A healthy snack doesn’t have to be complicated to be filling or delicious.
Sometimes the snack requires little or no preparation beyond an occasional trip to the grocery store or dipping into the pantry or fridge. Indeed, “dipping” is the whole idea this week.
Dipping food adds a fun element for younger kids. It also provides a simple, economical, no-stress way to add fresh fruits and raw vegetables to a diet. And healthy dips are easy enough to place in small containers, so utilizing them after school or on the go is not a problem.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Eat Right initiative offers this list of healthy dips that can be placed on your student’s plate at a moment’s notice. (And don’t frown if your child is a “double-dipper.” That just means the snack is really good!)
- Baby carrots or cherry tomatoes in low-fat ranch dressing
- Strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt
- Pretzels in mustard
- Pita chips in hummus
- Graham crackers in applesauce
- Baked tortilla chips in bean dip
- Animal crackers in low-fat pudding
- Bread sticks in salsa
- Granola bar in low-fat yogurt
- Mini toaster waffles in cinnamon applesauce
Pretzels and mustard alone create some interesting alternatives. Pretzels come in many shapes and sizes—thick, thin, salted, unsalted, twisted, or in sticks. Some varieties are gluten-free. But watch the calorie count and serving size whatever brand you buy. Mustard is just as diverse. Spicy, traditional, yellow, golden, or brown, it’s a chance for kids to spread their snacking wings and try something new.
A few more dipping favorites not on the list: Celery sticks and apple slices dip nicely in peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese. Pepper slices work well in your child’s favorite low-fat salad dressing.
Low-fat peanut butter provides an interesting dipping alternative. Some like to combine a bit of peanut butter with non-fat yogurt. Others have recommended recipes with low-fat Cool Whip (frozen). It’s all a matter of taste and the time one cares to spend in preparation.
For a refreshing summertime snack that’s a little more fancy (and must be prepared ahead), peel a banana, dip it it yogurt, then roll it crushed cereal and freeze. This dipped fruit makes a great dessert as well.
Featured Image – bark via Flickr/ CC by 2.0