Even though there are lots of good & quick recipes on the blog (hellooooo Beer Can Chicken/Wild Game Meatloaf/15-Minute Salmon!!) I get a lot of requests for what we snack on; and specifically what Leni Bow snacks on! Since most of us parents are home with our kids right now and need some easy ideas to grab-and-go, here are a handful of the things Leni loves to snack on that involve minimal prep! One of my 2020 goals is to serve you with more RECIPE blogs, so stay tuned for those coming soon, but for now, here’s a quick snack guide:
SMOOTHIES– Leni actually loves this smoothie bowl recipe, but if I’m making it for just her I halve all the ingredients and let her add her own toppings which she LOVES doing. She’s also a HUGE fan of these smoothie combos:
- Chocolate Milk + vanilla Greek yogurt + peanut butter + half a banana + ice
- Milk + peaches (fresh or frozen) + vanilla Greek yogurt + touch of honey + ice: (taste like peaches and cream!)
- Milk + EVA Super Greens + frozen blueberries + raspberries + vanilla Greek yogurt
- Quick tip: I often add at least a cup+ of fresh spinach to these smoothies for extra nutrients! Although it will turn it green (you can make up a story of a Leprechaun putting a spell on it, or put it in a cup that hides the color if they don’t love the green -ha!), you can’t taste it and it makes it extra healthy and ensures your kiddos are getting their greens without realizing it!
- Quick tip #2: I use Organic Valley Ultra milk for all my smoothies… and everything else, actually! It is super creamy and has 50% more protein and 50%less sugar!
- Quick tip #3: I almost always add half a scoop of the EVA Protein powder to Leni’s smoothies. It keeps her full longer, plus it’s full of alllll the vitamins and nutrients.
FINGER FOODS- There are few things as appealing to a 3 year-old as a pack of fruit snacks or some sort of junk food, but we went through a period of time when Leni’s temper was CRAZY (like, I couldn’t even believe she was my child!) and a friend of mine told me that cutting out artificial dyes can help, specifically Red Dye 40. We didn’t have a ton of dyes to start with, but I did a full audit of our cupboards and got rid of ANYTHING that has dyes in it and I swear, almost overnight, everything changed. Leni’s temper tantrums stopped and she was able to control her emotions SO much better (I will write a blog about this another time) and my sweet girl was back. Like, what!? So now I steer way clear of artificial dyes and stick to the good, healthy stuff! So finger foods for LB look a lot like:
- Cut-up fruit or veggies (apples/celery with peanut butter are a solid choice, as are carrots/cucumbers with homemade ranch dip!!)
- Cracker sandwiches made with peanut butter or PB&J or cheese/meat. Anything that Leni can “make” is usually a go!
- Chicken salad on crackers
- Hummus or tzatziki with crackers/carrots
- Turkey roll-ups: roll a slice of cheese, a pickle and mustard inside a slice of organic turkey deli meat! Tim and I love these too!
- Protein pancakes: As a snack, I slice them and let her dip them in yogurt or maple syrup or put peanut butter on them.
- Whisps “Cheese Crisps” -these were already a family favorite but Leni loves snacking on them!
- Meat sticks (either homemade on the dehydrator or jerky from Bass Pro/Cabela’s) with Organic Valley Stringles
- I always keep healthy bars in my pantry, like ClifKids ZBar, Nature Valley Almond Butter Biscuits, or RX-Kids bars.
- Leni still gets plenty of “treats”, but I stick to clean brands like YumEarth (Leni loves their gummies and lollipops), SmartSweets, and Annie’s. All of these are available on Amazon or at most grocery stores!
- Quick tip: Leni LOVES it when I lay out her snack on a platter/cutting board (think: charcuterie board for kids) or bring it outside for a picnic, or even if I let her eat it out of a paper cup or something different than her regular plate at the table. It doesn’t take much to make her feel like she hit the lottery- just a little bit of imagination!
MUFFINS & COOKIES– Baking with Leni became a favorite pastime when she was just a chunky little bean because I loved letting her sneak a stray chocolate chip or slice of banana here and there, and that basically hasn’t changed (except she can sneak it herself now, hah!) Some of my favorite things to make with and for her include:
- We make these blueberry protein muffins a TON, and love to swap out the blueberries for raspberries with a touch of cream cheese for something more indulgent.
- Energy bites made with oatmeal, chocolate chips, peanut butter, flaxseed, and more–we love this recipe from Bless This Mess!!
- Leni LOVES to bake with me and these chocolate chip cookies are the real deal and I’m not pulling any punches here–they aren’t healthy at all. Just make a batch of these bad boys when you need some bargaining power in your house or when someone is in need of a hug in chocolate chip form.
- Quick tip: when I bake, I almost always add-in ground flax, chia seeds, hemp hearts or some combination of those for extra fiber and nutrients that no one will taste/notice.
I figured out really quickly that there’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to kids, and food is a HUGE part of that. Leni loves these snacks, but I’m always looking to keep things fresh and exciting (and pretty healthy, too) so drop your little’s favorite snacks and snack ideas in the comments below!