Snack Food Dinners Make Kids (and moms) Happy

How many times have you eaten at a favorite restaurant, loved the bread and the appetizers, and then felt let down by the main event?  Us too.  There’s something about smaller quantities and varied choices that works.  They just taste better.

Applying this theory to meals for kids may help give you a new outlook on that age-old question … what’s for dinner?  So here are some suggestions for  yummy small plates kiddo style, that you can combine to make meal time healthy and happy.  Just don’t tell them. It’ll kill the magic.

> A whole grain toaster waffle topped with a bit of peanut butter or apple butter.  Slice into bite-size fingers.

> Berries (blueberries, strawberries and grapes work well) straight out of the freezer. Cut up if kiddo is under 3 due to choking risk.

> String cheese, turkey, and dried cranberries rolled in a whole grain tortilla, then sliced into small, kid friendly pieces.

> Scramble an egg and stuff into pita bread or other favorite.  Add whatever extras your child loves, like soy bacon bits or tomato slices.

> Veggies, veggies, veggies. Mix up colors and shapes and make them finger size.  Peas, carrots, broccoli florets, snow peas, and sweet potato cubes are all popular.  Add a favorite salad dressing as dip.

> Shrimp cocktail, kid size.  Buy less expensive medium shrimp, cooked and frozen in bags.  Defrost a few at a time and serve with ketchup, teriyaki, or sweet and sour sauce.

> Satsuma oranges (those small, easy-to-peel ones) separated into their tiny sections. Sweet, yummy and full of vitamin C.  Kids can’t resist!

> Whole wheat wagon wheel pasta.  Lay them out on a small plate in the shape of a ‘W’ and see if they get the joke. Sprinkle with parmesan.

> Cocktail-size turkey meatballs.  Slice in half, flat side down on the plate.  Encourage kiddo to make a design or shape before gobbling them up.  Add tomato sauce dip if desired.

> High fiber (at least 3 g. per serving) cereal pieces mixed with dried fruit of choice. Be creative with shapes and colors.

> Tiny pizzas.  A spoonful of sauce and a few shreds of mozzarella on a cracker.  Melt in toaster oven.  Add a pineapple chunk for a Hawaiian touch.  Or whatever.

Now invent some your own and have the kids play, too.  The more creative the better.  MOST important — don’t judge their combos. It may seem gross to you, but if it’s healthy and they like it, it rocks!

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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2 responses to “Snack Food Dinners Make Kids (and moms) Happy”

  1. Paige

    I love this article about ideas for “snacking foods” as meals. I have a snacker kid so I am always trying to be creative. New tips are always fun to try! Thank you!

  2. Help! What is Metabolic Syndrome?

    […] while still serving food kids will like. If a face-to-face nutritionist isn’t possible, there are some suggestions for healthy eating right here at MamasOnCall. Another great resource is Joy Bauer, an adult and child nutritionist […]

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