What are some high protein snacks that are quick, kid friendly and inexpensive?

It is great that you are interested in feeding your kids healthy snacks. Many studies show that children consuming a typical American diet (which is generally very high in sugar and trans fats) have lower IQ scores than kids who eat healthier foods. Many parents tell me that they want to feed their kids well but are frequently confused as to what constitutes a “good” snack over one that is not going to help their kids thrive. To start one’s quest for healthy snacks, I would advise my clients to steer clear of the “snack” food aisle. Here lies a plethora of potato chips, cheese curls, pork rinds, nacho chips, and buttery popcorn options. It is true…amongst some of these high fat/high salt snacks are baked and low sodium options, but even these are still not at the top of my list of healthy kid-friendly snacks. Healthy snacks for kids should contain a mixture of three things: protein, healthy fat, and carbohydrate. So, steer your cart past the snack aisle and peruse the perimeter! There you will find many tasty and healthy options. Your kids might enjoy a ½ cup of cottage cheese (or Greek yogurt) topped with blueberries and sunflower seeds. Bring out the blender and combine a low sugar fruit juice (Healthy Balance from Old Orchard), ½ a banana, plain yogurt, and ice for another tasty treat (add keifer for extra protein!). Hard boiled eggs or tuna fish mix up well with a little bit of light mayonnaise and can be placed inside half of a whole grain pita. Another great snack idea is to think “finger foods”. Kids love to eat with their hands so provide them with a variety of options to pair together such as: string cheese and trail mix; sliced cheese wrapped around low sodium lunch meat, paired with dried fruit; a handful of almonds and a pear; sliced apples dipped in peanut butter.

One of the most important things to get your kids to eat healthy snacks is to introduce healthy foods early on in their life and reintroduce various foods if you are met with resistance at first. Talk to your kids about why various foods are good for them and then lead by example by choosing healthy foods yourself. Get your kids involved in the grocery shopping experience and get creative in the kitchen by trying new recipes and letting your child create his or her own dish. It is also a good idea to not focus too much on eating/food and make sure to find fun family activities to “do” together. Getting your kids moving (in addition to the before mentioned snack ideas) will help your child grow and develop healthfully.

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