When your child asks for samosa or chips or a bowl of noodles, what’s your immediate reaction? You try to sway him/her away from eating these because you know that they are junk and unhealthy. But how do you convince your little one about this? They don’t know what is junk and are certainly unaware of the difference between healthy and unhealthy food. For them the look and taste of the food matter more than anything else. This has had a massive impact on the health of children. We should be more careful in the case of snacks for children, as this is very important especially in their formative years for their physical well- being.
According to nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, there are more malnourished kids in India than anywhere else in the world and the country has the second-highest number of obese kids. With the easy availability of junk food across the country and within the reach of everyone, the situation has become alarming. That’s why over the last few years the trend toward healthy snacking has picked pace with governments and food regulators making it mandatory for schools and food companies to make healthier alternatives of snacks or banning the sale of junk food altogether. The best way to wean kids away from junk and processed food is to give them homemade healthy snacks. The strategy should be, in the case of snacks for children, is to select the right food items which include the most productive nutrients, that can enhance their capabilities.
Here’s a list of 16 healthy snacks that you can make at home. The list also contains nutritional values of the snacks.
- Choco Cookie Shake
This shake is the healthier version of the regular shakes. Made with chocolate cookies, choco chip cookies, vanilla ice cream, chilled milk, sugar, and ice cubes, this sweet chocolate milk also boosts energy after a tough day at school or sports.
- Peanut Butter, Honey and Banana Roll
This delicious and healthy roll is made of just four ingredients, can be prepared instantly and needs no cooking at all (except for roti). With the goodness of peanut butter, honey, and banana, this snack can’t get any better. You can replace bread with roti if you want a healthier option.
|Peanut Butter||Proteins, Vitamins|
|Banana||Vitamin B6, Manganese, Vitamin C, Potassium, Dietary Fiber, Protein, Magnesium, Folate, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin A, Iron|
|Honey||1 tbsp of honey contains 64 calories and 17 grams of sugar, including fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose.|
- Oatmeal Bars
Oats have now become so popular that they are being used in everyday cooking in India. This bar, with the goodness of milk, cashews, raisins, butter, cinnamon, chocolate sauce, custard powder, and sugar, is an instant energy booster and a healthy choice for snacks between meals.
- Mung Bean Sprout
Mung beans are considered as one of the best sources of proteins and in India, it’s been used for ages both as a main dish and side dish. It takes just about a day to sprout the mung beans and this quick snack has several nutritional benefits. For better taste add chopped onions, tomatoes, salt, chili powder, chopped green chilies, coriander, and other julienned ginger and other vegetables and herbs.
The nutrition mentioned here is for sprouted mung beans only. The nutritional value of the sprouts along with other vegetables will be different.
- Chana Chat
Made from Chick Peas (Kabuli Chana) and other ingredients like onions, tomatoes, cucumber, chat masala, tamarind paste, and date syrup, this instant chat is not only nutritious, but will also keep you full for a long time.
- Cornflakes Chat
A quick chat with the goodness of cornflakes, onions, tomatoes, and green chilies, and spices, this short eat is as delicious as it can get. It’s also guilt-free with no oil or grease whatsoever.
- Alu Tikki
One street food that’s popular among kids is the alu tikki. And when mixed with curries and spices, the taste is heavenly. But alu tikki is often red-flagged as it’s deep-fried. This recipe here uses the same recipe but is made with minimal oil, so you can enjoy your alu tikki, but without the guilt that it’s associated with.
- Dry Fruit Mix*
Make your own dry fruit mix by mixing peanuts, almonds, cashews, dates, figs, black currants, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. This is an excellent energy booster and is the best source of all the nutrition our body needs. Make small pieces of all the ingredients and store them in a bottle for a quick snack or take them with you are traveling.
|* 100 gms mix. This mix is also an excellent source of Vitamin E, Unsaturated Fats, Omega-3, and antioxidants.|
- Oat Banana Cookie
Made with a combination of oats, bananas, coconut oil, vanilla essence, and dried fruits, the cookies are just perfect for a quick short eat between meals or while travelling. Bananas are added to replace sugar and that makes the cookies even more exciting.
|The cookies are also excellent sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Calcium, Copper, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Niacin, Zinc Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Selenium, and Thiamin.|
- Fruit Sandwich
Fruit sandwiches are gaining in popularity across the world and the credit must go to the Japanese. This sandwich is made from mixed fruit jam, choice of fruits like papaya, apple, grapes, mud apple (chikoo), banana, pomegranate, mangoes, and other fruits. Do not use fruits like watermelons, pineapple or oranges as these fruits will make soggy.
- Mango and Banana Smoothie
This vegan smoothie contains no milk or sugar and has all the goodness of the fruits. All you need are fruits (seasonal), bananas, and a blender. Nothing else.
You can never go wrong with a sandwich. Kids love gorging on it while adults eat it for lunch or whenever there’s just no option. This link has recipe for 35 different kinds of sandwich that are easy to make and can be eaten for both breakfast and as snack. The nutrition depends on the filing used to make the sandwich and you can also replace white bread with brown bread.
- Roasted Lotus Seeds (Makhana)
There’s no doubt that kids love munching on makhanas. They closely resemble popcorn and are very tasty and healthy. You can make roasted makhanas with basic ingredients like ghee, turmeric, salt, and black pepper.
|Roasted Makhana Nutrition Value (100 gms)|
- Green Tomato Salsa and Veggie Wrap
This snack is made from an exhaustive list of healthy vegetables, herbs, and spices. Kids will love eating this iron-rich wrap.
- Dal and Vegetable Soup
This soup combines the benefits of dal with the taste of vegetables that kids will enjoy. As the soup uses vegetables for taste, the need for spices is eliminated. Dal provides protein that children need for their growing muscles while vegetables provide essential nutrients.
- Ragi Upma
We have all eaten upma made from semolina or rava. How about trying ragi upma? We have all heard about ragi mudde at some point of time and may have also tried ragi idli, ragi dosa, or even ragi rotti, all of which are popular in South India. Ragi is a very rich source of iron. Try this ragi upma recipe and see how your kids enjoy eating this deliciously healthy snack.
in today’s globalized world, food for children remains a topic that needs close scrutiny.Food companies are bombarding the social media and TV with advertisements of food they claim are healthy. However, one needs to understand that processed food can never be healthy. Processed food is one of the leading causes of childhood obesity in the developed world and governments there have asked restaurants and food companies to reduce the amount of sugar and salt they use. On November 6, 2019, Indian food regulator FSSAI proposed a ban on the sale of junk food in school canteens and within 50 metres outside schools. It’s high time we make healthy snacks at home so our kids don’t end up eating outside.