Make play dates tasty and fun with these delicious and nutritious healthy snacks for your little ones.
Make a “child fondue” with a bowl of natural yoghurt drizzled with honey, and surround it with a selection of dipping fruits; strawberries, apple slices, orange segments, sliced banana and grapes. Children love to get involved with their food, and it’s a fantastic way of getting them to eat more fruit in a fun and interactive way. Fruits are packed with glucose which keeps the little ones energised. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of eating different colours; orange to prevent colds, green for energy, yellow for eyesight and red for growing big and strong!
If it’s a beautifully sunny day, and your little ones are playing outside, they are going to want an ice lolly! Buy some plastic lolly moulds and fill them with either fresh fruit juice or yoghurt, and some chopped fresh fruits. Free of the added sugars and additives you find in the shop bought versions, and even more yummy.
Alternatively for a summer treat, make banana ice cream. This requires just one ingredient; you’ve guessed it- bananas! You simply need to get some ripe bananas, chop them up and freeze them for 1-2 hours, then blend them up in a food processor to make delicious, creamy ice cream. Magic, sweet, and completely free from any added sugar or fat! There is an easy to follow step-by-step guide here including different flavour options.
Cheese & fruit sticks
Usually saved for birthday parties, these make great healthy snacks for everyday play dates. The natural sugars in the fruit combined with the protein and fat in the cheese provide children with a sustained source of energy, avoiding those sugar-induced highs and lows!
Hard boiled eggs
This can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge, one egg provides a 5 year old with almost a third of their daily protein requirements. Boiled eggs make a great, easily portable snack if you’re out and about. Alternatively chop the egg up and put it in a wholegrain sandwich with a teaspoon of mayonnaise and some sliced tomato.
A favourite amongst children and adults alike, and a brilliant way to get some “good” fats and fibre into your children’s diet. Serve with chopped colourful veggies- carrots, cucumber, celery sticks and/or mini oatcakes.
Sweet potato crisps
A great healthy alternative to crisps for an afternoon snack. Simply finely slice sweet potatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and bake in the oven until crisp. Sweet potatoes contain a wealth of nutrients and are high in beta-carotene which is vital for healthy eyes, skin and a robust immune system!
If you’d like a food-based activity, this is a lovely idea is to make. All you need is a blender, a selection of fruits and some milk or yoghurt. The children can choose their ingredients and see a delicious drink made in front of their very eyes! A great game can be to discuss each fruit before you put it in the blender, and why it’s so good for them.
Fun, energy-boosting snacks- and not a teaspoon of sugar in sight. Enjoy!
Naomi Mead is a nutrition therapist with a passion for food and its therapeutic powers. Naomi trained and gained her accreditation at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition. Find more articles of Naomi on Healthspan’s Nutrition Expert and Food First.