13 Kid Foods You Should Still Be Eating
That silly kid stuff can still meet your needs—maybe even better than your usual snacks. Tap your inner child with these nutritious nuggets.
Eggs and Soldiers
Eggs and toast are a classic breakfast for a reason. Eggs are a great choice for kids and adults alike. They’re one of the most budget-friendly sources of high-quality protein, with two large eggs providing 12 grams of protein for about 30 cents. Simply boil an egg for 6 minutes, then cool it under cold running water. Place the egg in an egg cup and crack open the tops with a spoon. Toast some whole grain bread, butter it, and then slice into lengthwise strips for dipping into your soft boiled egg. Enjoy!
Want more egg inspiration? Try these 100 delicious ways to have eggs for every meal.
Fresh or frozen fruit is always your best choice for the most nutrients and fiber, but it’s hard to stash in your desk drawer, glove compartment or gym bag. That’s where this kid classic comes in. Plus, it’s sweet enough that it can help quench any afternoon or evening sugar cravings. Learn how to make your own fruit leather at home, here.
They may seem like child’s play, but the kids are onto something: The smart portion size—pre-wrapped, and ready-to-go—delivers crucial protein and calcium as a snack. Look for part-skim cheese sticks for less saturated fat and a lower calorie count (typically 80 calories). Try Organic Valley Skim Milk Mozzarella Stringles. They’re low in fat, low sodium and provide 7 grams of protein each.
Don’t turn your back on this childhood staple. Try almond butter to almost double the fiber per tablespoon; you’ll also get more calcium, magnesium and phosphorus—nutrients that are essential for bone health. Almonds are a great way to get plant protein, fiber and antioxidant vitamin E into your day. For a higher fiber version of jam, try mixing together blueberries and chia seeds. Blueberries are only 80 calories a cup and are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. Fiber supports healthy digestion and vitamin C helps your immune system work well.
Fresh or frozen, sweet green peas are one of the most popular vegetables for kids. They offer nutrients such as lutein—an antioxidant that supports eye health—and plenty of fiber—an impressive 7.5 grams per cup. Plus, green peas are an excellent source of thiamin (vitamin B1), folate and vitamin C. Thiamin supports your nerves and muscle (including your heart muscle). Your body needs folate to make healthy red blood cells and DNA; vitamin C helps make collagen and supports a healthy immune system. Try adding green peas to curries, rice or one of these 29 recipes.
For a sweet treat on a warm day (or any day), ice pops really satisfy. They take a while to eat, and that helps give you time to feel satisfied. They help keep you hydrated, and if you make them with fruit and no added sugar, they can be a source of fiber, vitamin C and other antioxidants. To make your own fruit ice pops, blend fresh or frozen fruit with water, coconut water, skim milk, or unsweetened almond milk and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze and enjoy! These are some of our favorite popsicle recipes.
Kids’ energy bars
Sometimes you need just a little something between meals, and that’s where having some kid-sized energy bars come in. My go-to pick is CLIF Kid Zbar Protein bars. Although these are designed to satisfy kids’ appetites when on the go, they’re a tasty and nourishing snack option for both kids and adults. The smaller portion means fewer calories, and their fiber will help you avoid sugar spikes and crashes. Plus, they provide 5 grams of satisfying protein to banish afternoon cravings.
The packaging makes them okay for kids to have in the car, on the sports field or before recess—and that makes them handy for you, too. Just be wary of yogurt drinks that are high in added sugars—choose plain or lightly sweetened varieties. While a cup of plain drinkable yogurt contains about 12 grams of natural milk sugar, you’ll also get nutrients such as protein, calcium and vitamin D, so it’s not a concern. When you’re choosing a bottle of drinkable yogurt, take a look at the Nutrition Facts and find one that has 15 grams of sugar or less, such as Siggi’s Swedish-Style Plain Drinkable Yogurt.
Ants on a log
This classic kid snack also happens to be a healthy choice for adults. It has all the elements of a smart snack: Protein, healthy fats, fiber, a serving of vegetables (from the celery sticks) and even more fiber and energy-boosting carbohydrates from the raisins. Pro tip: Choose natural nut butter that has no added sugars and is low in sodium.
Kids love mini-muffins—and that’s the concept you want to steal from the younger set. Just take a pass on the store-bought versions, which are basically a dessert. Make your own muffins and swap out the saturated fats in butter for the good fats in avocados—this 1:1 swap works like a charm. The avocado also increases the fiber in the recipe—so will replacing half of the white flour with whole wheat flour. Then pour the mix into mini muffin tins—you’ll be surprised at how satisfying the smaller size can be. Try this recipe for blueberry oatmeal muffins for a delicious snack or breakfast on the go.
Unsweetened apple sauce
Popular with kids for its smooth texture and natural sweetness, apple sauce could be a good addition to your diet—especially if you use it to replace some of the oil or added sugars when baking. It’s also delicious on pancakes or latkes, in oatmeal, smoothies and yogurt parfaits. Look for apple sauce that contains just apples, water and vitamin C (and maybe some cinnamon). There’s no need to add sugar to this naturally sweet fruit. Mott’s Unsweetened Apple Sauce will do nicely—and buying smaller serving cups means you don’t have the pressure to use up the whole jar quickly.
Homemade Rice Krispie treats
Let’s face it—no one stops eating Rice Krispie treats no matter how old they are. But the classic recipe is loaded with sugar and other refined carbohydrates. You can still have your treat and eat it too with these Puffed Quinoa Nut Butter Squares with Chocolate Chips. This healthier version of the nostalgic treat uses whole grains from puffed brown rice or quinoa cereal and includes nut butter for protein and healthy fats that help you feel more satisfied. Instead of marshmallows, dates sweeten up your squares so you get the benefits of fiber and no refined sugar.
Babies are happy to snack on these all day long for one simple reason: They’re delicious. Made with 100 percent whole grain oats, they have only 1 gram of sugar per serving and don’t contain any artificial flavors or colors. Oats contain a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan which, along with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Try having plain Cheerios with skim milk or almond milk and berries in the morning, or you can add them to trail mix to get more whole grains into your day. Next, check out these 50 healthy snack recipes.
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