There are children out there who chow down on veggies and ask for salad… but it’s far more common to hear stories of children who refuse to eat their broccoli, no matter what you do with it. While vegetables are without a doubt a meal-time staple and large portion of the food pyramid, they don’t have to be saved for just meals – here are a few ways to sneak them into snack time – and have your child enjoy them!
No, we’re not suggesting calling potatoes a true vegetable and loading your child up on salty, fried deliciousness. We are suggesting that you invoke some healthy substitutions and continue to call them “chips.” There are veggie chips that you can buy right at the grocery store; these typically involve things like sweet potatoes, beets, and other root vegetables. Not a bad option, but they still involve processed foods and less than healthy oils. Why not take the swap further and make an at-home version? Carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and yellow squash make fabulous chips – and they’re really easy to do! If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can grab one for less than half the cost of the week’s groceries. Thinly slice your vegetable of choice and pop the slices in the dehydrator overnight; in the morning, you have homemade veggie chips ready to go! Amp them up a bit by shaking them with flavoring before dehydrating them: a few favorite combinations include sea salt by itself, garlic powder and dill, and crystallized lemon and grated parmesan. Have fun with it!
After school snacks don’t have to come out of a box! Consider doing deli meat rollups – basically, a sandwich sans bread. Try layering a slice of cheese with a deli meat or roast chicken and topping it with thinly sliced cucumbers, peppers, or lettuce. Roll it up and ta-da! It’s a 30 second snack that packs in protein and a vegetable.
Infamous Ants on a Log
This is a childhood classic that doesn’t always get enough credit. Ants on a log, as we call them, are celery sticks topped with filling. A little bit of peanut butter goes a long way, or try a dollop of Greek yogurt with a few raisins for a tangy and sweet version. It’s easy to do and gets kids eating celery of all things!
All three of these ideas pack in healthy vegetables to your day, without a ton of hassle. Better yet, your kids can help – if not complete them by themselves!