September is Fruits & Vegetables: More Matters Month. That means it's the perfect excuse to swap out the unhealthy snacks at your house with some healthier options.
The problem is: kids are picky. If something looks healthy, they're probably not going to touch it. So instead of forcing them to finish their vegetables, give these delicious, kid-friendly veggie snacks a try.
Mash up some avocado with salt, red onion and a couple jalapeno peppers to create a tasty veggie dip. You can also blend beets with white beans and tuna for an ultra-nutritious dip. Spinach artichoke dips are favorites with some kids because they can taste the cheese more than the spinach.
If you're really in a rush, go for a low-fat veggie dip from the store. Give your kids baby carrots, celery sticks, cucumber slices and/or low-fat crackers for dipping.
Rainbow Vegetable Chips
Cut zucchini, beets, sweet potato, parsnips and carrots into chip shapes. Sprinkle some olive oil, salt and garlic powder on them before putting them in the oven.
Set the oven at 350 degrees and check every couple minutes until the chips are slightly brown and crunchy. If you want your vegetable chips to be extra crunchy, rinse off the vegetables and dry them with paper towels prior to cooking.
These are great because they taste sweet and salty, like regular potato chips, but have more nutritional content. If your kid likes spicy food, sprinkle some cayenne on the chips before baking for an extra kick.
Baked Potato With Veggies
A baked potato by itself isn't a very nutritious snack. However, adding pumpkin, broccoli or chili baked beans to the center of the potato can add some extra nutrients.
Sprinkle low-fat cheese onto the broccoli and beans for pickier kids. If you choose pumpkin, you can add some cinnamon and a bit of sugar to enhance the naturally sweet flavor. Avoid butter and salt if you can.
Your local grocery store might have edamame hummus. If not, you can make your own at home with edamame, chick peas, tahini, olive oil and water. A serving size of two teaspoons of this delicious hummus has a single gram of sugar, two grams of protein, iron, vitamin C and calcium.
Have your kids dip carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli florets and crackers into this hummus for a fulfilling and nutritious snack. Keep in mind that pickier kids might not be willing to give hummus a try.
Mash up sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, corn and frozen peas. Shape this mix into patties. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and your kid's favorite spices on top. Bake in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes. No bread required!
Coleslaw is a surprisingly tasty snack. You can find different types of coleslaw at just about every grocery store. Just make sure you check the ingredients. Some processed coleslaw contains added sugar and excess fat.
Dice up some carrots, cucumber, rice noodles and bean sprouts. Roll them up in rice paper wrappers. Serve to your kids with sweet chili dip for extra flavor. To add extra protein, you can cook some pulled pork in a slow cooker and mix it in once it's cooked all the way through.
Ants on a Log
Place peanut butter and raisins or peanut butter on celery sticks for a quick and easy treat your kids will love.
Miniature Veggie Pizzas
Let's face it. Kids love pizza. But pizza doesn't have to be a bad thing – not if you make it yourself.
Top an English muffin with tomato paste, low-fat cheese, diced onion, diced green pepper, diced mushrooms, pepperoni and your kid's favorite pizza toppings. Pop them in the convection oven until the cheese is golden brown.
If you don't have a convection oven, you can put them under a broiler for a few minutes. Watch them very carefully or they will burn. These healthy veggie-based miniature pizzas taste amazing, so even the pickiest kids will love them.
Mushrooms are a great vegetable for kids because they have a very mild flavor. Cook them right and almost every kid will be willing to give them a shot.
With this recipe, tell your kids the mushroom is like a boat or pizza crust, holding all the toppings in. Add sliced tomatoes, herbs and shredded chicken to Portabello mushroom caps. Top them with a low-fat cheese and grill until golden brown. You can leave out the herbs and tomatoes for especially picky kids.
These vegetable snack recipes are easy to put together and perfect even for picky eaters. They're also a great way for you to get the nutrients and energy you need to push through your workouts.
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