by Shawna Dolzonek
Just about anyone you talk to loves a good snack, children the most of all. Children can snack several times between meals and may snack all day instead of eating a whole meal. How can we make fruits and vegetables fun and exciting to eat?
Apple slices are an all time favorite for anyone. Pairing apple slices with sunflower, soynut or peanut butter, makes for a tasty and filling snack. Incorporating a protein in the snack makes for longer lasting satiation ( 1 ). Banana slices and celery sticks also pair well with nut butters. To make this snack more exciting for picky eaters, cut apples into slices, spread some nut butter of choice and top with a couple plant based chocolate chips.
Create a tropical fruit tray for tasting. This tray can include some exotic fruits in different shapes. Star fruit, dragon fruit and mangoes can be included in this tropical fruit tray. Star fruits are already pre shaped, dragon fruit is a white fleshy fruit that draws attention due to it having an unusual color and mangoes tend to be a bright orange with a sweet flavor.
Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and cherry tomatoes can be combined to make a colorful and nutrient dense snack. These are all vegetables that pair well with hummus. Hummus can be used as a protein source alongside these snack options (1).
A thick slice of toast covered in some nut butter of choice and topped with banana slices is a great addition to the snack list! This snack is an all time favorite and can be done in several ways. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on top of the banana toast for extra flavor. Honey can be drizzled on the toast with or without the banana slices. There is ample room to make these snacks your own!
Beans, such as black beans and chickpeas can be mashed up and seasoned to create bean dips. These can be eaten with an array of vegetables. Beans and chickpeas are packed with protein and fiber (1).
Sweet potatoes do not need to be saved for just the holidays. They can be eaten anytime of the year. Cutting the sweet potato into slices, seasoning and baking creates a snack the whole family will love. Sweet potatoes are nutrient dense and filling! Sweet potatoes can also be cut into thinner slices to be baked and dipped in any favorite bean dip or hummus.
Children, just like adults, enjoy foods and snacks that are colorful and presented well. New and unfamiliar foods can be scary and children might not want to try them. Presentation is key when serving new and unfamiliar foods to picky eaters (2).
Arrangement of food, adding different dips or seasonings and creating shapes with food all bring attention to fruits and vegetables that may have previously been overlooked. Change is good especially when it comes to trying new combinations of foods.
- 5 years personal experience working with and teaching children