As a working mother and a dietitian, I understand how important it is to walk that line between feeding your kids healthy food, but still giving them stuff they love and want to eat. There’s nothing more frustrating than putting in the time to make your kids food and having it come home in their lunch boxes at the end of the day!
Kids need plenty of healthy carbohydrates, protein, and fiber to help keep them going through the day. Chips, candy, and sugary drinks don’t give kids the nutrients, or energy that their bodies demand.
Active, growing kids should have between 2 and 3 snacks per day. Going too long without eating can zap energy and concentration and may lead to overeating at their next meal!
Here are some snacking tips that I recommend to my clients:
Snacks should be around 150-200 calories. This ensures that they’re enough to satisfy, without being too high in calories.
If kids are going more than about four hours between meals, you’ll want to provide them with a snack to prevent them from being too hungry (and overeating) at their next meal. For kids who do after-school sports, this is particularly important, so they have the energy and concentration they require in their activity.
Take kids to the grocery store and get them to select one new fruit and one new vegetable to try. If kids are more invested in choosing what they eat, they’re more likely to try new foods.
For maximum satiety and balance, snacks should ideally have a combination of a carbohydrate, protein, and fat. For example, an apple with a few almonds – the apple has carbohydrates; the nuts have protein and fat. Another great example – some Zima® tomatoes with mini bocconcini – the tomatoes have carbohydrates; the cheese has protein and fat.
Here are some perfect kid-friendly snack options:
A banana, apple, or pear with peanut or almond butter
Fresh raw vegetables and/or pita with roasted Zima® hummus
Cheese and whole grain crackers
Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of dried fruit
Angel Sweet® tomatoes skewered with bocconcini
Whatever snacks you choose, remember that teaching your kids to love whole, fresh foods will help them carry good eating habits into adulthood.
My roasted Zima® tomato hummus with pita chips or vegetables is a fantastic way to get some veggies into your kids, along with perfectly balanced nutrition. Check out the recipe below!
Zima® Tomato Hummus
This super easy hummus recipe uses roasted Zima® tomatoes to add sweetness – and some vegetables! – to a classic hummus. Serve this beautiful golden hummus with pita chips, vegetables, or whatever your kids like.
(Makes 3 cups)
2 cups chickpeas (1 can)
3/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups whole Zima® tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Big pinch of salt
½ tsp cumin
Preheat oven to 350 F.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss the Zima® tomatoes with the olive oil. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
While the tomatoes are roasting, place the other ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until very smooth. Leave mixture in blender until tomatoes are ready.
Once tomatoes are done, remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Add tomatoes and all the juice on the pan (there will be plenty) to the blender and blend with the chickpea mixture until smooth and incorporated.
Remove from blender and serve. Hummus will thicken once it’s chilled.