutrient-rich diet, along with nutrient-rich snacks is highly recommended.
Some of the best healthy kid snacks you can eat are simply organic fresh fruits or vegetables, washed carefully and cut up into bite-sized pieces. One idea you can prepare ahead of time is to place about half a cup of orange slices, grapes, raisins, pitted dates, celery sticks, or carrot sticks, etc. into small snack containers or ziplock baggies. You can snack on them at home, or grab them quickly on your way out the door for healthy snacks throughout the week. It is so much easier when they are ready to go!
Raisins and pitted dates are both good sources of carbohydrates for energy. Dates are an excellent source of potassium, sulphur, iron, and magnesium. Raisins are also rich in B vitamins, iron, and potassium. This might seem surprising, but compounds found in raisins fight bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities and gum disease.
Smoothies are another easy, delicious way to get intense nutrition.
Preparing them with the proper amount of healthy fats, super foods,
and protein will make them nutrient-dense and full of vitamins and minerals.
Hummus is a high-fiber, protein-rich food that is easy and inexpensive to make or buy. I make mine with a variety of beans. Hummus goes well with whole-grain, gluten-free crackers, chips, cut-up vegetables, (such as red bell peppers or sliced cucumbers), pita chips, etc. I also use hummus as a sandwich spread. It is a delicious, high-protein staple to keep around for emergency snacks or meals.
Avocado or guacamole is another nutrient-dense, healthy dip or sandwich spread you can serve with cut-up veggies, crackers, or chips. My grandson has mashed up avocado as baby food, for a whole meal and loves it. An avocado is a kind of perfect food. The avocado is a great source of potassium, Vitamin K, B, C, and E. One avocado has around 4 grams of protein. The avocado is also a great source of mono-unsaturated fat, which is considered a good fat. Healthy fats provide the body with energy, and support brain function.
I frequently take raw, freshly-washed green beans or raw okra, and rub
or sprinkle unrefined sea salt on them to make a great snack! Green beans have an insulin-type effect on the body, so they make particularly good snacks for anyone who has to be concerned with regulating their blood sugar. Raw okra is really delicious eaten raw.
Be sure to wait until right before you eat them to put the salt on them, as the salt will make the foods soggy if put on too early, or stored too long. I also keep a tiny bag or container of mineral-rich, unrefined sea salt in my purse to use when dining out. Fruits and vegetables can taste more delicious, and the body will actually absorb more nutrients (like potassium) from the food when mineral-rich salt is added. Always AVOID the white, refined salt.
Some children really crave crackers or chips. I have found some new chips and crackers that are made with sprouted, organic seeds, nuts, grains, etc. without canola oil or vegetable oil.
I do not buy or recommend foods made with canola oil (a GMO product), or vegetable oil. Most vegetable oils, the ones that don’t list the ingredients, will contain cottonseed oil, which is not a food (and in my opinion, should not be allowed in food products), and can be toxic from the high levels of glyphosate sprayed on the crops. Most cottonseed is not organically grown either. So, I recommend taking your reading glasses and checking the ingredients label on the back of the package, to make sure to avoid these ingredients.
Also, they have recently come out with some new, delicious, healthier types of chips that are made with sprouted seeds, vegetables, potatoes, grains, and nuts. One of my favorite brands of chips is called Late July. Just be sure to look for organic, non-GMO, sprouted, multi-grain chips.
Now, if you are buying gluten-free chips, make sure there isn’t a huge amount of sugar in them. One teaspoon of sugar can shut down yours and your child’s immune system for 5 hours. It is so important to always check the sugar content in your foods. Also, the type of sugar is important. Sucrose and fructose, as an added sugar (not in a fruit naturally), can affect your health in dramatic ways. Fructose, for instance, affects the way your body makes insulin, which can contribute to diabetes.
In addition, high levels of fructose added to products can actually make the “insulin” hormone tell cancer cells to use it as food. This will make the cancer tumors accelerate their growth. A fructose like high fructose corn syrup or agave, (which has higher fructose than high fructose corn syrup), is too high a sugar for our body to handle in a healthy way.
Fructose that is added to foods can also make the body create plaque in the arteries, causing heart disease problems. Having natural fructose in fruit is healthy, but added sugar can cause all kinds of health-related problems. Always be on the lookout for sugar in processed foods and try to avoid them.
Always be careful to avoid artificial ingredients and additives like dyes, flavorings, growth hormones and antibiotics (given to animals), and toxins from the ocean or environment (as in fish). They can be toxic to you and your child.
In 1994, researchers found that 73 percent of children with ADHD responded favorably to an elimination diet that included removing artificial colors.
Increasingly since the 1960s, more people have come to depend on processed foods that contain colored dyes.
Many foods such as juices, soft drinks, candy, gelatins, breakfast cereals, baked and snack foods, salad dressings, frozen desserts, and even food you wouldn’t normally suspect, such as pickles or fresh produce, are coated in dye to make them look more pleasing.
Recently, a study by Purdue University showed some alarming things. “Until now, the amount of neurotoxic chemicals used in specific foods was a well-kept secret,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “I suspect that food manufacturers themselves don’t even know. But now it is clear that many children are consuming far more dyes than the amounts shown to ’cause behavioral problems in some children.’ The cumulative impact of so much dyed foods in children’s diets, from breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, is a partial reason why behavioral problems have become more common.”
“In 2011, the FDA acknowledged that food dyes (and other ingredients) cause behavioral problems in some children, but it has done nothing to protect children. Still, mounting public concerns about dyes has spurred several major companies to remove dyes in some of their foods. Kraft has removed food dyes from some child-oriented varieties of its Macaroni & Cheese, but not the most popular one. General Mills has removed dyes from Trix and Yoplait Go-Gurt yogurts. Chick-fil-A removed Yellow 5 from its chicken soup. Frito-Lay has removed dyes from Lay’s seasoned and kettle-cooked chips, Sun Chips, and Tostitos. Pepperidge Farm has removed dyes from its Goldfish Colors crackers.”
That doesn’t mean they have removed the dyes from other products, or that they have removed all the other harmful ingredients that may be in them, so please be aware of this. (I expand on this, and how it can affect your child’s brain health, as well as their behavior and physical growth in my award-winning, #1 best-selling book/ cookbook, “Raising Healthy Children.”)
If you are concerned about pesticides or the high cost of organically grown food, you can check out the list created by the Environmental Working Group, and their list of the worst foods that tested highest for pesticides. They call them the Dirty Dozen. They list them from worst to least. Some of the most toxic are: strawberries apples, celery, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines and grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, kale and collard greens.
The clean fifteen list of fruits and vegetables that had the lowest amount of pesticide residue were onions, sweet corn, pineapples, avocados, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, and mushrooms.
Also, what we give our children as comforting food, when they are sick or hurt, will be their “comfort food” in the future. They will crave those foods if they are having a tough or emotionally challenging time. It will remind them of the love they felt when you were giving it to them. So, if you want your child reaching for ice cream or high sugar cookies when they are older and having an emotionally challenging day, or if they are trying to avoid obesity, diabetes or cancer, be careful to choose healthy foods for them at all times. They will be grateful to you later in life.
I would give my children things like vegetable soup or healthy smoothies at those times. Thankfully, those are their comfort foods today, and they don’t have any weight or health problems.
In conclusion, fresh, organic whole food is best for a healthy kid snack, and if that is what they are eating, then that is what their tastes buds will adapt to love. Also, they watch what we do and eat. They may not always listen to us, but they will copy what we do. So, setting the example is of the utmost importance.
If you like this information, you may be interested in my award-winning book: Raising Healthy Children, It is a cookbook and a health book. It was a double winner this year. It won Best Parenting Book of the Year and Best Family Book of the Year, 2017 in the International Book Awards.
Here is one of my favorite recipes for you.
Serves six to eight.
I’m from Texas, and I love to eat guacamole. I use it as a dip or sandwich spread for meals, a healthy snack or appetizer. I always make it fresh and use it immediately.
I estimate 1⁄2 an avocado per person.
3-4 avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed.
1 small tomato chopped
1 tsp. sweet red onion, finely grated
1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp. Sensational Sea Salt Seasoning (Nancy’s mixture that naturally contains iodine to support thyroid function) or unrefined sea salt
- Mix all ingredients together well.
- Serve with healthy, organic cut up veggies (like sliced cucumber or red bell pepper) as the dipping chips, or multi grain, organic gluten-free tortilla chips.
Note: If you are not using immediately, place in container and put a piece of wax paper over the top. Seal it in a way that will not allow air to touch the surface. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container. Will keep about 1 day.
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