Got a finicky eater? Or maybe your kids are just getting a little bored with the same old sandwiches? Here are some fun twists on snacks to get healthy fruits and vegetables into your children while having some good creative fun in the kitchen.
- Shish Kabobs
You know how cute food on skewers can be, whether they’re in the shape of those little plastic swords, or simple swizzle sticks, they all suddenly become tiny little shish kabobs when you slide pieces of fruits or vegetables onto them. You can turn snack time into a kiddie cookout with these adorable treats, making them a fun choice for birthday parties and sleepovers.
Some recommended fruits for skewers would be: strawberries cut into bite-sized chunks, pineapple pieces, Clementine orange slices, pitted cherries, grapes, kiwi rounds, banana slices, apple pieces, raspberries and blueberries.
Bonus: Give the kids small dipping bowls full of yogurt. Kids love to dip!
When I was a child, my mom would make the most delicious fruit pizza by using sugar cookie dough as “pizza dough,” baking it into a giant pizza-sized cookie, and then covering it with cream cheese and pieces of fruit. It was an absolutely delicious dessert.
Now you can make a healthier, mini-version of this treat by using whole grain English muffins instead of the sugar cookie. Just toast an the muffin, spread cream cheese on it, and place cut up pieces of fruit into the cream cheese to make it look like a tiny, fruity pizza. Kids will love the novelty of having a mini-pizza for breakfast, and you can feel good about getting some healthy fruit and whole grains into them.
These also double as an afternoon snack or dinner if you use marinara or pizza sauce instead of the cream cheese, and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella. If you can get some mushrooms and green peppers on them as well, even better!
Wraps cut into pinwheels are an adorable and easy-to-eat alternative to the daily lunchbox sandwich. Just spread hummus or cream cheese across a tortilla, then layer on fresh baby spinach, thinly-sliced tomato, and ham or turkey deli meat (or cheese if you have a vegetarian). After rolling your tortilla into a tight burrito shape, slice it into circles or pinwheels, and place them into your child’s plastic sandwich box for a fun surprise.
- Rainbow Pasta Salad
Children love rainbows and bright colors. It’s all about presentation with kids, and if you can serve them something happy and cheerful, you have a much better chance of getting them to eat it. This is where the rainbow pasta salad comes in. You know the spiral-shaped noodles that come in spinach green, carrot orange and beet red? So pretty.
These noodles can be cooked and served warm in a kid-friendly butter sauce, with fresh tomatoes, peas or carrots. It can also be served as a cold pasta salad if you prefer. Rather than mixing in vinaigrette dressing as you might for an adult’s cold pasta salad, mix in a light amount of ranch dressing, or any other dressing your child likes.
- Toothpick Party
It’s hors d’oeuvres for little people who can’t spell “hors d’oeuvres,” and somehow that just makes it really cute. Cube cheese, fruit, meats and vegetables, stick toothpicks into everything, and voila! Now it’s a party. The novelty of being able to grab a variety of different foods and the instant gratification of “toothpick nibbling” will entice the pickiest eater into trying new foods, and give any occasion a fun, celebratory feel.
Sometimes all it takes to get hesitant children to try new foods is a fresh perspective and a little creative fun. Give these funky, fresh ideas a try, and maybe your kids will find a new favorite snack today.