Fall is the time of year for apple pie, pumpkin spice, and all those other decadent comfort foods. As delicious as it all sounds, it’s not always healthy! But luckily, it can be. Each year, as the holidays start to roll around, is a wonderful chance to immerse kids in fantastic new foods and flavors from fresh, seasonal produce. The tricky part is maintaining a healthy balanced diet amidst the temptation of holiday treats. So to help you make the most of this magical season, while keeping your little one eating well, here are some of our favorite healthy fall snack ideas for kids.
Eating food that is in season is often fresher, more affordable, more nutritious, and even tastes better too! So consider planning your go to fall snack ideas around what is best this time of year. Kids’ favorites might include: apples, bananas, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cranberries, ginger, green beans, pears, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes, and squash, just to name more than a few. So as summer turns to fall, you might switch out your avocados and melons every once in a while for squash and pears! Instead of pasta as an after school snack, perhaps spaghetti squash could make a healthier, yet just as tasty swap. Trying out new flavors by baking spiced pears or stuffing bell peppers. The opportunity to expand your child’s palate and diet is seemingly endless!
The cozy richness of smooth foods is a delight during the cooler weather. Fall’s plentiful soft options also make it a great time of year for kiddos too young for crunchy snacks. Pumpkin is the perfect addition to smoothies, yogurts, chia puddings and more! Add the puree to just about anything for a savory snack or sweeten it up and add some spice for a sweet treat! You can get creative with pumpkin or butternut squash soups and colorful beet, pumpkin or bell pepper hummus. Making a child’s snack beautiful with fall colors is a sure way to invite them to taste new healthy flavors. A little bit can go a long way to make fun foods look and taste more like fall.
After you carve pumpkins as a family, embrace the crunch by using the leftover seeds for a healthier snack. For kids, being a part of the cooking process can be a blast! So scoop them out together, roast them, add your favorite seasonings, and eat them alone or pop them in a healthy fall trail mix. For the mix, swap the chocolate for a small amount of seasonal dried fruits such as apples or cranberries. If your little ones are more fanatic about chips than a mix, turn any of your favorite potatoes or vegetables into healthy, crispy goodness. For a sweet take, try it with fruit slices such as apples or pears. Season with cinnamon and enjoy the inevitable smiles to come.
The warmth and coziness of the season is infamous. Capture it with delicious fall spices! For the insatiable sweet tooth, add warm apple chunks and cinnamon to oatmeal or get crafty with pumpkin spice pancakes instead! Try something out of the box with whole, stuffed baked apples packed with a few favorite toppings like oats, nuts, and of course, cinnamon. For caramel-apple loving cuties, try dipping apple slices or melon-balled spheres in almond butter dusted with cinnamon for a healthy take. To offer an alternative to pie, go crustless or use nuts instead. For on the go mornings, pop a few pie-themed energy bites with pecans or pumpkin in their lunchbox, to get little ones excited for the big holiday around the corner.
At Coastal Kids Pediatrics, we know that one of the many important factors of a good diet is the availability of healthier snacks for kids. Despite the overwhelming options for sweets and treats during the holidays, we hope you find the perfect healthy alternatives for little ones to munch on throughout the season. For more personalized recommendations, our passionate pediatricians are available to assist you in creating meals and snacks that are good for your child and help get them excited for fruits and veggies too! To make an appointment, visit us at www.coastalkids.com.