Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Healthy and Fun Kids Snacks

My sister, Crystal, and cousin, Karie, are two of the best Mom's I know. They both have twin boys that are preschool age, and they also both have one young child. Karie's 3rd child is a daughter and Crystal has a third son. These kids don't know how lucky they are. Someday when they grow up, they will look back and realize what a gift it was to have a stay-at -home-mommy. Both Moms take full advantage of the time they have with their little ones and it seems as though they are always up their elbows in some new and fun project. What lucky kids!

In the last week or so, I have been gathering healthy children's snacks for a charity event next month.  WARNING! Google can easily take over your life! One minute you are pouring your morning coffee in front of the computer, and the next thing you know the mailman has come and gone, and it is dinner time. Seriously. I warn you. If you have anything of importance to do in your day do NOT, I repeat do NOT, start googling stuff. It is like entering the tunnel of no return. Except you enjoy every minute of it.

Anyway, I have recently been brainstorming ideas for these healthy and fun kids snacks and storing them on my desktop. I then noticed today, that my cousin was asking for kids snack ideas on facebook. My original plan was to make these or similar recipes to these and trickle them out over time onto my site... Plans have changed now that I have been reminded that there are ready and willing little preschoolers out there anxious to become mini chefs! I just can't wait! I am busting at the seams to share my ideas!

The only thing more satisfying to me than kids that love to cook, is Moms who love to encourage them! Here are all the ideas I have been looking at lately! I hope you find what you are looking for and that you have fun!

This post is for all you Moms, Dad, Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins out there who are ready to make a kids day and let them help make their food fun. All I ask in return is feedback from Moms and their happy campers:)

Enjoy!

All credits are given in a link below pictures


M is for Mr. Munching Mouth!
Anyone else ever have the Letter People in school?
T is for Ms. Tall Teeth!
F is for Mr. Funny Feet!
N is for Mr. Noisy Nose!
M is for Mr Munching Mouth!

OK. For those of you who don't know me well, my degree is in Elementary Education. I must stop now or I will recite the whole alphabet with you...

It's your lucky day, I'll spare you listening to me ramble on about Letter People.

BUT! I am leaving you with a video of them if you are interested in taking a quick trip back in time. I smiled watching this as I remembered them for the first time since KG with Mrs. Nelson.



This cute and healthy snack I found reminded me of Mr. Munching Mouth. Make it with your kids today! Why not teach them about the letter M while you are at it! Try to find things in the house that start with M.
Toy tractor? "Machinery!" 
Lift the hood? "Motor"!
What's in the pantry? "Macaroni!"
Who's their favorite parent?.... "M...
OK I better stop there before I get in trouble

Anyway you catch my drift...
Introducing...The Marvelous, The Magnificent,
.....Mr. Munching Mouth!!

With an apple, almonds, marshmallows and a few toothpicks there is much fun to be had!!
See Tutorial here on Cute Food For Kids.



Next up...
Bert and Ernie!!
There are many famous duo's in children's cartoons, but Bert and Ernie are definitely one of the classics! Hey! They even have their own facebook page! 

I ran across these perfect replicas on google. Only problem is that time and again the website they were attached to would not open up. If anyone out there can call these your own please do! They are wonderful!

Lots of wiggle room here as you could use almost anything for the eyes, hair, etc. It looks to me like in this case an orange, banana, raisins, dried apricot, a cherry, and possibly some fruit leather did a pretty great job at recreating these two cool dudes:)

Idea and photo found HERE.




Next up...
Safari Dip!
We all grew up with Ants on a Log....Well, the old is new again! Pretty much the same idea except if you pop an animal cracker on there, it changes EVERYTHING! 

1- Your child gets to pick his or her own animal. 

2- Your child can research or imagine what that animal may eat, and then set it out on the peanut butter "safari path" as a trail of food for their hippo, elephant, or monkey to feast on. 

3- Do you have a picky eater that only enjoys playing with the food? Well, only one animal allowed out of the box at once! You wouldn't want your house to turn into a wild zoo would you? Better munch up that animal before you make a habitat for another. 

Which reminds me....Why not discover what habitat means while we are at it?!?!

Recipe and Picture from Michigan Mommas

Recipe:
Peanut butter
Honey
Celery or apple
Animal crackers
Mix together peanut butter and honey.  
Spread in a piece of celery or on an apple.  
Place animal crackers in the dip mixture.  
Fun, healthy and tasty!



Next up....
Breadstick Snails!
These are cute whether you are using them as a snack, a cute form of breadstick
Picture and idea from Parents.

Breadstick Snails
Made with refrigerated breadsticks and pesto, these cute creatures can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Per Piece: 96 calories; 3g fat



Next up...
Gold Fish Pond!! 
Rice cakes, cream cheese, blue food coloring, and goldfish make this snack fun and easy! May I suggest you make the cream cheese blue yourself before you invite the kids in the kitchen. Unless that is, you like having smurfs for children. 

Go ahead and use your imagination! I think every pond has rocks and plants do they not? Why not lay out a variety of foods in containers like raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, etc and watch your kids go to town on their fish ponds? And remember. You can always sneak anything you want into that water before you turn it blue;)

Picture and Original Ingredients from here on About.com


Next up...
Cone Containers
Some days, it doesn't matter how good your intentions are. You just don't have the time to sit down with your kids and do something creative. It's perfectly normal. But it doesn't mean that their snack can't still be a little fun:) We all know how little kids love to have their own containers. Why not make them edible!?!

Hand them each an empty ice cream cone shell and let them choose their snack for the day. Plop them down in front of their favorite cartoon with their cones while you attempt to get something done. And for an extra unexpected surprise why not hide a single jellybean down at the bottom and watch their faces light up! One little bean won't hurt em:)



Pictures and idea from la Jolla mom




Next up...
Yogurt Dipped Bananas!
It has been proven time and again over the years, if you put something on a stick it magically reinvents itself into something totally new and exciting. For instance, look at the apple! Shove a stick in it, and dip it in caramel or candy. Wahlaa! Dessert! Oh you say you are sick of hot dogs my child? Lets just put a stick in the end of it and dip it in batter. Mmmmmm! CORN DOG! Sick of chicken and vegetables? Don't worry we will just make kabobs out of them! 


Seriously. I think we play tricks on our own minds. It starts young my friend. Right here with treats like these Yogurt Dipped Bananas. These are fun and healthy for your little ones! They are also an awesome alternative to popsicles, and a great opportunity for an art project! Yippee!!


Why not roll em in nuts, sprinkles, crushed graham cracker, or mini chocolate chips while you are at it? Yum!




Pictures and Original Idea also from la Jolla mom




Next up...
Flying Critters!
This is a cute little recipe originally entitled Butterfly Bites. Using celery, hummus, pretzels and raisins you make little butterflies. The hummus makes a perfect body by piping it through a sandwich bag with the tip cut off. The look of this reminded me that you could pipe almost anything through a bag to look like that. So use what you have already in the house.


For our purposes I am renaming them Flying Critters. You can then cater to butterfly and beetle lovers alike! Give your own flying critter a name! Let your child make any bug in the book!



Picture and Recipe from www.nutritionwithk.com
Butterfly Bites
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes six butterflies

3 celery legs
1 tbsp hummus (you can substitute low-fat cream cheese or natural nut butter)
6 mini-loop pretzels
3 raisins, 
  • Cut each celery leg in half (so the pieces are all about three to four inches long).
  • Cut a small sliver off each side of each part of the celery to serve as the antennae.
  • Place the hummus (or cream cheese, or nut butter) into a small Ziploc bag with the corner snipped. Pipe the spread into the grove of each celery piece.
  • Place a pair of mini pretzels together with the round ends up, into the hummus mixture. This represents the wings.
  • Cut each raisin in half and place 2 pieces on one end of each piece of celery to represent the eyes.
  • Take the small pieces of celery and insert them above the eyes to act as the antennae.



Next up...
Mischievous Mice!
These sneaky little buggers make the perfect treat! Fun to make and even funner to eat. This is a good snack to make and eat with the kids while the baby is napping. They can "act like mice"....sneaking around and being "quiet as a mouse in a house".

Why not read your favorite book with a quiet mouse or other quiet creatures in it while snacking?  Sounds like a nice quiet activity to me! Sleeeeeeeeeep baby sleep!!

Picture and recipe from the Family Fun section of the Disney website here.


These mischievous mice will have your kids happily nibbling on a healthy snack in no time.

Ingredients
·       Fresh strawberries
·       Mini chocolate chips
·       Black decorators' icing
·       Almond slivers
·       Toothpick
·       Red lace licorice
·       Wedge of Cheese (Your choice)
Instructions
1.  For each mouse, slice a small section from the side of a strawberry so it sits 
     flat.
2.  Press a mini chocolate chip into the tip for a nose, using a small dab of icing to secure it in place, if needed.
3.  Add icing eyes and stick 2 almond slivers into the top of the berry for ears.
4.  For a tail, use a toothpick to carve a small hole in the back of the berry and push the end of a piece of licorice lace into the hole. Serve these berry cute treats with small triangles of cheese.




Last but definitely not least,
Make Your Own Mini Pizzas!!

That's right! Whether you make the dough yourself or use something else, making your own pizza can be a lot of fun! My childhood friends and I have fond memories of all the birthday parties that my mom would let us all make our own pizzas. How fun!

She made her crust ahead of time and froze it, but not all people want to go through the hassle. To quickly create these with your kiddlets for an afternoon snack, use English muffins, bagels, or pitas! Let the kids make a face on their pizza with olives or green peppers,and pop em in the toaster oven!

I was reminded of this new again idea when I accidentally ran across it here.






4 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting these wonderful tips on how to be creative on kids' foods. My daughter always cry whenever I can't give her cotton candy. It's her favorite and she always jumps whenever she sees cotton candy machines. These snacks are way healthier and I'm sure she'll love it too.

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  2. These healthy snacks would help the kids become healthy inside and out. My dentist in Sevierville TN also said that these food group will also help their teeth become healthier.

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  3. Hello, please credit our Ernie & Bert Snack to our blog (Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons) & our original post.... http://kitchenfunwithmy3sons.blogspot.com/2011/06/ernie-and-bert-fruit-snack.html Thanks!

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