Super Snacking

Let kids get hands-on with healthy, easy treats

(Family Features) Snacks are a way of life for people of all ages, but especially children, who consume about 25% of their daily calories from snacks, according to research published in the “Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.” Providing nutritionally balanced snacks for your children at home can make for a happy and healthy day.

Planning snacks that are as delicious as they are healthy is a winning solution, and snacks are a simple way to add more nutrition to your child’s diet.

For example, low-fat and fat-free dairy foods are essential to children’s growth and overall wellness. They provide calcium and vitamin D, two nutrients kids don’t get enough of, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines recommend 2-3 servings of low-fat and fat-free dairy foods every day, depending on the child’s age.

Giving kids a role in the preparation can give them added incentive to enjoy healthy treats, and these recipes are all easy enough that kids can make them on their own (or with minimal assistance). Giving your kids the ability to play a role in the kitchen and create is a gift that can last a lifetime. The culinary skills they develop early in life can give them the confidence and know-how to cook nutritious meals for themselves as teens and adults.

Dairy: Did You Know?

Dairy foods can add taste and versatility to your plate, but they also deliver a unique package of essential nutrients important for good health.

  • Milk has a unique combination of nine essential nutrients: protein; calcium; potassium; phosphorus; vitamins A, D and B12; riboflavin and niacin. Each of these nutrients is a key ingredient of milk and they all work together to help keep bodies healthy.
  • Milk, cheese and yogurt are good sources of high-quality protein, which is essential for growth and maintenance of muscle and other proteins within the body.
  • Enjoying dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt as part of a healthy diet is associated with many health bonuses, including reduced risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Get more ideas to get kids cooking and snacking smart at milkmeansmore.org.

Red, White and Blue Greek Yogurt Bark

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 12

  • 3          cups plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/3       cup honey, plus additional for drizzling (optional)
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2       cup strawberries, sliced into rounds
  • 1/2       cup blueberries
  • 1/2       cup raspberries, halved
  1. In medium mixing bowl combine Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup honey and vanilla.
  2. On parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spread Greek yogurt mixture to 1/4-inch thickness. Press strawberries, blueberries and raspberries into yogurt. Freeze at least 3 hours. Break into pieces upon removing from freezer.

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 3/4       cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4       cup peanut butter
  • 1          dash cinnamon
  • apples, graham crackers or other dipper of choice
  1. In bowl, six Greek yogurt, peanut butter and cinnamon until smooth.
  2. Serve with apples, graham crackers or another dipper of choice.

Good Morning Yogurt Parfait

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

  • 1/2       cup sliced or diced fruit, any variety
  • 6          ounces low-fat or fat-free vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4       cup granola or other cereal (optional)
  1. In small bowl or cup, layer fruit and yogurt, starting with fruit on bottom. Top with cereal or granola, if desired.
  2. Note: This recipe can be made using low-fat or non-fat cottage cheese sweetened with honey and cinnamon.

Frozen Banana Pops

Prep time: 2 hours

Servings: 8

  • 4          large bananas, peeled
  • 8          wooden ice pop sticks
  • 2          cups vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2       cup creamy natural peanut butter
  1. Cut each banana in half and carefully insert wooden ice pop stick in bottom of each, about one-third into banana. Place bananas on large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze bananas until partially frozen, about 30 minutes.
  2. Carefully dip each banana in tall pint glass of vanilla yogurt to coat, leaving 1/2-inch at bottom of banana uncoated. Return yogurt-coated bananas to parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until completely firm, about 1 hour.
  3. Microwave peanut butter until smooth and creamy, about 30-45 seconds. Drizzle peanut butter evenly over bananas then place on baking sheet to freeze until peanut butter is firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately or wrap each banana in plastic wrap and store in freezer up to 3 months.

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