With a national focus on how to cure the childhood obesity “epidemic,” low calorie snacks for kids that should definitely be on a parent’s mind. Here are some snacks that your kids will truly enjoy that are low calorie and fun to eat.
Pita chips and hummus. Not exactly something a lot of people think of when they think kid snacks, pita chips and hummus are a huge hit in our household. The pita chips can be purchased from almost any grocery store now in a variety of flavors, but better still to make them yourselves. Kids love to cook, and these tasty chips are very easy to make. Pita bread has a pocket on the inside. Simply slice around the sides of a piece of pita bread so that there is two equal halves (we usually use scissors to get it started, but a knife will do). Cut each half into triangular shaped “chips.” As an added bonus, we use a pizza cutter so that our daughter can help out with this. Place the chips with the rough side that used to be in the center pocket up on a pan. Mix olive oil with seasoning of your choice (rosemary, thyme, pepper, etc.) in a separate bowl and spread on each pita chip. You can add butter, which helps the seasoning to stick better, but it is not as healthy. Cook at 350 degrees until pita is crisp (about 5-7 minutes). Hummus is easy to purchase at any grocery store in a variety of flavors, and kids love dipping chips in anything. This is much healthier than greasy potato chips and sour cream dip!
Fun fruit bowl. This is a fun spin on fruit salad that will have your kid begging to make more. Take a half of a watermelon. Clear out the inside (a spoon works well, but you can make watermelon balls by using a melon baler for a more exciting treat). Chop up fruit of your choice and place inside the watermelon. Viola! Instant fruit salad that looks great, and you have a wonderful low calorie snack for your child.
Super yogurt parfait. Although yogurt purchased at a store with prepackaged fruit is a relatively healthy treat, it’s still loaded with preservatives and extra calories. Purchasing plain yogurt and mixing in fresh fruit is much healthier. You can add vanilla extract or use vanilla yogurt, though this adds to the calories of this low calorie treat. To keep this a fun low calorie treat for kids, you can alternate yogurt with fruits like strawberries and blueberries, then put granola on top.
Organic cheese puffs. These are sold under a multitude of names, including Pirate Booty and Trader Joe’s Buccaneer Joe’s Unburied Treasure. With several different flavors from which to choose, these are a surprisingly low calorie treat that is a big hit with kids. At just 140 calories a serving, and a serving size that is quite a lot larger than most snacks, we rarely feel guilty letting our daughter consume this treat.
Yogurt dipped bananas. By taking a peeled banana and dipping it in yogurt, you’ve not only given your child a low calorie snack but also given him a fun activity to do. You can also roll this in crushed cereal, or even use sprinkles, which do not overload on calories. Freeze for an extra tasty but slightly less messy snack.
Serving snacks to children should be a great way to introduce new foods into their diet. Besides the above ideas, you can also serve fresh fruit or raw vegetables. Many kids are more willing to try things like carrots or snap beans if they’re presented as a “snack” than as a side to a meal. Keeping healthy, low calorie snacks readily accessible will allow kids the ability to choose these more often than the higher calorie snacks. Teaching a child to eat right from the beginning is a great way to avoid future weight issues, and providing low calorie snacks is a great way to start this trend off right.