Thank you, Danone North America, for sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are truly my own.
Let’s face it—mealtimes can be a little challenging. Whether it’s getting your kids to consume more veggies or try a new food, we all experience those moments when our kids simply refuse to try certain foods because of fear or unfamiliarity. Because of these challenges, it may be difficult to get in key nutrients needed to support growing kids, such as protein, calcium, DHA Omega-3, choline, and vitamin D.
Why are These Nutrients So Important??
- Calcium, protein, and vitamin D are needed to help build strong bones.
- DHA Omega-3 is an essential nutrient because it helps support brain and eye health. Our bodies can make some omega-3 DHA from ALA but the conversion is not efficient, meaning omega-3 DHA is best consumed from what we eat and drink.
- Choline aids in the transport and synthesis of lipids (or fats), and it helps transport DHA throughout the body.
Luckily, there are kid-friendly foods that supply these nutrients and can help to fill in those nutrient gaps. I’ve included them in a list of snack ideas below and added a few fun, interactive ways to get the kids involved in snack time which might help to increase their willingness to try new things.
Toddlers (age 1 to 3):
- Bananas & Milk
Bananas are a great snack for toddlers and require minimal prep! They are a good source of potassium (a nutrient most Americans don’t consume enough of). I like to pair bananas with Horizon Organic® Growing Years™ Milk. In addition to calcium, protein and vitamin D, every delicious serving of Horizon Organic Growing Years Milk provides 50mg of DHA Omega-3, choline, and prebiotics, which is why we love it!
When preparing the bananas, you can choose to slice or dice them depending on your child’s age. If your little one is up for it, you can even offer a child-safe knife and have them help with the dicing and slicing. You can also serve them with a little nut butter or add a dash of cinnamon for some fun and flavor.
- Cheese Cubes & Berries
Cheese cubes and berries are absolutely delicious together! In addition to the tasty goodness that they provide, this snack also allows the kids to have a little fun. They can stack the cheese cubes to create an enchanted castle, or arrange the cubes and berries into a silly face!
- Sliced & Seasoned Boiled Eggs
Eggs are great snack for toddlers. They are an excellent source of choline, plus they provide protein and so much more. Eggs are also a great way to introduce your kids to a variety of flavors. Try sprinkling a sliced boiled egg with a little paprika, freshly minced herbs, or sesame seeds.
- Mashed Avocado on Toast
You can never go wrong with avocado. Avocado is extremely versatile and contains healthy fats, potassium and fiber. It can be paired with sweet or savory ingredients and served on a piece of whole grain toast to help increase fiber intake. To make this snack even more balanced, try serving it with an 8oz serving of Horizon Organic Growing Years Milk.
- Simple Pasta & Tomato Salad
To help introduce your kids to new textures, try preparing a chilled pasta and tomato salad. I usually make this salad with bowtie noodles because they’re my kid’s favorite, but you can use elbow noodles or penne pasta, too. To make this salad, combine chilled pasta with a few quartered grape tomatoes and toss with a drizzle of ranch dressing.
Younger children (age 3 to 5):
- Mini Berry Smoothies
Smoothies are very easy to make and a convenient way to combine several nutritious ingredients. My go-to smoothie recipe is this delicious Mini Berry Smoothie. It’s made with 1 cup Horizon Growing Years Whole Milk, which contains 8 grams of protein per serving, that is combined with 1 cup frozen mixed berries, ½ banana, and 1 handful of spinach. Your kids can help toss everything in the blender and even press the “blend” button!
Turn this recipe into a fun smoothie bowl by pouring some into a bowl, then allow your kids to add a few of their favorite toppings like whole grain cereal, chopped fruit, and chia seeds. Turn it into a game to see if they can arrange those toppings into a shape or letter!
- Sliced Cheese, Cucumbers, & Crackers
Upgrade your usual cheese and cracker snack by adding in a few slices of cucumber. Cucumbers help to add a refreshing crunch to snack time and allow the kids to get a little creative by stacking them into little towers or making mini cracker sandwiches. You could also cut the cheese into fun shapes to make snack time even more entertaining!
- Peanut Butter & Carrot Spread on Toast
Peanut butter is always a favorite in our home. To help increase my kid’s veggie intake, I like to combine mashed (canned) carrots with peanut butter and spread it on a piece of whole grain toast. Because carrots are slightly sweet, the flavor blends perfectly with the peanut butter. To make this snack even more amazing, pair it with an 8oz serving of Horizon Growing Years Milk.
- Sliced Red Bell Peppers & Savory Yogurt Dip
Red bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and have a satisfying crunch. Our favorite way to enjoy red bell peppers is to slice them up and serve them with a savory yogurt dip. I like to mix plain Greek yogurt with Everything Bagel Seasoning. It’s such a yummy combo!
- Raisin & Cereal Trail Mix
Trail mix is always fun to make, especially when you involve the kids. You can combine a variety of sweet and salty ingredients, such as unsweetened cereal, pretzels, and raisins. You can also try adding different seasoning combinations for more flavor.
Kindergarten/Early Elementary Kids (age 6+):
- Fruit & Cinnamon Dip
Apples are such an easy, tasty snack, especially when paired with a delicious dip. This Fruit & Cinnamon Dip was made with a Danimals® smoothie and combined with a dash of cinnamon.
Danimals yogurts and smoothies are super convenient and come in a variety of delicious flavors. The great thing about Danimals is that they all provide a good source of vitamin D and calcium per serving, and come in a wide variety of options including smoothies and yogurt pouches, plus they have organic options as well. They are a great addition to lunch and snack time!
- Hummus on Pita Bread
If your kids love hummus, try serving it on whole wheat pita bread. You can also pair this snack with a few sliced olives or shredded carrots, and allow your kids to have a little fun by using those ingredients to make a funny face! Pair this snack with a Danimals Smoothie for a tasty and balanced treat.
- Nuts & Cheese
Nuts and cheese are a simple snack choice. They both have protein and can be easily eaten on-the-go. To make this snack choice even more balanced, try pairing it with a Danimals Lowfat Yogurt Pouch. You can freeze the pouches overnight and then add to lunchboxes in the morning or take one on-the-go. They keep things cool and thaw in time for lunch. freeze the pouches overnight and then add to lunchboxes in the morning or take one on-the-go. They keep things cool and thaw in time for lunch
- Fruit Kabobs
Let the kids prepare their own snack by putting together fruit kabobs. Offer a few varieties of cut fruit and kid-safe skewers on a table, then allow the kids to stack the fruit on skewers any way they would like. Try pairing with a Danimals smoothie or yogurt pouch for dipping! Yum!
- Yogurt Berry Parfait
Parfaits are so much fun because kids can customize them and make them their own. For these Yogurt Berry Parfaits, I used a Danimals Lowfat Yogurt Pouch, ¼ cup of granola, and blueberries and raspberries. You can choose to use any variety of fruit and allow the kids to layer the ingredients themselves.
Providing your kids with delicious snacks that can help to provide important nutrients to their daily diet regimen doesn’t have to be hard. It can include one of these easy snack options, paired with Horizon Growing Years Whole Milk or a Danimals yogurt or smoothie. The great thing about these snack ideas is that they only require a few simple ingredients, and some of them are easy enough for kids to make themselves—guaranteed to make snack time a lot more fun!