When you’re on the run, it’s easy to get lost in the chaos and forget mealtimes. Busy school weeks or holiday seasons can often lead to a lack of nutrition. Schedules don’t always work out the way we plan, and before you know it, you have a car full of hungry children. Parents can easily opt for the quick unhealthy choice. Open Colleges relays that 62.8% of Australians aged 18 years and over are overweight or obese, this has correlations to an individual’s diet from a young age. We’ve put together a selection of quick and easy on-the-go snacks that you can keep on hand for when life gets tough.
Snack-sized, and easy to take along, a muffin can be a fantastic filling treat between meals. Opt for homemade muffins, you can monitor what ingredients are being used. Bran, nuts, dried fruit and other whole grains add nutritional value and taste. Muffins also freeze well, storing them in a zip lock bag in the freezer allows you to make bulk amounts without them going bad. A muffin will always kill hunger and can be made any size to meet the needs of anyone.
Fruit is the easiest option, and normally the healthiest. Fruit is available all year round and provides variety to your child’s diet. Qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist, and Western Medical Herbalist Renée Leonard-Stainton states “eating a diet rich in fresh seasonal produce has endless health benefits, ranging from a decreased risk of heart disease, digestive problems and some cancers through to helping lower blood pressure and boosting immunity”.
Bananas, apples, pears, oranges agree with a young child’s tastes while filling them up. Take your kids shopping and let them select which ones they want, you can remind later them that they chose the fruit. Keeping a bowl of fruits on the counter or table and at eye-level can even make fruits the first choice, instead of the last.
Like muffins, trail mix is as versatile and flexible as you make it. You can add grains, dried fruits, granola, nuts, and yes, even the occasional treats to make them more appealing. If your family has allergies, you can tailor it to your own needs. Mix a large container to keep in the pantry, or pre-measure them into portable containers to keep in the car or your purse. Trail mix is also great due to its long shelf-life; you can find a bag in your car after 2 or 3 months and it’s still good.
Whether you make it yourself or buy it in the store, granola is a quick and filling snack that has the added benefit of plenty of fiber. You can use pre-cut bars, or you can bring along granola bites or balls. Either one is available commercially, and the internet is a great place for trying new recipes. As with muffins, once you find a good base recipe that your family likes, you can be as creative as you want with the ingredients.
Pureed Fruit Packs
Pureed fruit packs remain an easy alternative compared with natural products. They might not be the greenest option on the market when it comes to the packaging, but being able to hand a toddler a mess-free and self-contained serving of applesauce or berries is truly a gift to parents everywhere. Like trail mix, these bags can be dug out of the bottom of your purse after several weeks and still be in good shape.
Unless you have forged a career in nutrition, popcorn may come across as unhealthy. However, popcorn is one of the best snacks for children due to being 100% whole grains. It’s full of fiber, has great variety, but most of all, kids love it. Popcorn doesn’t require much work, microwave a few minutes before you head out the door, simple as that.
While not quite as easy as some of the snacks because of refrigeration and packaging, cheese slices, cubes, or even wax-covered mini cheese wheels are a great, protein-packed snack that kids love. Just make sure that they don’t have constant access to them like fruits or veggies, or you might find yourself needing to up your child’s fiber content.
This is just a few quick and easy options for keeping your kids healthy while snacking between meals. Start them on these early and they’ll be healthy snackers for life!