and delicious snack ideas to satisfy any appetite!
Sometimes, too much snacking gets a bad rep. Maybe what the concept of snacking needs is a little reframing or rebranding! The first step towards this is thinking about snacking differently: instead of seeing snack time as a frivolous excuse to wolf down junk foods, treat snacks as a light bite-to-eat and an excellent opportunity to incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your diet to keep you satiated until your next meal.
Choosing healthy snacks for kids
Short on snack ideas? Don't worry, we've got you! But before we share some easy ideas with you, first, it’s important that you understand the vital role snacking plays in both you and your children’s diets. Snacking is an essential part of a healthy diet, keeping you satisfied in between meals. Skipping out on snacks is an easy way to over-eat come lunch or supper. You’ll be so hungry by the time you’re ready to eat that you may wind up overdoing it, unnecessarily adding calories to your daily intake. But, you can prevent this by choosing healthier options to eat throughout the way.
When it comes to mindful snacking, it's essential to consider the when to snack in addition to the what to snack on. According to nutritionists, the best time to snack is at least two hours before your next meal. Wholesome, nutritious bites enjoyed between lunch and dinner will stave off hunger and keep you satisfied. When preparing snacks for kids, have them ready for once they get home from school. This is the perfect time of day for them to get in some extra energy to find the focus they need to finish up their homework! Try pairing something yummy, like slices of Swiss cheese or cubes of Mozzarella cheese with fruit or veggies on the side.
Another great time to fuel up is right after a workout. Once that “runner’s high” wears off, our bodies tend to feel drained after a particularly grueling workout. A post-workout snack is an excellent time to replenish your body and give it the energy it needs to continue with the day!
Swap in healthy eats instead of sweets
By now you know that you’ve got to make better choices when it comes to concocting snacks or refreshments for kids, but what, exactly, do healthy or good snacks entail? We’re glad you asked!
You want to choose foods that provide lots of energy and won't have you crashing in a half hour. Ideally, a satisfying snack is rich in nutrients and comprises more than one food group to ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need to give your body the energy it's missing out on. Snacks should contain at least three food groups like carbohydrates, proteins, and fiber. These three work together to fuel your body and give it everything you need to stay energized.
An excellent way to do this is by planning ahead: think about what snacks you'd like to make for the coming days and weeks, and include the ingredients you need on your grocery list: fruits, veggies, dips, cheese sticks and cheese slices would all be sensible choices, for example. If you leave home for work, be sure to carry a supply of healthy snacks with you. That way, you’ll avoid the more convenient, but far less healthy options found in a vending machine. When it comes to healthy eating on the go or at home, prep is everything.
One of the biggest obstacles to better eating habits is our tendency to eat when we’re bored. Most are guilty of this — now more than ever due to the increasing number of people working from home. It makes it easy to wander into the kitchen and snack on whatever’s left in the fridge, like last night’s leftover takeout cheese pizza. But if you have a healthy snack on hand, you’ll likely eat that instead of a bag of chips or box of cookies. Try to be more mindful about what’s happening every time you eat: ask yourself if you're starving when you reach for that snack, or if you just feel like eating something.
Another great trick is to drink a glass of water if you feel a little pang of hunger coming on — sometimes, we think we’re hungry but our bodies are actually signaling that we’re thirsty.
Packable and snackable lunch box treats
Now that you know what to do and when you should be doing it, it's time to start thinking about the ingredients that will allow you to improve your eating habits. As mentioned above, try combining three food groups in every snack to help you stay satisfied for longer. Here are some healthy snack recipes you can enjoy at home:
- Give your little ones a treat by packing Armstrong cheese sticks with fruit on the side! It’s fun to eat, and satisfying, too. Cheese sticks are a grab-and-go snack, loved by kids and adults alike. Need further evidence? Serve our Marble cheese sticks to your kiddos and watch as they gobble it right up.
- Some days, you want to get more creative in the kitchen. On those afternoons, make these Club Sandwich Skewers, a fun snack featuring tons of goodies like veggies, bread, cheese, and a bit of lean meat like turkey plus smoky bacon for extra flavour. Do you enjoy your club with something more? Layer in some Swiss cheese slices for extra protein. Best of all, these are easy to assemble, so ask the kids to give you a hand — they'll have fun making them, too!
Healthy snacks for at-home enjoyment
In addition to planning out tasty breakfasts, lunches, or dinners, it can be hard to think of snack ideas that are original. Luckily, we've compiled a few of our favourites to help spark some ideas.
- Made using seasonal root veggies like white and sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots, these root veggie and cheese hashbrowns are delightfully crispy, and include shredded Old Cheddar cheese adding depth and flavour. For best results, serve with a dollop of sour cream or get creative and add a little spice by using our Monterey Jack Cheese with Jalapeño, or keep it mild with a Marble Cheddar.
- Is your family head over heels for Havarti cheese? Then these Havarti veggie nuggets are sure to delight with every bite! Made with so many favourite veggies like cauliflower, zucchini, and carrots — plus with a heaping serving of Havarti cheese — these are easy to make and delicious to eat. Best of all, you can make a batch ahead, freeze and heat once you're ready for more.
- These tangy crostini with extra old Cheddar cheese and cranberry compote are delectable, giving you tang to balance out the flavour of the sharp extra old Cheddar cheese. If your kids prefer a creamier, milder cheese, substitute with a classic marble cheese to soften the flavour. Either way, this bite-sized snack goes down easy (and will vanish quickly, too).
- That’s a wrap! Veggie wraps with Havarti are made with tons of vegetables. Then, all the parts get wrapped in a cabbage leaf for an even more satisfying crunch. Cheese slices or shredded cheese are both perfect options in wraps! Or, try this ranch chicken wrap recipe, and work some lean protein and crunchy veggies into your day.
- When it comes time for movie night, instead of ordering a cheese pizza, serve up some cheesy popcorn: prepare the popcorn, as usual, coat it in olive oil or another healthy option like avocado oil, and sprinkle on some shredded cheese. Go with either a Tex Mex shredded cheese or a creamy Cheddar for guaranteed flavour. Delicious and nutritious!
How’s that for some snack recipes? Snacking should be a pleasurable experience, and with these tips and ideas at your disposal, you can come up with some easy, healthy snacks — the kind made to give you and your kids the energy to power through each day!
Remember, like anything: if you're meal-prepping or enlisting the help of your family, don't forget to have lots of fun.