As the world often gets healthier with the latest nutritional discoveries, snacking is still a part of life. With all the tasty choices, out there, it’s often hard to know where the best place is to look for the healthiest treat. Both kids and adults need great snacks they can turn to instead of unhealthier, fast food options. While swinging through the drive-thru may be quick and painless, it’s long lasting effects on our health can be damaging. We want to challenge you to start some new habits and start making healthier choices. Read on for our top five picks for healthy and natural snacks for both kids and adults.
Get Your Snack On
Turning your family on to healthy snacks doesn’t mean you must slave away in the kitchen. Often some of the healthiest snacks are the quickest to make, you just need to know what ingredients to use.
Sweet Potato Fries (Baked)
For those of us that try to eat healthily, craving sweet treats and fast food happens from time to time. Fries are one of the most craved fast foods in the world, though they can be quite unhealthy. The best way to combat cravings for unhealthy foods is to find an alternative that is both healthy and tasty. In the case of sweet potato fries, this recipe does just that.
Sweet Potato fries are a fun and nutritious take on the fast food favorite. Make these fries for an afternoon snack or have them prepared before hand for a great treat on the go. Start making these fries with four sweet potatoes (around two pounds), two tablespoons of olive oil, 1 ½ teaspoons of chili powder and 1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt.
Set the oven to preheat at 425 F. Cut the sweet potatoes in half down the length of each potato, then cut them into 1-inch wedges. Get a small bowl to mix the chili powder, salt, and oil. Place the potatoes face down in a pan and place them in the oven.
Leave the potato wedges in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until they are soft. Take them from the pan, add salt and wait for them to cool. Once cool enough to eat, grab your favorite sauce to serve them with. This snack is quite healthy with 171 calories, 30g carbs, 5g of fiber, 2g of protein, 5g of total fat and 1g of saturated fat.
After trying these delicious fries, you may be wondering if these fries really are all that healthier than the standard fry. Comparatively speaking, sweet potatoes do have a great array of nutrients that regular potatoes don’t necessarily have. When it comes to Vitamin A, sweet potato fries have 50% more than regular fries, as well as 130 less mg of sodium. With their skin on, sweet potatoes carry more fiber than regular potatoes. The instance in which sweet potato fries become as unhealthy as regular fries is when they are fried. Stick to baked sweet potato fries if you really want the most nutrition out of this spud.
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
Getting in the kitchen and baking with your kids is a great way to grow closer to them as well as allow them to eat great food at snack time. It’s also a great idea to find out ways to sneak in vegetables that your kids might otherwise turn their noses at. We did just that with the following recipe for whoopie pies.
While typical whoopie pies may be an unhealthier cakey treat, these homemade pies add a healthy twist on the typically sugary nutrition-less dessert. Trade in the sugar rush of your child’s favorite candy for these healthy whoopee pies. These whoopie pies can be made as red velvet cakes, as they will have a reddish tone when they are baked. These whoopie cakes get their deep red color from the healthiest ingredient in the recipe: beets! The beets are a great addition as they are barely detectable in this sweet treat.
Start this recipe with 11/4 cups of whole wheat flour, ¼ cup of coconut sugar, 2 tablespoons of natural cocoa, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, ¼ teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of steamed and cooled beets, ½ cup of agave syrup. 1/3 cup of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
For the filling inside the cakes, get 1.3 cups of cream cheese, 1 tablespoons of agave syrup, 1 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and 1 or 2 stevia packets. Get a large bowl to mix together the dry ingredients. Get the liquid ingredients and blend the beet puree, syrup, lemon juice, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Once blended completely, mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Place the batter equally into prepared muffin tin and bake for about 18- 22 minutes.
Once these cakes are fully baked, let them cool completely. Get a bowl for the icing’s ingredients. Using a hand mixer, fully blend all the ingredients until they are smooth. Once the cakes are cooled, slice in half and add the filling to the lower half of the cake and then place the top half back on lightly.
These cakes are much more rewarding when made from scratch. The nutritional information for 1 cake features 171.1 calories, 5.4g of saturated fat, 0.7g of unsaturated fat, 27.8g of carbohydrates, 17.3g of sugar, 2.1g of fiber and 3.9g of protein.
Graham Cracker Cheesecake with Jam
Cheesecake is the ultimate treat when it comes to perfect desserts. This cheesecake alternative gives both kids and parents the taste of a bite of cheesecake while keeping our health and nutrition in check. Instead of having a whole slice of this sweet cake, switch things up for a bite-sized version.
You will need 3 ounces of your favorite cream cheese (placed in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it), 3 tablespoons of strawberry jam and a few trays of gram crackers (split into rectangles or squares).
Get a bowl and begin by mixing the cream cheese together with the jam. Take your mixture and spread it on each of the graham crackers. You and your kids can eat these mini cheesecake slices right away, or you can allow them to chill for about 30 minutes. With the added chill, the graham crackers will soften up and take on a similar texture to typical cheesecake crust while the cream cheese mixture will become firmer.
This kind of snack is a great way to involve the kids. Have them break up the graham crackers or stir the jam and cheese together. A great way to add creativity to this recipe is to use fresh fruits and different flavors of jam. If you are feeling adventurous, try filling a circular pan entirely with graham crackers to create a whole “graham cracker cheesecake.”
Juice Jell-O Cubes
These juice jelly cubes are great for a more hands-on recipe for your kids. Jell-O by itself is a captivating, magical mystery for children that will have fun watching it form. The best part about this recipe is that you have full control over what goes in the jelly.
Start this recipe with 2 cups of the house juice favorite, 2 packets of gelatin and 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar. Get a bowl and pour ½ a cup of juice into it. Sprinkle gelatin throughout the juice. While you let the gelatin and juice sit, put the rest of the juice on the stove or in the microwave to boil. Once boiling, pour the hot juice over the gelatin mixture, then stir, adding sugar if needed. Pour this mixture into a loaf pan and have it chill for about three hours or until it firms up. Once the gelatin mixture is firm enough, cut the juice jelly into squares.
Switch things up with this recipe by adding in segments of favorite fruits or even use homemade juice. This recipe is a great way to engage the kids as they can really make the whole recipe from start to finish (with parents’ help at the stove). A great alternative to this jelly recipe is making juice ice cubes. Just drop the gelatin and switch the loaf pan for an ice cube tray and you have a new summer favorite to share with the whole family!
No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake
The easiest snacks to make are the no bake ones. For this reason, we admire this no bake strawberry cheesecake and encourage parents everywhere to try it. This cheesecake recipe looks a little more like the famed dessert and offers a bit more to chew on. The best thing about this version is that it is quite healthy. The twist with this recipe is that it uses jelly instead of the calorie-laden filling found in typical cheesecakes.
For this cheesecake recipe, you can try something different by swapping the graham cracker crust for crushed pretzels. For this recipe, gather 1 cup of crushed pretzels, 6 tablespoons of melted butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar. For the actual cheesecake, get together 1 tablespoon of plain gelatin, ¼ cup of warm water, 1 ¼ cup of fresh strawberries, 1 ¼ cup of cottage cheese, ¼ cup of vanilla yogurt, ½ cup of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla.
Begin by getting a bowl and placing the crushed pretzels, sugar and melted butter inside. Spoon this crust alternative into 10 small glass Mason jelly jars and press all around the bottom of the jar. Set these jars aside and work on the filling. Mix the gelatin with warm water in another small bowl. Stir everything until it is all dissolved. Put the strawberries into a blender and pulse them until they are finely chopped. Add sugar, vanilla, cottage cheese, yogurt and more until the mixture is creamy. Add the gelatin mixture to the blender and blend everything together again. Pour this mixture into the jars and refrigerate them overnight. This cheesecake can also be frozen to create a thicker consistency. Once firm, these treats can be served with strawberry slices and cool whip as well.
Eating Healthy Feeds the Mind and Body
As seen above, tasty treats can easily be made with what we have around the kitchen. Just because these creative recipes are a bit healthier doesn’t make them harder or more expensive to make. Eating healthy isn’t a trend, it is a lifestyle. For children, especially, eating the right nutrients makes all the difference in the world.
Unlike adults, children’s bodies are constantly growing and need the proper fuel to grow properly. These nutritional requirements are often not met when children are given snacks that are unnecessarily high in dangerous calories, sugar or fat. Having nutritional dense foods is a must for all children and teenagers. It doesn’t hurt adults, either. The best way to make sure that nutritional needs are met is to pay attention to exactly what you and your children are consuming.
Try to avoid fast foods that are processed. Stick to foods that are made mostly with fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole foods. This list of five great snack alternatives is a great way to start your child on a path of healthy dietary decisions. Cutting junk food and unhealthy snacks from the diet will help improve your child’s health, brain, and body functions as well as their self-esteem and energy levels.
We tried our best to find recipes with as few artificial sweeteners and flavors as well as finding snacks that have creative ways to use vegetables and fruits. Finding ways to fill your child’s diet with healthy alternatives will help strengthen their immune system and ensure that they grow healthy and strong. Try out these recipes for yourself and throw in a few of your favorite flavors, fruits, and vegetables. Hopefully, this will be just the beginning of healthy snacking adventures.