Looking for a healthy snack idea for kids? Meet the Snack Platter: easy, fun, and full of nutritious stuff.
Thank you to Wish Farms for sponsoring this post. They’re a 4th generation family farm that produces berries including Pink-a-Boo® Pineberries, the new blush-pink berries on the plate above.
As a dietitian, I get a lot of questions: Is sugar poisonous? (No.) Should I go on one of those juice cleanses? (Also no.)
But one of the most common questions I get is this: What kinds of snacks should I feed my kids?
My answer is that typical “fun” snacks–all the stuff marketed as snack food like chips, cookies, and cheese crackers–are totally fine sometimes.
But most of the time, snacks should simply look like the kind of food you serve at mealtime, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats, beans, cheese, and nuts.
Because if you only serve “fun” snacks to your child at snack time, meals–with their boring ol’ regular foods–are going to lose their appeal.
Luckily, there’s a way to transform that food into something special: The Snack Platter.
What’s a snack platter?
I’ll let you in on a little secret: The snack platter is actually just food. On a plate. Yet when I announce, “I made a snack platter!” my kids are psyched.
In fact, a few years ago I overheard my son boasting to his friends, “My mom makes the BEST snack platters!”
Sometimes, all you need is a little re-branding.
Basic formula for a snack platter
- A dip like hummus, nut butter, ranch dip, or guacamole
- Familiar grains like crackers, pita, and pretzels
- Protein-rich foods like hard-boiled egg, cheese, rolled-up deli meat, edamame, or leftover roasted chicken
- Veggies or fruits they already like, whether that’s baby carrots or grapes
- Veggies and fruits that are less familiar or unexpected, like these Pink-a-Boo® Pineberries shown below, which are a pretty blush-pink when ripe (scroll down to read more and see where you can find them in your area)
The perks of a snack platter
- The variety of foods means that your kids will get a mix of nutrients, like different vitamins and minerals.
- You can clean out the odds and ends from your fridge and pantry, and a completely random assortment of food will look purposely fancy.
- Less familiar foods look less intimidating alongside things they already like, and veggies that may be a hard sell at mealtime look fun and extra-appetizing.
- It doesn’t involve cutting anything into fun shapes or making a face on food (though if that’s your thing, that’s cool too!).
- On a particularly hectic night, a Snack Platter can also become dinner.
How big should your snack platter be?
You know your kid and their appetite best. Make sure you keep snacks far enough away from dinner to build an appetite again.
What should you use for a snack platter?
Just a regular plate. Or use a small tray. You can also break out your “good” plates or a fancy serving dish to make it feel more special. Gather smaller items like cheese cubes or berries using silicone muffin cups (here’s the rectangle size I have).
Another snack idea for kids that’s great for younger ones: Fill the compartments of a muffin tin with food.
About Pink-a-Boo® Pineberries
Pineberries are a cross between a Florida red strawberry and a Japanese white strawberry, pale pink when ripe and dotted with red seeds. They’re sweet like strawberries with a hint of pineapple flavor. This is the first year they’re widely available, so check the produce aisle (See where you can find pineberries in your area). These would make a fun surprise on a snack platter!