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Kid-friendly, healthy snacks can often seem limited and boring.
Both kids and adults generally need more protein, fiber and fewer added sugars in their daily diet. These smart snacks are flavorful, full of nutrients, and easy to prepare. And when kids can help prepare their food, it’s a big plus for long-term healthy eating habits.
Peanut Butter and Banana Bites
Slice a banana lengthwise, and spread one half with peanut butter. Top with the other half, and cut into one inch pieces. Eat at room temperature or freeze for a frozen treat. A tasty boost of protein and fiber.
Turkey and Fruit Roll-Up
Take a slice of deli turkey, spread with a thin layer of honey mustard, and wrap it around a slice of pear or apple. It's an unusual way to add daily protein.
Make-Your-Own Trail Mix
Mix a combination of one from each “group” using a handful as a serving size (about one ounce, or a quarter of a cup):
- low-sugar, whole grain cereal (like Cheerios, or Fiber One)
- dried fruit (raisins, craisins, or chopped apricots)
- chopped nuts or seeds (almonds, walnuts, sunflower)
- a “treat” add-in (mini-chocolate chips, M&Ms, Reese’s pieces, butterscotch morsels, or yogurt-covered raisins).
It's a healthy boost of fiber and protein.
Dip-and-Eat Fruit and Yogurt
Slice up an apple, pear, or banana, and add a small dish of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt for dipping.
A great boost of protein, fiber, and calcium with a fun twist.
Bagged, microwaved, or stove-popped, look for reduced-fat varieties, or air-pop your own. Add your own seasonings to taste. It's an easy way to increase your fiber intake— nearly 4 grams per serving.
Cheese and Fruit
Single-serving cheese now comes in a variety of sticks, chunks, and ultra-thin slices. Whether whole milk or reduced-fat versions, both give the same protein and calcium boost. Double up the nutrients by pairing the cheese with a fresh fruit of your choice to add fiber.
Keep a half dozen peeled and ready-to-eat in the fridge for a boost of protein and iron. Or mash one up with a spoonful of reduced-fat mayonnaise for a creamy dip for raw vegetables or whole-grain crackers.
And any snack can provide added protein and calcium when paired with a glass of reduced or non-fat milk. Not a dairy drinker? Try soy milk for an equivalent protein boost.
Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D is NBC News Health and Nutrition Editor. Follow her on Twitter @drfernstrom