Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kids' Snacks

Autumn is totally in the air, and that's saying a lot for the Valley of the Sun.  Autumn around here is more like 2nd Spring.  Trees and bushes burst into bloom again, birds and ducks start flocking to the area and the weather cools to wonderful temps.  Strange things happen like, one day it's 104 as the high and the next it's 76.  Welcome to life in Phoenix!  So why am I not outside enjoying?  Honestly, all the great weather just makes me want to sleep!  So I'm doing the next best thing and that's catching up on my blog.

Kids' Snacks (I'm writing it in the plural since I have 3 of them!  Kids that is...)

This is a little harder topic than the "Snacks for Me" one.  I love trying new healthy things and then making a bunch and stocking my freezer so I can just pull something out on the fly and munch away.  (As I was just doing with my Muffin cookie slathered with clean icing!)  My kids are a LOT pickier and they generally don't like homemade foods.  This is my fault since I have spent most of their little lives stuffing them full of Jack In the Box, Taco Bell and various other processed and sugary foods.  Kids are no different than we are.  Their diet can't just be changed overnight.  If I've trained them to eat poorly that's my fault and it will take time to undo the damage I've caused.  They'll go through detox just like I did.  Step-by-step I continue to adjust their foods to be healthier.  It takes time and patience, both on their part and on mine.  My kids are slowly but surely getting there.  Foods that they used to call "Mommy Food" they now embrace as their own (i.e. oatmeal protein pancakes) and they've stopped asking me "What's in it?" every time I offer them something new.  BUT the battle isn't completely won, YET!

So finding snack food that they will eat and that is healthy and fast has become a huge mountain that I am bound and determined to overcome.  Here are some of the things we've found to date that are either organic and/or made with whole foods (no sugar, corn syrup, food coloring, preservatives, etc... this is what I look for...this is what I've found although I'm not totally positive on the preservatives and food coloring part).

Annie's...  We love just about anything that Annie's makes!  From their mac & cheese to the bunny fruit snacks, bunny crackers, bunny cereal.   Oh my goodness...if it has a bunny on the box my kids are ALL over it!  Costco used to stock Annie's products and that was the best price to get them at and in bulk, but recently I haven't seen them (such a bummer!).  I'm hoping that's a seasonal thing and that soon they'll be back on Costco shelves again.  Locally I can find Annie's products at Sprouts, Fresh & Easy and Fry's in the organic section.

Clif... Gotta love this guy!  Clif and Annie should seriously get married.  Imagine what kind of organic empire they could control!  I love the Clif Mojo bars, personally.  My son loves their chocolate chip bars so I'll often cut one in 1/2 and stick it in his school lunch.  But their Clif Kid Z Bar is just fabulous!  It doesn't matter what flavor, my kids will down them and they are very satisfying.  They also have a Kid Z Fruit Stick.  Easily portable, not too sticky, full of fruit.

Here you can see what I'm talking about with the Annie's and Clif Kid Z products:

Also pictured is the Bare Fruit dried apple chips and pre-packaged all-fruit leather.  Both I found at Costco.  I also get the freeze dried apple, pear and strawberry chips at Costco.  All pre-packaged and easy to grab on-the-go or pack in school lunches.

In the lower right corner of the photo are vegetable chips I buy at Sprout's.  They are cooked in oil but it's a decent kind of oil and the kids enjoy eating them.

Crunchies are also a snack my kids will never say no to.  I've posted the recipe before...basically it's homemade granola but I add extra honey to make it clump into bigger cookie-like pieces.  Someday I'll post the recipe on the watch!

My kids' have made the adjustment from Gogurt to Greek Yogurt.  Today we were in the store and my 6 yr old picked up the box of Gogurt and announced to everyone that we didn't eat it anymore because it has sugar in it.  Then she chose some honey Greek yogurt for her snack for later.

I can't end this blog on kids's snacks without mentioning fresh fruit and raw smoothies.  What healthier food is there than whole fruit...just whole fruit!  Bananas, apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries...either whole or blended in a smoothie.  It gets them the crunch they want, the sweet they want and satisfaction I want them to have.  My littlest (3 yrs old) guy's  new favorite snack is "blueberry milk".  Flavored Kefir in a cup with blueberries or raspberries floating inside.  He takes a spoon, digs the fruit out and drinks the rest.  SO good for his intestinal tract...and a combo of two "mega foods" in one snack.

I'm always on the look-out for other kid-friendly, healthy, clean (or almost clean), sugar-free snacks.  What have you found?  If it's a product or a recipe, I'd love to hear about it!

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