Today’s post is brought to you by my friend and fellow registered dietitian, Kristy! As a mom with young kids herself, we’re always chatting up delicious and nutritious ways to feed our kids [and keep our sanity]. Kristy has experience with school-age children so I thought it would be fitting for her to share her expertise with you all! Don’t forget to head on over to her blog, Chocolate Slopes, [and check out her recipe for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Croissants, HELLO!].
My son is in his second year of preschool and we are required to bring a snack for the class about once a month. Now being a dietitian, I cringe a little when I think of the type of snacks my son will be eating all year. Now that’s not to say the preschool’s welcome letter didn’t suggest healthy snacks, it’s just that I know parents, and a LOT do not know what or how to provide healthy snacks for preschoolers.
I believe the mentality or mindset of what a snack is defined as needs to change. The definition of “snack” does NOT = sweets/junk food. A “snack” is a smaller portion of food eaten between meals. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of “snack” is a small amount of food eaten between meals. Nowhere does it state that a snack is defined as a treat, sweet or dessert. Unfortunately many people believe that a snack is just that – a dessert. When it comes to the preschool age (3-5 year olds), they have small stomachs and need food every few hours. This leads to eating about 6 times a day, 3 meals and 3 snacks.
Examples of Healthy Snacks for Preschoolers:
- Clementines – they are the perfect size for kids and easy to peel
- Bananas – easy to eat, little mess
- Any seasonal fresh fruit – apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, blueberries
- Whole grain cereal (e.g. Cheerios, Kix) with milk
- Cheese slices or cheese sticks with whole grain crackers
- Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
- Yogurt with fresh fruit
- Hummus with carrots – kids love to dip!
- Raw vegetables (carrots, peppers, cucumber) with ranch dip
- Whole wheat mini bagels with light cream cheese
A favorite snack in my house for my 3- and 4-year-old and are these homemade No-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bites. Of course if there are peanut allergies within your own home or in your children’s school, feel free to substitute another kind of butter such as soy nut butter or sunflower seed butter in place of peanut butter.
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
- ⅓ cup honey
- ½ cup flaxseed, ground
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup raisins OR ½ cup Reese’sTM Peanut Butter chips
- Mix peanut butter, honey and oats together.
- Add vanilla extract, flaxseed and raisins (or peanut butter chips). Mix until combined.
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until chilled. Form dough into about 1 inch balls.
- Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
What type of snacks have you brought to school for your kids and their classmates?