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Healthy snack options!

Children do not eat a lot in one meal but they tend to have more meals. Apart from breakfast and lunch, childcare centres would also include a tea break after their nap time for infants and preschoolers. All these meals have to be nutritious but at the same time delicious so that they will still want to eat it. However, preparing a meal takes up a lot of time, especially when we try to convince them to eat things they do not like by hiding them or making them cute. Having more meals will inevitably mean spending more time in the kitchen, having to prepare and cook these meals. It then becomes very easy, when we are short of time, to fall back on providing simple snacks like biscuits and chips as snacks so as to save up on the time needed to prepare and cook. However, as we consider the nutritional value of these snacks, we would want to stay away from them as much as possible. Today, we will share some alternative options for tea time at home. We hope that these healthy snack options don't take up too much of your time, so you will be interested in preparing them!

  1. Fruit sticks / Veggie sticks

Having fruits is an important part of our diet, but not many of us make an effort to include them in our diet. Vegetables are also not often seen as a main dish but these two categories of food should make up the bulk of our meals. As such, it can be quite difficult to encourage children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Some children may also feel more adverse to certain types of fruits compared to others, making it difficult for it to be part of our main meals. There are some ways we could overcome this. One of the ways is to combine these fruits into a fruit popsicle by putting these cut fruits into the freezer. It will be akin to eating ice cream which is a favourite for all, but a healthier version of it. We can also try to pair these fruit sticks or vegetable sticks with a dip to make them tastier. As fruits are already on the sweet side, we can introduce dips that are saltier. Nut butter, such as peanut butter or almond butter can be used. Another possible dip option would be melted cheese or dark chocolate but it may be a less healthy option. For vegetables, we can go with hummus or guacamole. Do take note to ensure that they do not end up having more of the dip than the fruit or vegetables itself!

If you have a blender at home, another possible idea is simply to put these cut fruits and fruits into a blender and make it into a smoothie. Making mixed fruit juice is also possible if you have a juicer but smoothies tend to be more filling due to the inclusion of the fibre from fruits. It is also possible to include a wider variety through smoothies as not all fruits can be made into a fruit juice. Milk is also usually added to smoothies, so it may be easier for them to accept. Nonetheless, either drink forms are great for hiding vegetables or fruits that your child may not like when we use another type of fruit that has a stronger taste to mask it. It is also easy to consume and may seem like a better option than drinking water to them, so they may be more open to having it. If the end product is not sweet enough, you can also include some honey to increase the sweetness of the drink.

Cutting fruits and vegetables into cube- or stick-size may take up a little time, but they can be kept in the fridge for a while in an air-tight container and none of the snack options above need time at the stove. So time can be saved if they are cut up at the same time and then stored away.

  1. Going Nuts

In the previous section, nut butter was mentioned. Nuts may not be a good option if your child is allergic to it, but if it isn’t, it serves as a very tasty and easy snack as there’s nothing that needs to be done! Most nuts are good for our health, especially our heart, so having a habit of them as a snack is a good one to start from young. Some of the better options would be walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashew, pistachios and peanuts. The most important thing in serving nuts as a snack option is that they should be taken as naturally as possible, unsalted and unsweetened. The extra salt or sugar will end up cancelling out their benefits. Like the dips above, it is also good to take note not to consume too much of it as they are high in calories, eating too much may result in weight gain.

  1. Eggs and toasts

While the westerners have their version of eggs and toasts, we too have our version of it. Instead of a scramble egg or omelette, eggs and toast is made up of soft boiled eggs paired up with kaya or butter sugar toasts. While traditionally a breakfast option, it could also well be a snack option for children. However, to increase its nutritional value, we will make some changes to it. We will still keep the eggs as it is. Soft boiled eggs don’t take up much time but require a little more precision as you need to ensure it isn’t overcooked or undercooked. If you do not want to be bogged down by it, we can simplify this by changing and going with hard boiled eggs instead, so there’s no need to stay at the stove. Instead of pairing the eggs up with the traditional toasts, we can change it up to make it healthier. As eggs taste wonderful on their own, we could change the breads to wholemeal types or sourdough bread and not have any additional spread. We could still toast the bread but the eggs, either soft boiled or hard boiled, can then be the spread or the dip for the toasts.

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