Feeding your kids natural snacks that are fast and easy to prepare can be a challenge for fathers who aren’t so natural in the kitchen.
Depending on how often you prepare food for your kids, the chorus of “I’m hungryyy… what can I have to eat?” may make you grab for your keys and wallet, or head straight for the pantry with a puzzled look on your face. Maybe you need some quick and easy natural snack ideas?
I know some dads are a whiz in the kitchen, so if that’s you, just skip to the comments and leave one telling me what your preferred ‘papa snacks’ are.
In my house, I’ve found that mama may not always approve of the timing or choice of food, but she’s always grateful that I fed them, so don’t let that hold you back. Get some grub in those little bellies!
12 quick and easy natural snack ideas from the Natural Papa kitchen:
- Keep a bowl full of fresh organic fruit within reach of your children, washed and ready to eat. Fruit is a great hit with most kids, and a blood sugar boost may be just what they need for a natural attitude adjustment. We like to buy seasonally, and by the case when we can, and then we always have it on hand.
- Raisins and sunflower seeds are cheap, available just about anywhere, and taste great together. Buy in bulk and keep some in a container for easy access. Try some other combinations: raisins/peanuts, dried cranberries/walnuts, goji berries/sunnies. Mix it up in a bowl and give it an official name, and it sounds way more exciting.
- Is plain old fruit not exciting enough for them? Try blending a banana with water. Now you’ve got Banana Milk. Goes great with anything. Add raisins after blending, and it’s “Chunky-style Banana Milk”. Add a teaspoon of cocoa powder and it becomes “The Amazing Chunky-style Chocolate Banana Milk”. Get creative and think of a silly name, and you can get them to eat just about anything.
- Sheets of nori spread with tahini or peanut butter or whatever you’ve got. Roll them up and watch them disappear.
- When making banana milk or smoothies or other liquid treats, put some in popsicle trays or tupperware for the next “I’m hungry.” If they are offered ‘ice cream’ or ‘popsicles’, they’ll go for it.
- Popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast and salt is super easy if you’ve got an air-popper (I see them at the thrift stores all the time – cheap). You can do it in a pan or a wok on the stove just as easy, but you can’t just walk away until you’re done. Spirulina makes an extra-tasty super green snack and gives plenty of material for funny pictures as well. For a sweet treat, mix some sugar and cinnamon, drizzle the popcorn with alternative butter of choice, and mix in the cinnamon mix. I wouldn’t recommend using honey or maple syrup with this unless you can hose them down afterward. Trust me.
- Two words: peanut butter. On anything. Carrots, apples, celery, bananas, straight from a spoon. We buy ours in bulk straight from the peanut grinder at our co-op – no sugar, no added salt, just peanuts.
- If you’re into sprouting, chop a little onion, grate a carrot, or a zucchini, or an apple over a bowl of sprouts, maybe add a shot of soy sauce or ketchup (or peanut butter), and serve with crackers. Or serve it as finger food if you don’t mind the mess.
- Romaine lettuce leaves make excellent wraps, and can be filled with leftovers or sprouted seed spreads, or your favorite real or pseudo-cheese product. Ours is jalapeno jack almond cheese. Fill one with a banana and raisins and yes, peanut butter. They’ll probably go for it.
- Oatmeal only takes 10 minutes to cook, and you can add any dried fruit or nuts (coconut flakes are tasty) and they’ll be fueled up until mealtime. Why do we only eat oatmeal for breakfast? Some sort of food stereotyping conspiracy, I’m sure. If you make a big batch, keep the rest in the fridge and make fried oatmeal with it. Make cookie sized patties and fry in a hot skillet until slightly browned.
- Make some of the best banana bread ever, or bake it as muffins, if you’ve got some speckled bananas and a little time.
- Is dessert a snack? Try this quick and easy cookie pie, but only if you have time to run all of the kids to exhaustion.
When you hear that oh so common question echoing in your house, make one of these snacks for them, and if they don’t like it, you can blame it on me. (“Natural Papa made me make these snacks for you…”)
What are your favorite natural snack ideas for kids?
Image: Gilgongo on Flickr