Quick and healthy snacks for preschoolers

Quick and healthy snacks for preschoolers

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You can prepare a midday meal with minimal fuss if you keep a well-stocked pantry and have a few fresh ingredients on hand. Remember to use nonfat or low-fat dairy products, and choose whole grain breads and cereals.

Here are some quick, healthy ideas for lunch:

English muffin pizzas: Invite your child to make a personal pizza by spreading spaghetti sauce on half an English muffin and letting your child add her favorite toppings. (Be sure to offer some sliced veggies.) Sprinkle cheese on top and bake in a toaster oven until the cheese melts slightly.

Classic nut butter sandwich: Peanut butter is full of protein, folic acid, and magnesium, making this good old standby a great lunch choice for children.

Choose a brand without added hydrogenated fats, which are often used to prevent separation. You also could try alternatives such as almond butter or SunButter, which is made from sunflower seeds. These may be good options for people with nut allergies.

Spread nut butter thinly on bread or crackers, and never give a young child a glob of it on a spoon. (She might choke on it.)

Try adding some raisins or thin slices of apple or banana.

Bagel snake: Split a mini bagel in half, then cut each half into four semicircles. Arrange the pieces on the plate in an S shape. Top with an ounce of tuna mixed with a quarter cup of chopped celery, a teaspoon of mayo, and a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes.

Bean salad: It doesn't get much easier than opening a can of beans! Try white bean and salmon salad using canned salmon, Parmesan cheese, and salad dressing. Or just toss different kinds of beans with vinaigrette for a simple three bean salad.

Pita pockets: Try filling half a pita with turkey, apples, and cheddar cheese or chicken salad.

Playful sandwiches: Pique your child's interest with a fun twist on the traditional sandwich. For example, roll up a wrap with cheese, turkey, and a pickle. Or host an elegant tea party with cranberry and cream cheese tea sandwiches.

Simple soups: Black bean soup is an easy, fortifying lunch. Just simmer together beans, broth, onion, and garlic, then puree. Tempt your pizza lover with pizza soup: tomato soup topped with pepperoni and grated cheese. Take advantage of fresh summer veggies with cold veggie soup, or turn last night's leftovers into classic chicken soup with rice.

Eggs: Packed with protein and vitamins, there's no reason to limit eggs to breakfast. Stir chopped deli meat and cheese into scrambled eggs, or make fried eggs served with multigrain toast.

For a heartier lunch, add chopped spinach to make an easy frittata. If you have leftover spaghetti, warm it in a skillet with chopped vegetables, then whisk four eggs and pour them over the pasta to make a spaghetti omelet.

Pasta: Keep a variety of pasta shapes in your pantry. Cook as directed on the package and add fresh or frozen veggies for a warm meal in minutes. Young children love creamy cheese and pea orzo, for example. Shred leftover chicken and combine with pasta shells and broccoli.

Little bites: Set out a smorgasbord of healthful options and let your child taste and nibble. Fill each cup of a muffin pan with different foods, such as cheese cubes, leftover pasta, pickles or olives, cut-up deli meat, crackers or cereal, chopped fruit, sliced vegetables, and dip.

Get more tips about healthy eating for preschoolers and bigger kids too.

Watch the video: Mayo Clinic Minute: After-school snack ideas (July 2022).


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