Our weekly trips to the supermarket would not be complete without passing the chips aisle. Each family member will pick one to take home for the week. After watching Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution and how he advocates for healthier snacks for kids, I felt ashamed as a parent. I mean why would I feed my kids and my husband these oh-so-crunchy-and-oh-so-salty snacks? Although, we do not eat chips everyday, probably once or twice a week, I still feel the need to really take it off our grocery list.
One of the things I am thankful for is that my kids love fruits. I failed to mention that aside from chips and other snacks, our grocery cart would also include apples, oranges, pears or bananas. Coby, our eldest, loves munching on these healthy snacks when he runs out of chips. Somehow this habit has rubbed off to his Jianne who would fight over the last piece of banana with his kuya.
For moms and dads who find it hard to deprive the kids of the chips, I suggest doing it first and be a model to your children. My husband is a certified chips junkie. As my sister-in-law says, they were deprived of chips and processed foods like hotdogs when they were young, so it is only now that they are enjoying these “sinful” food. When I talked to my husband about letting go of his chips, he was hesitant at first because he says he needs the “crunch”. But he told me he would just get the nacho chips without salt, the one you use for making mexican nachos. I on the other hand is not really fond of chips. In fact, I cannot consume a bag of chips on my own. But I must admit that I have a sweet tooth and I would die for chocolates! Letting go of my dark brown buddies is not easy but I have to for my sake and also for the kids sake.
So here are my healthier snack alternatives that you might want to try with your own kids.
Fruits, fruits, fruits.
I do not need to emphasize the importance of fruits in our diet. Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants that our family needs every single day. If your kids, don’t like fruits, let them see that you are not only eating them but enjoying them yourself. Kids model their parents right? So whatever we parents do, our kids will follow. For smaller kids, parents can cajole them into eating by making up stories about fruits or reading them books about fruits and vegetables. Fruits are very colorful so let them see those bright red apples, sunny bananas, juicy watermelons, yummy mangoes and delectable grapes arranged in nice bowls sitting on the kitchen counter or on the dining table. We have to patient in cutting up the fruits into smaller portions for our younger kids.
You go, Yogurt.
Ice cream is good but yogurt is better and a healthier choice. There is huge range of flavored yogurts to choose from in the supermarkets and pick ones your kids will like. One trick I got from the net is to insert a Popsicle stick in the middle of the container and let it freeze, ergo, yogurt Popsicle! By the way, you can also add fruits to the yogurt to counter the sourness.
Pop-corn my heart. Yes, popcorn is a healthier choice than chips. But you need to get the ones with plain, low salt or natural flavor. We usually buy the natural ones and we don’t add salt anymore. They smell and taste like the good ‘ol popcorn from the movie house and it gives you the crunchiness regular chips give.
Extra Cheese please. Slice up some cheddar cheese and arrange them alternately with plain crackers on a brightly colored plate. Again, plain crackers with no salt or low salt plus creamy cheese is a great combination for a light snack.
Bottomless Fruit Drinks. Freshly squeezed fruit juice is best. If you have the electronic juicer at home or just the plain handheld juicer, use this to prepare fresh fruit juices to the kids. If squeezing is too tedious for you, try to get the canned fruit juice in the supermarkets. They are a little more expensive that the powdered juice drink but remember healthier is always better. Dads can also make fruit shakes or smoothies at home. Get any fruit in season and shake, shake, shake!
Please Pass the Veggies. Carrots and celery cut into strips matched with dips like pesto dip, cheese dip other homemade dips will get your kids to eat those dreaded vegetables. Steamed corn is also one of my daughter’s favorite. If I can’t get the cobs packed ones in the supermarket, I get her the canned whole kernels and she enjoys them just the same. Instead of frying french fries, try baking them which eliminates the use of too much oil. Try to find baked potato wedges recipes on the net.
These are just some snacks our family has tried and has been enjoying up to this time. Remember we need to be intentional parents. We must be involved in every thing our kids are doing especially what they eat. It would take much of our time but it’s all worth it. Let’s not take our health or our kids’s health for that matter, for granted. Happy munching!!! Don’t forget to brush your teeth too 🙂