‘Mum, can I have a snack?’ If you too are regularly plagued by this question, then read on for my top protein snacks for kids.
If I had a penny for the number of times I am asked this in one day, well, I would have lots of pennies. I have a very busy, bright and active six-year old boy who seems to be permanently hungry. No sooner has he finished a meal, than he’s asking for a snack. It doesn’t seem to matter how much he’s eaten at his main meal (which is usually a fair amount), he still wants something else. It’s a good job he’s at school during the day and asleep at night or he’d be eating constantly.
So, it is a challenge to feed this starving boy the whole time. Even doing what I do for a living, I struggle to always get healthy snacks into him. Contrary to popular belief, I do not spend all my time creating home-made paleo bars. I am a busy mum too!
I don’t deny my kids treats. They eat crisps, chocolates and sweets like other kids. I would prefer it if they didn’t, but we live in the real world so I have had to make my peace with that. Also my son has the most unbelievable talent for getting what he wants. But I do also make sure that there are healthy snacks on offer too. And these are ideally consumed before the treat.
The problem with most snacks is they are usually very carb/sugar heavy. Most shop-bought granola bars, or basically anything in the snack aisle, is up there on the sugar content, even “healthy” “fruit-based” snacks. What this does is gives your child a quick sugar hit and burst of energy, followed by a crash and this can lead to moodiness and tantrums. How many tantrums could you attribute to low blood sugar in your child?
So we ideally want to ensure that our kids are getting some protein with their snacks. This slows the release of sugar from carbohydrate foods (even fruit) into the bloodstream. No crashing highs and lows. Fewer tantrums. Unless you’re in Toys ‘R Us. And then everyone gets to have a tantrum. Even mummy!
Top 10 Protein Snacks for Kids
(in no particular order!)
- Nut butter (almond, cashew or hazelnut, or if it’s peanut, go for sugar free/organic such as Whole Earth) on grainy/seedy/wholemeal/sourdough toast
- Sliced hard-boiled egg with cucumber slices and halved cherry tomatoes
- Fruit ‘n nut smoothie – try banana, almond butter, full-fat natural yoghurt and your choice of milk (such as almond, oat, coconut) or mango and avocado. What kid doesn’t love a smoothie?
- ‘Deli’ plate – good quality ham slices, cheese cubes, olives. Let the kids try and pick them up with toothpicks.
- Veggie sticks and houmous – try pepper, cucumber, carrot and let them try radishes, raw cauliflower and sugar snap peas for variety. Get as many colours of the rainbow in as you can!
- Home-made granola bars
- Nuts and seeds – don’t be afraid of giving your children nuts and seeds as long as they are supervised. Cashews and pecans are quite soft, and you can improve their fine motor skills by letting them pick up pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Nuts and seeds can be dry roasted with a little Himalayan salt (which is rich in minerals) or some tamari/soy sauce to make them more flavoursome. Organic dried fruit can be mixed in sparingly.
- Apple ‘crackers’ with almond butter – slice your apple into rings and top with almond butter. Once you’ve tried you’ll also be addicted!
- These Lemon and Pecan Cookies went down an absolute treat in our house
- Bliss balls/protein balls/raw balls whatever you want to call them. Try these ones. Great for being out and about.
I hope you try some of these out on your kids and yourself. Don’t forget your own blood sugar levels!