We all know the impact that a busy family lifestyle can have on maintaining a healthy diet. On the one hand, a quick bag of chips when you’re rushing out the door seems like the easiest solution, but when it comes to your family, it’s important to weigh the consequences that unhealthy choices can have on long-term health. Although it may seem difficult to stray from the easy, pre-made solutions you can buy in the center aisles of any grocery store, the health benefits of nutritious foods and snacks are well worth the tiny bit of extra work. With a few of the following tips, making healthy foods will not only be fun and easy, but most importantly delicious! Here are a few helpful tips to get your kiddos eating those healthy snacks.
Step One: Meal Prep. Yes, I said it. Although our weekends fill up quickly, this is typically the best period during the week to set aside some time to prepare food. Now, I know many of you may be rolling your eyes and saying, “Absolutely not, we don’t have time for that,” but I promise you- it is well worth it. Like the start of any new habit, the first few weeks are the toughest and require diligence and dedication to initiate this lifestyle change. But think of it this way: an hour or so of meal prep at some point over the weekend allows extra time for read aloud before bed, or an extra 20-30 minutes of self-care time for after the kids are asleep and you’ve just had a long day doing your own thing. That time at night you used to spend making lunch sides can now be spent with your feet up, beverage in hand, to help you unwind. Get creative with your new-found time! Not only will this give you more personal time, but it will also help grow healthy children. Take it slow; start with prepping snacks for one or two days of the week, and see how your evolution as a meal prepper unfolds. It is also helpful to keep a folder in your kitchen with recipes, so that you have everything in one place. If you are switching between magazines, cookbooks, and recipes on your computer, it will get confusing and take much longer.
So, to start, here are a few recipes for those kids that like to push their fruit and vegetables to the side of their plate each night and refuse those “yucky’’ food groups. These ideas can help make healthy food fun for the kids! Every fun shape, animal, or face created increases the chances that your child will take a bite. Take a chance and relish in the rewards.
Frozen Blueberry Bites
2 ingredients – does it get any simpler? And the best part: it tastes like a frozen dessert!
All you will need to prep these quick, on-the-go friendly snacks are yogurt, blueberries, and a freezer. You can use your favorite choice of yogurt: flavored or plain. Drop the desired amount of blueberries into the yogurt and fish out with a toothpick. Place the yogurt covered blueberry on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place in freezer.
Pull out on a hot day for a quick snack during your swim break or bring a cooler filled with them for your next picnic.
A great alternative to chips and only 4 ingredients! This recipe does require oat flour. If you don’t have oat flour readily available, you can create your own oat flour by grinding oats in a food processor. It is so easy, and it takes seconds.
You will need
• 200g grated carrots (around 1 1/2 packed cups)
• 1/2 cup water
• 70 g grated cheddar cheese (1/2 cup)
• 2 eggs
• 4 tbsp oat flour
1. Pre heat oven to 180C / 350F
2. Mixed the carrot and water in a bowl, cover and microwave on high for 3 mins
3. Drain the carrots and then place them on a clean cloth / absorbent paper and squeeze out the liquid. (You need to get the carrots quite dry)
4. Place the carrots back in the bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients
5. Prepare a baking tray with baking paper or use a silicon baking sheet
6. Form star shapes of the mixture onto the sheet using a cookie cutter. (Mine were around 1/2 cm thick)
7. Bake for approx. 13 mins (until crispy on the sides)
Peanut Butter Cheerio Clusters
Super quick to throw in a bag and make for a great pre practice energy snack. In a bowl, melt 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey) and 1/4 cup peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 to 45 seconds, until smooth. Add 3/4 cup Honey Nut Cheerios (or another lightly sweetened whole grain cereal) to the bowl and toss to coat. Dollop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Set aside to harden, about 10 minutes. If your child has a nut allergy or you prefer to replace the peanut butter with a seed butter, a good substitution could be sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seed butter or raw tahini.
Cheesy Quinoa Crackers
They are great to add to lunchboxes or to have out and about for a snack.
•80g (1 cup) Quinoa Flakes
• 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
• 100g Butter
• 100g (1 cup) Cheddar Cheese grated
• 135g (1 cup) Spelt Flour
• 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
• 3 tbsp Milk
1. Preheat Oven to 180C / 350f and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Add the quinoa flakes and sesame seeds to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
3. Add the butter, cheese, flour and baking powder and pulse until crumbly. Add the milk and continue to process until the mixture comes together.
4. Gently knead the dough on a floured surface and then roll, between sheets of baking paper, until approx 5mm thick.
5. Cut out desired shapes using cookie cutters.
6. Bake for approx 12 mins, or until lightly golden.
7. Allow to cool for approx 2 mins before transferring to racks to completely cool.