Nutritious Snack Doubles as a Fun Project for Kids

 

Healthy snacks are important to have around the house for children.  The challenge is to have them available when they want something and to have a few different options.  Children change their minds all the time, one day they love something and the next day they are not interested  in it so it’s important to have options.  I keep a running list of healthy snack ideas in a word file on my computer so when I am planning my menu and my shopping I can get some ideas.  I find that kids go through phases with food.  Months ago my daughter loved hummus and then one day she decided she didn’t want to eat it anymore.  A few more months passed and one afternoon I asked her if she wanted hummus and she loved it again.  This is exactly why I keep the list.

One of the new snack time hits in my house is nuts and dried fruit.  This is one of my personal favorite afternoon pick me ups and I have been mixing my own trail mix for years.  It is cheaper to buy the items individually and mix your own trail mix rather then buying it pre-made.  Also, it allows you to control exactly what goes into your mix which is great for children.  They can pick the things that they like, mix them all together and make it fun.  Kids are much more likely to eat something if they took part it creating it.

How to make this a fun project for kids:

Supplies needed: Nuts, dried fruit, container for finished mix (I use mason jars), labels, stickers or markers (optional)

Buy an assortment of bagged nuts, seeds, dried fruits and chocolate chips (this can be left out for children).  I get a lot of these from Trader Joe’s because the prices are pretty good (not all are organic and raw though). There are some good deals online as well, here are some of my favorites:

  1. Give each child their own jar and have them attach a label with their name on it.  Have them decorate the jar with stickers or markers and make it their own.
  2. Arrange a few small bowls with all the different choices for the trail mix in them on a table.
  3. Have them pick a few choices from the bowls and fill their jars with their favorite nuts and fruits.  Leave a little space at the top so that they can shake the jar and mix up the trail mix.

Making healthy snacks a fun project will make it more likely that kids will try it.  For younger children and toddlers you can just hand them a few things and let them throw it into the jar.  My daughter is 21 months and loves to help me when I make things.  I hand her frozen strawberries and she throws it into the blender for a smoothie or I let her hold a measuring cup as I fill it up with something and she dumps it into the bowl.  She has a great time with it even though its so simple.

If you are just going to make these trail mixes on your own without making it a kids project its great to mix up a few different assortments and have them on hand for snacks for yourself and the kids.  My favorite mix is raw cashews, raw almonds, raw walnuts, dark chocolate chips, and dried cranberries.

Do you make your own trail mix?  What is your favorite mix?

This post was shared at Healthy 2 Day Wednesdays, Crystal & Co and Simple Lives Thursday

Fun Summer Project for Kids: Sun Tea

Finding fun summer time activities to do with kids can sometimes be a challenge.  I try to think of the things we used to do as children with my Mother in the summer time.  It’s also great to do projects that are eco-friendly, sustainable, healthy – and most importantly fun.  On a nice sunny day, a great thing to do with kids is to make sun tea.  It’s very simple, easy for kids to do, and makes a nice healthy refreshing drink.

Things you need:

  • Empty glass jar – this can be an empty juice bottle, a mason jar, or any other glass jar you have around the house.
  • Assorted caffine free herbal tea bags or loose tea with a tea infuser
  • Filtered water
  • Agave syrup (optional)
  • Sunlight

Directions: Fill the glass jar with water and set it on a table top.  Take out your tea bags and spread them out on the table for the children to choose from.  Some great teas that I use for this project are cammomile, mint, hibiscus, caffine free green tea, or mixed berry teas.  You can use any flavor teas you like, the berry teas and hibuscus teas are sweet themsevles so you can even get away with using no sweetener at all.  For a two wuart jar, you will need approxinatly 8 tea bags.  Let the kids pick their tea flavors and throw them into the jar.  Close the jar and set in a sunny part of your yard or deck and let sit for 4 – 6 hours.  Once the tea is done you can add a small amount of agave syrup to sweeten.  The hardest part is getting the kids to wait for the tea to be done – as you can imagine they will be checking the status pretty often.

If you are doing this with multiple children, give them each their own jar and let them make their own individual flavors.  To add more fun to the project, let them decorate the jar with craft items you have around the house.  They can put their names on the jar and make it an art project as well.

We made sun tea last week and used a combination of cammomine, hibuscus, and mint tea.  It was delicious!  I didn’t even need to add sweetener to it becuase it was so tasty.  Have fun with this – if you come up with a good tea combination please post it below!

This post is shared at: The Healthy Home Economist