Monday Health: Spring Clean!: 12 better snacks/meals for your kids

By Lil Sugar, 2013

Spring-cleaning isn't all about getting rid of dust bunnies or old furniture. It's also a chance to shape up certain aspects of our lives — or our little ones' lives. This upcoming season, rethink your child's eating habits. We don't blame you if go-to, easy snacks and meals have made their way into their eating habits, but it's important to know there are healthy alternatives out there that are just as tasty.

If they like: Chips and ranch dip
Try: Cucumbers with ranch Greek yogurt dip

You know the drill: for a quick bite when there's a playdate, you pull out the chips and dip. Next time around, ditch the sour cream and mayo and replace it with yummy Greek yogurt dip that calls for chopped up chives, parsley, and garlic. All that's left is to serve it with cucumber or celery sticks.

If they like: Fast-food pepperoni pizza
Try: Homemade pizza with vegetables and mozzarella cheese

A whole wheat pizza dough recipe is a nutritious base for pizza pies, and chances are kids will hardly notice the difference. Top it off with tasty greens and roasted vegetables for a colorful, flavorful bite.

If they like: Traditional hot dogs
Try: Grilled hot dog skewers and creamy avocado dip

Keep the hot dog flavor that kids love while knowing that they're getting a healthy alternative. This inventive recipe from Family Fresh Cooking Swap, for instance, swaps buns for tortilla squares and a fresh dip instead of ketchup.

If they like: Store-bought mac and cheese
Try: Homemade mac and cheese with prosciutto and peas

There's no better comfort food than mac and cheese, but the boxed brands aren't the healthiest for kids or adults. Instead, try making your own ooey gooey recipe with prosciutto and peas — you can also opt for whole grain pasta and mozzarella cheese for an even more nutritious dish.

If they like: Buttermilk pancakes with syrup
Try: Wheat berry pancakes with maple cinnamon yogurt

What would breakfast be without pancakes? There's a reason why kids can't get enough of the sweet treats (emphasis on sweet), but there's also a way to curb the sugar factor. Ditch the syrup and go for whole wheat mixed pancakes that call for natural fruit and creamy maple-flavored yogurt sauce instead.

If they like: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Try: Almond butter, drizzled with honey, and sliced banana

Whether it's for a morning or afternoon snack, PB & J sandwiches are the ultimate go-to snack. Make them even more appealing health-wise by substituting almond butter for peanut butter and swapping sugary jelly for honey and sliced bananas — you'll lose no time in the process.

If they like: Potato chips
Try: Kale chips

If kale's on your radar, you're not alone. Take advantage of the kale craze by following one reader's kale chips recipe that's a great alternative for when kids just need a crunch.


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