healthy snacks for kids

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If you’ve been following Bloom for a while you’ll know that I like to make a lot of my children’s snacks. I do this to maximise the nutrients in their snack choices whilst minimising less desirable nutrients such as salt, sugar, fat and refined carbohydrates. 

For young children who need to eat regularly, snacks form a large part of their daily diet and should really represent our major food groups as much as possible, not something just grabbed in haste to fill a hole.  

Now no one likes to be a slave to their kitchen, so when I bake for the lunchboxes I do large batch cooking and freeze. I look for recipes that include ingredients from our key food groups like fruit, vegetables, wholegrain cereals and seeds (or nuts if your school permits them). I’ll often try and reduce the sugar too. If you need some inspiration you might like to try our green seed slice or coco cranberry bliss balls. 

Even with great planning and preparation there are still weeks where I might find I have nothing on hand, or I just don’t want to or have time to cook. In these situations I turn to a selection of pre-packged snacks from the supermarket that still offer plenty of nutrition. I also like to alternate my home cooked choices with purchased snacks to mix things up a bit and ensure the kids don’t get bored of the same old thing.

To help you make smart choices in the supermarket we’ve come up with this list of Bloom approved snacks.

1. Roasted nori sheets – These are a great source of iodine. 1 small 8g packet provides 30% of a young child’s daily iodine requirement. It should be noted that these are very high in salt but as the serving size is so small (8g) the total quantity of salt consumed is small. 

2. Fruit/Raisin bread  I’ve always got a loaf in my freezer. Sure it has some added sugar, but most of the sugar comes from the added dried fruit. It’s low GI, filling and has around 120 calories per buttered slice (1 slice is plenty for a recess snack). Tip top have alsohave a wholemeal Raisin toast and that’s got my tick of approval

3. Cheese and Crackers -I’m not really a fan of the pre-packaged cheese and biscuit packs as they cost a fortune. Even when you’re low on time you can still still grab a handful of crackers and cut a slice of cheese (or a cheese stick if you really need to). Not all crackers are created equal though. You definitely want to focus on buying a wholegrain variety (look for those with at least 4g of fibre per 100g) and with a sodium content less than 400mg/100g (harder to find). 

My top picks would be Ryvita wholegrain crisp breads (I’d suggest breaking two in halves as they are larger), Vita-Wheat crisp bread range and crackers (note these all exceed 400mg of sodium/100g,but most are under 500g/100g) and the Mary’s Gone Crackers range (although please note these are a more expensive option). 

Team with your child’s preferred cheese and you have a filling snack option high in fibre, B vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids (from the seeds), calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.

3. Roasted or puffed Chickpeas and Fava Beans

The crunchy texture of these products will appeal to many kids. 

They come in plain (lightly salted), as well a variety of other flavours.  I love that they come in individually wrapped portions so you can simply grab and chuck into the lunchbox. They also hit the mark for fibre content, sodium and overall calories, not to mention they also count towards your child’s daily intake of vegetables!

4. Popcorn

Another option that’s sure to be a hit with most kids that is filling and high in fibre. I’d recommend you check what type of oil your popcorn is cooked in (or better yet go for air popped, although many kids may find this too bland) and avoid any cooked in palm oil (a saturated fat we want to avoid). 

Also look for those with a lower sodium content, ideally less than 400mg per 100g. I’d also stay away from any of the sweetened varieties, children don’t need the extra sugar in these products. 

My pick would be CobsR natural sea salt variety. I buy it in the large packs and portion it out to save money, but if you’re really low on time you may prefer the individually packed option.

5. Coles “buddy” dried fruit and seed packets – with a few varieties on offer there should be something here that most kids will like. Some varieties contain “fun” foods like mini marshmallows and chocolate buds. This personally doesn’t bother me and I find the inclusions of some fun foods in a trail mix makes it more likely my kids will eat the whole thing. 

6. Weetbix mini breakfast biscuits – These multi-pack biscuits have just over 1 teaspoon of sugar per packet but best of all they have 2.8 g fibre, more than most other snack biscuits on the market. They are also fortified with iron and a range of B vitamins. Bel vita also make a similar biscuit however with 3 teaspoons of sugar per biscuit they are my second choice, although I it should be noted that they contain more fibre at 4g per packet.

7. Milk boxes/Smoothies – Devondale mini milk boxes are a perfect option to deliver a hit of calcium (and protein) to your child’s lunchbox. As they are long life milks you don’t have to worry if they get warm during the day. My kids are happy to have plain milk but I do also give them flavoured ones to mix things up a bit. The Devondale Moo flavoured milks have around 1 tsp of sugar per 100g which is not overly bad given that this product also contains lots of other worthwhile nutrients. Sippah straws are another quick option to pop in the lunchbox with a thermos of plain milk and contain less than 1/2 teaspoon per straw. Nudie also released a range of long life brekkie smoothies last year in flavours such as banana and mixed berry. They are sweetened with maple syrup and have around 1.5 teaspoons of sugar per 100ml. 

8. Fruit straps – There are a few different options on the market now, for example The “Fruit Wise” and “Bear Yo Yo’s. Both brands are made from 100% dehydrated fruit with no added sugars or fillers. Per serve these products contain about 1/2 the calories of a fresh piece of fruit. Most people don’t find them as filling as eating fresh fruit (because the water content has been removed from them) and of course being quite sticky they aren’t a great option for your child’s teeth. I wouldn’t make this your every day fruit option but they’re a reasonable back up. 

9. Date and seed based bites/bars and protein balls – eg Kez’s kitchen lamington bars. These are made from dates and seeds and have nothing but real ingredients added. If you are buying these sorts of products check the ingredient list and try and avoid those with added sweeteners such as honey or  rice syrup. Most of these products are quite pricey and I feel you could make a similar version yourself for much less but for those busy times they are a handy option.     

10 Messy Monkeys – Out of all the flavoured savoury snacks/biscuits on the market for children these would probably be my pick. They are high in fibre (2g per serve) and don’t contain artificial flavours or flavour enhancers, the salt and fat content is however quite high (as are many other similar products in this category). My biggest concern with savoury salty snacks for children is that it tends to program their taste buds to want more salty highly flavoured foods and these flavours aren’t found in natural whole foods. That’s not to say that I’d never buy these snacks for my children but I certainly limit them to occasionally and where possible I try to buy plain varieties of biscuits. 

11. Mini dips and baby cucumbers – we love the Obela mini dips for the convenience of their grab and go size!  Keep and pack of baby cuqs (cucumbers) on hand and have you have a super healthy snack prepared in 30 seconds!


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Feel that sunshine on your skin!

 

Spring has arrived. The sun is in the sky and the trees are in bloom. Sit back and enjoy our Spring Nutrition Newsletter, with lots of great nutrition news, recipes and family eating tips for the season.

 

We break down getting kids into the kitchen, the new American Academy of Paediatrics statement on additives and child health and what it means for food storage, vegan diets for children, and a host of nutrition tips and recipes.

 

Take a look inside!

 

Cheers,

Click here!

x Bloom 🌿


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We all know buying fruit and vegetables in season makes good sense. Food is fresher, tastes better, and is more economical. But with so many fruits and vegetables available out of their natural season, it can be confusing to know what to buy right now.

Below is a guide to whats available in the southern states in Autumn for March/April/May.

Autumn fruits –
apples, blackberries, cumquats, figs, feijoas, grapes, honeydew, limes, mandarins, valencia oranges,

passionfruits, pears, persimmon, plums, pomegranates, quinces, raspberries, rhubarb, rockmelons, strawberries, watermelons.

Autumn vegetables –
asian greens, beetroot, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, capsicums, carrots, celeriac, celery, cauliflower, eggplant, jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, parsnip, peas, potato, pumpkin, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, swede, sweet corn, turnip, chicory, zucchini.

Nuts –

chestnuts, pistachios.

(Seasonal Guide with thanks to Adelaide Farmer’s Market)

And what to do with these autumn offerings?

While the weather is still warm in the beginning of autumn, fresh foods served simply, like BBQs, salads and shared platters and outdoor eating remain at the top of the family meal list.

As the weather cools down, consider preserving some of the warmer weather’s fruits and veg for the coming winter. Getting chilly? Start ramping up the roast and soup rotations to help meet the family’s 2 & 5 goals for fruit and veg. Leftovers are great for lunchboxes too!

Remember, if you’ve got a fussy eater in the family, providing both new and familiar options of fruits and vegetables in a buffet or family style offering encourages children to try new foods.

Enjoy!

Angela @ Bloom 🌿

 


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It can be tricky to find a recipe for a lunchbox cookie that meets the brief; a good source of nutrients, enough protein and fibre to keep the kids full, not too much sugar, no nuts, and tasty enough that they actually eat them!

 

I’ve tried many a cookie recipe, and played around with a few favourites to come up with one that all 6 members of our family really enjoy. After posting some pics on instagram, we were asked by people to share the recipe… so here it is.

 

It’s definitely not your traditional choc chip cookie, and may not be sweet enough for some, so check out the notes at the bottom of the recipe for modification tips if needed.

 

Chia sunflower double choc cookies (Dairy free)

Ingredients

100g Nuttelex olive oil light, melted and cooled

1/4 c maple syrup or honey

1 egg

2 tsp natural vanilla essence

 

1/2 c ground sunflower seeds

1/2 c wholemeal self raising flour

1 1/2 c quick oats

1/4 c cocoa powder or cacao

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

2 tsp mixed chia seeds

 

1/3 c dark choc chips ( I use Callebaut Belgian Callets from Costco, and they are dairy free)

 

Method

Mix all wet ingredients together (cooled melted nuttelex, maple syrup, egg and vanilla essence) until combined.

Stir together all the remaining dry ingredients, except for the choc chips) removing any lumps.

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until combined. The final consistency shouldn’t be too wet. (If it is, scatter through some more oats)  Then fold through choc chips.

Roll into balls, and place on tray with 5 cm space between, and press lightly to form a cookie shape.

Bake at 180 deg for 15-18 mins, or until cooked to your liking.
(15 min is perfect for my oven which runs quite hot)

Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

 

NOTES

They may soften and become more like a whoopee pie consistency if not all eaten on the first day, but my kids really like them either way.

These cookies are on the more savory side of a sweet cookie! If your kids prefer a sweeter cookie you may need to start with more maple syrup, or add a little brown sugar, and gradually decrease the amount of sweetness. Or use a few extra choc chips 😉 .

You can also make them egg free if you need to for allergies or vegan diets, by simply omitting the egg, but decrease the oats to about 1 cup, otherwise the mixture will be too dry.
My best advice is to have a play around and see how they work best for your tribe… the cookies you get to taste test along the way are all in the name of science 🙂
x Angela @ Bloom 🌿