Kid Friendly Food- 10 Healthy High Protein Snacks (part 1)

There is a direct correlation between what children eat and their behaviour. We all want to spend our days with children who are happy and feel good. When we fill our children’s stomachs with nutritious food, they are able to regulate their emotions. They also have the energy and focus needed to learn and grow.

Many young children don’t like the texture of meat. One of my daycare children declared she was a vegetarian because she didn’t like meat. However, it turns out she was a vegetarian who only liked two vegetables! If you can’t feed a child meat, then how do you provide protein in their diet? By trying a few new protein sources!

When you introduce a new food to your children, you want to stack the odds of success in your favour, so think about high class restaurant meals. They are always served with great presentation and a small quantity of food. Having only a few bites on a plate will make a new food seem less threatening to a child. Putting the food in an unusual bowl or using a cookie cutter to make it into a neat shape will heighten the appeal.

Here are five child friendly options that all my daycare children enjoy. Check out part 2 of Kid Friendly Food for five more creative protein snacks.

1. Tortilla wraps with Navy Bean Spread 

I buy whole wheat or flax seed tortilla wraps in the small 8 inch size. Cook navy beans (or open a can) and mash them. I like to add a small dollop of puree squash or cream cheese or shredded cheese to the mashed beans. This makes the navy bean spread a little smoother. Cover the tortilla wrap with the spread and then roll it up. You can serve it as a whole roll-up or slice the roll into smaller medallions.

2. Hummus and Baby Carrots

Hummus is a great source of protein and has a nice creamy texture for dipping. Most kids like baby carrots. If they don’t, cut the baby carrots length wise into quarters and try again. Cucumbers, red bell peppers, celery sticks, crackers or bread sticks would work as well.

3. Fruit Smoothie with Almond Milk or Protein Powder

Fruit is sweet and a hit with many children. Plus, most children are willing to try a new drink if it comes in a tall glass with a colourful straw. Even my pickiest eater enjoys a strawberry banana smoothie with almond milk in it. Blend two bananas and a cup of strawberries together with almond milk. If you don’t want to use almond milk you could go to a health food store and buy protein powder.  Use regular cow’s milk and add a scoop of protein powder before you blend the smoothie. The sweetness of the fruit masks the protein powder in the smoothie. Protein powder is fast, easy and has a long shelf life.

4. Greek Yogurt 

Kids like food that is fun. A greek yogurt parfait tops the list with my children. Greek yogurt is high in protein. There are 11 grams of protein in 3/4 of a cup! Find tall clear glasses so the kids can see the layers of food. I start with a bottom layer of greek yogurt, then I add a layer of fruit (cut up grapes, berries or pineapple), a layer of cereal (we love spelt flakes or kamut puffs) and then another layer of greek yogurt. Drizzle a little bit of maple syrup over the top layer and then finish with a blueberry on top. It’s neat to watch the maple syrup and top layer of yogurt slowly sink down into the bottom layers.

5. Cheese

So versatile and always a crowd pleaser. I use cheese to hide vegetables from my children. One of our favourite snacks is whole wheat Naan bread covered in a vegetable puree (like sweet potato or carrot) with shredded cheese melted on top. I cut it into triangle slices like a pizza. It’s a great comfort food on a windy autumn day.

Happy snacking!