Whether you're throwing a birthday party, cheering on your favorite football team or hosting your child's friends for a sleepover, it's highly likely that if kids are involved, snacks will be a necessity.
Dr. Deanna Aftab-Guy, pediatric endocrinologist at The Children's Hospital, provides tips on healthier alternatives:
As a mom of five and a pediatric specialist who works with children with metabolic needs, I am very conscious of what we feed our children - I am also very aware of how picky our children can be!
Sometimes, we offer far too many food options and at the end of the party, there can be an overwhelming amount of food leftover.
Kids love to play and be active - most have very little interest in sitting down and eating. Parties should focus on a variety of fun and safe activities with healthy snacks welcomed when kids take a break between socializing with their friends.
More importantly, let's start with drinks. Keep kids hydrated by offering plenty of non-caloric containing beverages such as low fat milk or water. You can make things more festive by adding fruit slices or fun ice cubes to the drink dispenser.
Many children have food sensitives or allergies, so snack choices should incorporate a variety of dietary needs.
Fruit kabobs are just one example of a way you can combine a party activity along with healthy snacking. Kids can assemble their own kabobs with a variety of bite-sized fruits. Cut the fruit into fun shapes with cookie cutters and then let them place the fruit onto wooden skewers (with the sharp ends removed!).
Our certified diabetes educator, Natalie Noah-Wilson with TriStar Children's Specialists, has tons of fun snack choices that we share with our own patients when we do nutritional counseling.
Two of my favorite party hits are our No Bake Energy Bites and Roasted Chick Peas:
No Bake Energy Bites
Makes 22 - 1 ½ in. diameter bites
Prep Time: 10 min.
- 2/3 cup shredded toasted coconut, unsweetened
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
- 3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- ½ cup dried sour cherries
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup honey
- ¾ cup vanilla extract
Store in fridge up to 1 week or freeze.
- Calories: 94
- Total Carbs: 10 gm
- Fiber: 2 gm
Roasted Chick Peas
- 1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt (optional)
- Garlic salt (optional)
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 450°.
Blot chickpeas with paper towel to dry.
Toss in a bowl with olive oil and season to taste with salt, garlic salt and cayenne pepper.
Spread on a baking sheet and bake 30-40 minutes until browned.
Watch carefully the last few minutes to avoid burning.
- Calories: 50
- Total Carb: 8 gm
- Fiber: 2 gm