Saturday, March 17, 2012

Healthy and Frugal Snacks

One of my daughter's current favorite snacks.  She calls them cookies!
My 3-year-old has about 2 snacks each day (one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon), and each time she asks for a snack, I sit there racking my brain for what we have.  So the other day, I sat down and made a list of the snacks we usually have on hand, so I don't have to think about it each time.  I can just look at my list and get her a snack.

As I was making my list, I realized that she doesn't get very many foods that are specifically marketed as snacks.  Part of the reason for this is because we really don't have money in our food budget for most of the items in the snack aisle at the grocery store.  Additionally, most snack-type foods really aren't that healthy.  Even the ones that are typically considered or assumed to be healthy are often loaded with extra sugars and other ingredients that you probably don't want your kids eating too much of.  Don't get me wrong.  I do occasionally buy a box of goldfish or other crackers, but probably only two or three times per year.  Anyway, here's the list of typical snack options we have in our house (or at least the ones I could think of).  I'll add more as I think of or discover more!  And one of the great things about these is that most of them make great guiltless snacks for Mommy too!  Leave your favorite healthy and frugal snack options in the comments!

  • Apples with or without natural peanut butter
  • Bananas with or without natural peanut butter
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Other seasonal fruit we happen to have (pineapple, strawberries, grapefruit, peaches, kiwis, blueberries, etc.)
  • Plain air popped popcorn (sounds boring, but both she and I love it!)
  • Plain Greek yogurt (sometimes I'll puree fruit and mix it in.  It's surprising how much added sugar flavored yogurts have, so this avoids that)
  • Celery with natural peanut butter or hummus
  • Carrot and/or bell pepper sticks with hummus
  • Roasted veggies (I often keep roasted cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc. in the refrigerator to snack on.  Neither one of us minds eating them cold.)
  • Cereal with or without milk - yes, I realize that cold cereals have added sugar, but we usually stick with plain Cheerios, which are one of the healthier cereals out there.  Just wait for them to go on sale!
  • String cheese (one of the few "snack foods" I buy) 
  • Hard boiled eggs - I usually boil a few at a time and keep them in the refrigerator for a quick and easy snack.  Hard boiled eggs last for a week in the refrigerator if the shells are left on.
  • Almonds - yes, my 3-year-old likes almonds and sometimes I'll give them to her with her fruit for a little protein.  Just be careful when giving a small child whole nuts.  They are considered a chocking hazard. 
  • Pitas with or without hummus - the recipe I posted on Near to Nothing has some whole wheat flour, but is not whole wheat by definition.  I recently started using this whole wheat recipe and my daughter loves them!
  • Frozen corn or peas - no need to defrost or heat them!  She loves them frozen!
  • Tomatoes - I usually chop them for her, but I have found her just biting into one like an apple!
  • Whole wheat bread or toast (with or without natural peanut butter.  Yes, sometimes she asks for dry toast!)
  • Beans (dry beans prepared in the slow cooker, of course!) - black, kidney, garbanzo, lima - basically, whatever kind I have on hand!
I mentioned the pitas above so I thought I'd throw in this video of my daughter watching the pitas as the puffed in the oven.  Other than being cost-effective and delicious, the entertainment your children will receive is reason enough to make these.

1 comment:

Sumiko said...

-Whole grain pasta
-Pretzels and hummus or peanut butter
-Apple slices with peanut butter for dipping
-Spoonful of peanut butter for the baby

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