It can be quite a challenge to find healthy foods that kids like! The plates above are an example of what I feed my kids for a snack. I try to include some kind of combination of healthy crackers, chips (whole grain, not potato), nuts or beans, fruit, and veggies. These plates have Nut Thins, cashews, raisins, and shredded carrots. Sometimes I’ll add a few slices of cheese, but I don’t consider that a health food. Trader Joe’s and other stores are starting to carry healthier crackers and chips, made out of things like lentils, whole grains, and nuts, with few or no additives. I’ve said this before, but can’t stress it enough…read the labels! Look for whole foods and make sure to avoid MSG (I have a previous post about the tricky list of alternate names for MSG, but here’s the link for the list again: http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources.html…especially avoid the foods on the left. I didn’t realize that soy sauce was on the list!).
Dried fruit is ok in moderation, but fresh or frozen fruit is preferable. Surprisingly, frozen fruit usually has more nutrients than fresh fruit, because it is picked when ripe. Dried fruit usually has more sugar. If you do serve it try to find the kind that is nitrate free.
Regarding veggies and nuts/beans, another really good option is carrot and celery sticks, with pure nut butter (no extra ingredients…just nuts and maybe salt, but preferably not) and raisins or blueberries on top. You can set it up as a dip, or make “ants on a log.” My kids also like dipping veggie sticks in hummus.
I encourage you to test out different veggies on your kids to find out what they like, then make those veggies available. All of my kids love romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers. Javan likes most other veggies, including raw onions and bell peppers. He and Caleb both like mushrooms, spinach, and celery. JJ also loves celery. Emi and Caleb love steamed artichoke. If I keep these things in stock the kids will eat them.
It does take more time to wash, cut, and sometimes cook veggies than it does to open a box or bag and set it in front of them, but I try to do some of the prep early in the morning before the kids are awake. I have simply decided to make it a priority. It’s certainly more important than some of the other things we fill our time with! I strongly believe that many of the prevalent diseases in America, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, could be avoided or healed by dietary change. Vegetables are medicine! The Bible says that our bodies are a “temple of the Holy Spirit.” Let’s teach our children to honor God by honoring their bodies!