Fruit and Raw Vegetable Snacks for Kids

Raw vegetable snacks for kids
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Everybody knows about baby carrots and apple slices, but there's so much more you can do with fruit and raw vegetable snacks! If you're serving a half-time or after-school snack, use it as an opportunity to boost your children's daily intake of produce. They should be getting at least five servings a day. Snacks featuring fruits and veggies are tasty, colorful, and packed with lots of vitamins and antioxidants. Many also contain water to help your child stay hydrated.

Raw Vegetable Snacks

To pump up kids' produce intake, nutritionists often recommend limiting just-before-dinner snacks to veggies only. If kids are hungry enough, they won't complain. As an appetizer or anytime, serve vegetables raw or lightly steamed for maximum kid-friendliness and ease of preparation. Add ketchup, soy sauce, or a low-fat dip or dressing for more appeal (and sometimes, extra protein). Or, serve raw veggies with guacamole, baba ghanoush, or salsa—these are dips made of veggies, so you get two for one!

You can also boost kid appeal by cutting vegetables in fun shapes. Or serve them in another nifty new way, such as in a muffin tin or other cute container. Or arrange them in rainbow order, or in some other design that takes advantage of veggies' natural colorfulness.

The following vegetables, in particular, tend to be tops on kids' lists, whether served raw or lightly cooked:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Sugar snap peas (or frozen peas, as is!)
  • String beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Avocados
  • Homemade veggie chips (like sweet potato or kale)

Snacks with Fruit

Sweet, colorful fruit is usually a big hit with kids! Pair with a protein snack or a dip made with low-fat yogurt, cream cheese, or nut butter to boost nutrition value and make the snack more filling.

  • Fresh fruit: apples, bananas, grapes, berries, cherries, peaches, plums, pears, oranges, tangerines, clementines, grapefruit, melon, kiwi, pineapple, mango. Serve whole, mix up into a salad, or line up chunks on a skewer for a fruit kabob (use a wooden skewer and snip off the sharp tip before serving to young children)
  • Dried fruit: raisins, Craisins, apricots, prunes, dates; fruit leathers or roll-ups made from 100% fruit (check labels carefully, as many "fruit snacks" and leathers contain mostly sugar and few of the nutrients found in whole fruits; you can also dehydrate your own fruits)
  • Freeze-dried fruits
  • Canned fruit packed in water or light syrup: peaches, pineapple, pears, mandarin oranges; or applesauce (again, check labels carefully to avoid added sugars)
  • Frozen fruit: Blend into smoothies with low-fat milk or yogurt; keep grapes and melon cubes in the freezer for a refreshing snack on hot days
  • 100% fruit juice or frozen juice pops (these contain less fiber than whole fruit, but still offer some nutritional benefits)

    Safety note: Remember that large chunks of hard, raw vegetables and fruits can be a choking hazard. Use caution when serving to children under 5. Chop into small pieces or steam lightly to soften, then cool before serving.

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