Super healthy snacks both kids and moms will love

My kids never fail to drink this seriously tasty smoothie recipe. Plus five fantastic dips.

Cottage cheese with beets and zucchini by Stone Soup. Jules | Flickr. Mango Smoothie. Vanillaechoes | Shutterstock

How often are you stuffing your own face with your kids snacks, leftovers and whatever store-bought junk the both of you can find in the pantry? Honestly? I know this can be a touchy subject for busy moms who barely have time to think about what the kids are eating, let alone what you are. But that’s exactly why I want to discuss it.

It’s so easy to think: “Oh, I’ll finish their last few fries, or those last few bites of ice cream.” But it’s exactly those little bites here and there, after school and after dinner with your kids, that can be sabotaging your healthy eating plan (and theirs, even if their metabolisms are a little better off than yours still).

If I had a nickel for every time I heard a client tell me they’re following my program, but it’s so hard not to eat their kid’ snacks, I wouldn’t be working anymore! So what if we work together to change the way your kids eat too? What if you could both be really happy eating the same thing? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate win-win?

Believe it or not, it’s pretty easy to achieve this. Kids are way more open to trying new things than we give them credit for, especially when they see us eating it over and over again. And I know it works because the number one compliment I get from clients is that our recipes really are family friendly! They can’t believe their kids are begging for more healthy stuff.

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So what’s my secret weapon when it comes to making kids eat healthier? Dips and drinks.

I’m serious. Kids love to dip things. It’s almost like a game (hence the popularity of those sugary Dunkaroos products) and, honestly, what adult doesn’t love a yummy dip, too? Think guacamole, hummus, bean dip, nut butter, and more. The ideas are endless with the amount of fruits and veggies we can dip in these—and they’re all the fun without the extra fat and sugar.

My kids eat at least one meal a day that is dip based, and, after many many dips, these are our most successful family favorites:

2-minute guacamole

Guacamole from Meal Makeover Moms. Meal Makeover Moms | Flickr

You don’t need to be a Mexican culinary whiz to make this delicious dip. Simply mix together a fresh avocado with a spritz of lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. Just remember to buy organic corn chips to dip with ahead of time. Not a minute to spare? Sliced cucumber and carrots work perfectly as healthy guac-vehicles, too!

Basic black bean dip

Black bean dip and tortilla chips. Liz Mochrie | Flickr

Mix and warm a can of organic black beans with ¼ cup cheese or ¼ cup greek yogurt. Dip organic corn chips or raw veggies.

Classic cottage cheese mix

Cottage cheese with beets and zucchini by Stone Soup. Jules | Flickr

Add clean dry onion mix to 12 oz cottage cheese and let everyone in the family go to town on this with fresh veggies or plantain chips.

Easy almond butter yogurt

Almond butter by Stone Soup. Jules | Flickr

This one is my personal fave! Mix together 6 oz 2 % Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons Almond butter and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract. Dip apples or bananas in this delicious goodness.

Goes-with-everything hummus

Hummus by Stone Soup. Jules | Flickr

Either homemade or store bought (though if you’re hitting the supermarket, note the label: the fewer ingredients the better). Dip any and all fresh veggies in it: tomatoes, cucumber, celery, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, snap peas, jicama. What veggies do your kids love? Almost everything tastes great with hummus, so get creative! (That said, warm whole grain pita bread will always be the perfect complement to this dish, too.)

The soup-er solution

Brocoli soup by Stone Soup. Jules | Flickr

A bowl of soup is basically a big personal dip (especially when you add floating veggies or croutons), and I’ve found it’s the perfect solution for picky eaters: If you think they won’t eat it, put it in a soup. The beauty of simmering vegetables together is that all the flavors muddle together in a new rich way. The end result is that your kids may never know what’s in it because it tastes so delightfully different. Start your soups with a vegetable, bone or meat broth and add a little fresh garlic. Then throw in any veggies you don’t want to go bad! Trust me on this one.

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And the final trick up my sleeve … this delicious smoothie recipe! I have met very few people, kids included, who don’t like smoothies. We have two books full of smoothie recipes because nobody can get enough of them! But of all of those, this one is the kids’ favorite:

Mango Carrot Creamsicle Smoothie

Vanillaechoes | Shutterstock

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen mango
1 carrot, peeled & chopped or shredded
½ cup 2% cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chia seeds
¼ cup rolled oats
½ cup unsweetened coconut or nut milk
Ice, if desired

Whichever dip or drink you choose, here’s the bottom line: Let’s not make our kids snack foods the excuse because we can do better for us and for our kids. You’ve got this, mama!

Cara Busson-Clark
Cara Busson-Clark
Cara Busson-Clark is a Certified Sports and Clinical Nutritionist and runs Cara Clark Nutrition. Her "non-dieting" approach to health and wellness, attracts a wide range of clients, including Hollywood celebrities. In addition to her passion for helping others live their best lives, her world revolves around her faith and family. She is mother to four daughters, ages one to six and lives in southern California.

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