If you are a mom at home on a diet, you will probably be related to a frequent situation I encounter as a weight-loss consultant. Many of my clients with children are able to keep to a healthy eating plan through most circumstances except two. It all starts to go astray when the kids come home from school, or when they are preparing school lunches.
It’s no surprise really. Kids love snacks we buy from the supermarket, and parents love them because they are quick and easy to throw into the lunchbox or for kids to grab from the shelves in the pantry. Small bags of chips, tasty bite-size crackers, sodas, and the like. No problem. Except when it comes to mom’s weight loss program. Mom loves them too!
These products are high in fat, high in energy, and high in refined sugars. And after one, two, or three nibbles it is possible to wrack up an unwanted 500 calories. This single act will probably stall your weight loss or even worse!
To stop your kids from sabotaging your weight loss efforts, here are 20 snack ideas for kids that will do far less damage to your weight loss program if mom nibbles (just a little).
1. Chop up tinned pear or other fruit in natural juice and set in 200mls of low-calorie jelly. Makeup into individual disposable plastic containers with lids.
2. Cut up crisp vegetable sticks with dipping sauce – ranch, peanut (satay), sweet chili, or tomato.
3. Cut celery sticks 6-8 cm, fill with cottage cheese, and top with sultanas or chopped nuts.
4. Combine a mixture of low-fat hard cheese cubes, nuts, and dried fruits in plastic wrap or a lunch bag.
5. Roll up thin slices of carrot and celery with grated cheese in a slice of cold meat. Secure with toothpick. Slice the carrot and celery with a vegetable peeler for really thin slices.
6. Cut oranges into quarters and freeze on trays. Put into plastic bags for a fruity ice block.
7. Meatball surprise. Next time you are making meatloaf, double the quantity and make a batch of meatballs. These are great in lunchboxes cold. Add a slice of pineapple with a toothpick to each meatball. Add dipping tomato sauce if required.
8. Mini quiches. Make a batch of crust-less quiche and cook in muffin tray. Each ‘muffin’ will be a wonderful healthy snack for kids.
9. Chilled fruit surprise – slice a combination of strawberries, bananas, kiwi fruit, watermelon, grapes, or in-season fruit. Place in a small resealable plastic container. Top with apple juice; do not overfill. Seal, freeze. When packed in a lunchbox, we will keep sandwiches cool and prove a refreshing treat on a hot day.
10. Rice cakes spread with mashed avocado, mashed banana, and cinnamon, or try mashed avocado, sliced tomato, and sprouts.
11. Chopped hard-boiled egg served with low-fat mayo, salt, pepper on a crispbread.
12. Leaf wrappers: wrap a cheese finger, celery stick, and carrot stick in a lettuce leaf. Wrap in foil and place in the lunchbox. The contents will be kept moist.
13. Yogurt tub.
14. Baby Bell Cheese and low-fat cracker.
15. Creamy dates: slice dates lengthways, remove stone. Fill with Philadelphia cream cheese (low fat).
16. Quick sausage rolls: wrap a skinned (good quality) sausage in several sheets of filo pastry. Brush pastry with beaten egg to glaze. Cut into desired lengths. Bake in a moderately hot oven for 15-20 minutes. Rolls can be frozen.
17. Same as above but use fresh chicken breast strips and cut to 2″ – use tomato or favorite dipping sauce
18. After school hot snack attack: Spread a round of pita bread with tomato paste and herbs. Top with tomato, ham, mortadella, add onion, sliced mushrooms, or pineapple. Sprinkle grated low-fat hard cheese over pita bread. Grill to make a tasty pizza. If no pita bread is available, substitute a crispbread.
19. Fruity kebabs: place bite-size pieces of fruit in season on kebab skewers.
20. Pop-top sandwich tuna tin, crispbread, a sachet of mayonnaise. Kids can put their snack together at school so that it doesn’t go soggy.
Remember fresh is best both for yourself and your children. By substituting these ideas for some prepackaged snack food and cookies your kids eat you will be doing both them and yourself a favor.