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How to Make the Switch to Healthy Snacks

Jun 14, 2008
Summer's here, and that means that many children will be at home with more time for snacking. While many would love a cabinet filled with sweet treats for snacks, it's much better if you can get them into the habit of healthy snacks.

Now how are you going to do that?

The first step is simple to say, harder to put into practice. Simply start buying healthier treats and leave the junk in the store.

For most people it's not quite that simple. But once you can manage it, it really does become simpler to eat healthier snacks or to give them to children. There's nothing else available in the house.

So what are the kids supposed to snack on?

You can switch them from chips to baked crackers or pretzels. These can still have some interesting flavors, but be better for you.

Some other ideas take more preparation.

Chop up fruit into a fruit salad, for example. If it will encourage people to eat it, add some yogurt or even whipped cream (if that's what it takes). Certainly much healthier, yet often a very welcome snack.

My children also love frozen berries. They're significantly cheaper than the fresh ones, and the ones I buy at Costco cost less per ounce than those sugary fruit snacks. Yet the kids prefer the berries.

You can also chop up some vegetables. Pay attention to the ones people in your family will actually eat. Don't be afraid to include some salad dressing or hummus as a dipping sauce.

If you have a yard you can even consider growing some good snacking food. Even if you don't have one, cherry tomatoes or other small varieties of tomato don't require a lot of space to grow, yet many children love them as snacks. They can be eaten right off the vine.

If you have a bit more space and a bit more time a fruit tree works well also. The house I grew up in had a plum tree in the back yard. Those were a favorite snack. The ones right off the tree were so much better than the ones that had gone into the fridge.

Frozen treats are always a big hit. A fruit smoothie is one fairly simple idea. Throw frozen fruit, apple juice and some honey into the blender. You decide the exact mix. A banana often goes well in there also, or even a carrot.

You can also freeze yogurt into popsicles. Get a fairly healthy type; many varieties have significant amounts of sugar added.

Nuts are also a pretty healthy snack. They have a lot of fat, but it's generally of healthier types. A nice trail mix can be a lot of fun.

As everyone gets used to snacking healthier, it no longer feels like deprivation to leave out the less healthy foods. You may deal with some grumbling or even feel like complaining yourself at first, but as everyone gets used to the routine and finds their own favorites it should get easier.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster runs http://www.makehealthymeals.com/ to provide people with ideas for healthier eating. Get more healthy snack recipes at her site.
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