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Om nom nom — Fuel your kids will devour

Elizabeth Weiss McGolerick is a freelance writer and editor who contributes regularly to SheKnows, MintLife, AOL, iVillage and other sites. In her articles, Elizabeth covers a variety of subjects including relationships, pregnancy, paren...

6 Kid snacks made healthy

Goldfish, Cheerios, puffs — they’re so last year for your busy toddler or preschooler. Here are nutritious, creative snacks for kids that will satisfy and delight your quickly growing, sometimes picky little one.

The easiest snacks to prepare for your kids can sometimes be lacking in the nutrition department. So plan ahead and stock your shelves, lunchboxes or purse with these delicious, healthy goodies.

If you’re happy and you know it, say “Quack!”

Little Duck Organics is a kid’s food company dedicated to creating organic, no-sugar-added snacks. “Tasty snacks made using only natural ingredients like real fruit and whole grain allow parents the opportunity to show children that treats don’t necessarily have to come from sugar-filled cookies and candy,” says Zak Normandin, CEO and founder. Not only are their tiny fruits super-yummy (in combos like apple and banana), their tag lines are crazy fun too: “Baby snacks with added sugar? Shutyourdirtymouth.”

Thirsty kids? These juices will quench — Honest

Juice and kids seem like an unbreakable pair and, alas, your choices of this necessary evil are usually packed with sugar. Enter drinks from Honest Tea like Appley Ever After and Goodness Grapeness. “We created Honest Kids to provide a beverage that is between juice and water, with 40 calories and 10 grams of sugar per pouch,” says Seth Goldman, president and TeaEO. “Both kids and parents love the taste. At first they may think Honest Kids are not sweet enough, but once they’ve finished a pouch, everything else tastes too sweet.”

Playful treats for play time >>

Shape your snacks

Kids love clever and unexpected variations on the norm, so put some thought into dishing up creative snacks for kids. Grab cookie cutters big and small and start getting artsy with food. Peanut butter and jelly on heart-shaped whole wheat bread? Circular cucumber sandwiches? Whether your toddler is just learning his shapes or super-confident about the difference between a star and a triangle, a tiny tray of toddler-sized sandwiches are an ideal afternoon snack.

7 Finger-food snacks for kids >>

Get fruity

“The textures and flavors of real fruits and vegetables is an important aspect of offering foods to toddlers,” says Dr. Christine Wood, advisor to USANA Health Sciences. “Try frozen grapes or mini carrots with dip or have them experiment with squeezing snap peas or edamame out of their skins. Cover a banana with yogurt and sprinkle it with raisins and call it ‘ants on a log’ and you may find your toddler happy to try eating the ‘log’ and the ‘ants.’”

Fun ways to make fruit kid-friendly >>

Take a HINT and give your kids more water

Need your kids to get more H2O? If you find yourself constantly chasing them around convincing them to stay hydrated with plain old water, then take a hint — HINT Water that is. “HINT is an all-natural essence water that does not contain any sugars, calories, artificial sweeteners or preservatives,” says Kara Goldin, CEO. Flavors are as simple as cucumber or pear, and as complex as honeydew-hibiscus.

How is sugar hurting your kids? >>

When in doubt, dip

Admit it, you love a good fondue dinner. Your kids are big fans of dipping too, so expand their palette with pita chips and hummus, carrots and ranch dressing, zucchini muffins and applesauce or even toasted bread dipped in a sweet potato puree. Make your little ones feel even more adult by giving them “toothpicks” for their dipping adventures — pretzel sticks. They can spear cheese cubes to dip in mustard or grapes to dip in a fruity spread. The possibilities are endless.

More about snacks for kids

Making snack time play time
10 Fun kid snacks to pack
Smart snack tips for busy moms

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