Kids are back in school, so on the front of your mind might be school lunches and after-school snacks. We’ve got you covered. Not long ago, I did a blog about healthy snacks that wouldn’t cost you a whole lot.
It seems challenging to feed children healthy snacks without spending a lot of money. It’s easier, and cheaper, to grab a few cookies or a bag of chips than it is to get your kids’ hands on something that’s good for them, right? Or, you might even turn to 100-calorie snack packs, but are they good options?
Dr. Paige Espenship, a nutrionist and dietician with offices in Kennesaw and Atlanta, answers these questions. We put her to the challenge, asking her to come up with a list of 10 healthy, kid-friendly snacks for a $1. She offered these suggestions, making note that the items are about $1 per serving:
1. Paper Bag Popcorn. Kids can pop their own popcorn in a brown paper lunch sack and then season the popcorn how they like it. Just add 1/4 cup (or 3 tablespoons) of popcorn to a brown paper bag, roll the bag over twice and put a staple on each side to keep it closed. Microwave for 3.5 minutes (I know what you are thinking, but two staples are fine in the microwave). It is easy, cheap and extremely healthy. Let your kids get creative about how to season their own popcorn. Maybe garlic and rosemary or cumin and coriander?
Makes 1 serving
2. “Ants on a Log”. This classic snack is cheap and healthy. Just spread one large stalk of celery with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and place 10 to 15 raisins on top of the peanut butter. Your kids will love it.
Makes 1 serving
3. Pita Pizza. This recipe goes over very well with everyone who likes pizza. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spoon 2 or 3 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce (to get even healthier, puree extra veggies into your sauce ahead of time). Top the sauce with some kid friendly veggies like chopped broccoli, squash and zucchini. Top with 1/4 cup low fat mozzarella cheese. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The perfect after school snack.
Makes 1 serving
4. Hummus with veggies. This snack is delicious and healthy for everyone in the family. In a food processor, add 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 can rinsed chickpeas, and 1/2 package or 1 cup silken tofu. Add 1/4 cup of fresh herbs like basil or cilantro. Puree until smooth. Serve with veggies such as cucumber, bell peppers, celery, carrots and broccoli.
makes 3 servings
5. Super Healthy Fruit Smoothie. This is a refreshing treat, especially in the summer. A great alternative to ice cream and much easier on the waistline. In a blender add 1/2 cup of frozen fruit, 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp of honey. Puree until smooth and enjoy.
makes 1 serving
6. Soynuts. An alternative to peanuts, soynuts contain more fiber and protein and less fat than peanuts. The next time your kids want something crunchy try these.
1 serving= 1/4 cup
7. Whole Wheat Pita chips. These crunchy chips can be seasoned any way your kids want and they are the perfect snack with lots of fiber and plenty of B vitamins. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pita into triangular wedges and brush with just a little bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper or to spice it up try cumin and paprika. Bake on a cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes until crispy.
1 pita = 1 serving
8. Hard Boiled Egg. Although eggs are a significant source of saturated fat and cholesterol, the protein, vitamins and minerals in eggs are extremely high quality. Hard boiled eggs are cheap and easy.
Serving= 1 egg
9. Apple and peanut butter. Another cheap healthy and easy option. An apple and peanut butter is the perfect balance of carbs, protein and fat for a quick snack.
Serving= 1 medium apple and 2 tbsp peanut butter
10. Yogurt. As simple as it seems, a container of yogurt can be one of the best ways to ward off hunger before your kids next meal. Yogurt contains a significant source of potassium, carbohydrate and protein. Look for yogurts that are close to 100 calories and do not contain artificial sweetners like asulfame potassium, aspartame, or sucralose. For the healthiest choice, try adding 1 tbsp of honey to 6 ounces of plain yogurt.