Inside: Do your kids need more protein? Veggies? Fruit? Here’s how to use a snack plate to serve those foods in a fun way.
Have you met the Snack Plate? If you haven’t, it’s your new best friend–and secret weapon for encouraging healthy snacking.
I sung the praises of the Snack Plate in this post: How a “Snack Plate” Can Transform Snack Time For Kids.
In short, the Snack Plate is just regular healthy food, nicely arranged and branded as something a little bit more special than a regular snack.
Not only does it help you offer a mix of nutrients and foods, but it also magically makes these foods look and sound extra appealing. It’s not just a snack. It’s a snack plate.
Because sometimes, it’s all about presentation.
It’s Time To Get Smarter About Snacks
You can put whatever you’d like on a Snack Plate, but it’s smart to be a little strategic.
Here’s how: Build a snack plate around a certain food or nutrient that may be missing from your child’s diet.
For instance, if they tend to only eat the starchy stuff from their lunch box like the bread and pretzels, include more fruit or protein on their snack plate.
If they tend to ignore the veggies at dinnertime, slide some onto their snack plate.
Note: I designed each of the plates below to feed roughly 2-3 kids, but adjust portions to suit your child’s needs!
Kids Snack Plate #1: If you think your kid needs more veggies…
Veggies can be a tough sell for some kids. Veggies can taste bitter, especially to “super-tasters” who detect the bitter flavor more. And the texture can feel squishy and unpredictable.
The key is to present veggies in an appealing way and in different forms. Here are some ideas:
- Just cutting veggies in interesting ways can spark interest. Slice orange peppers into big rings (feel free to call them “Pepper Flowers”).
- Consider dried veggies. These are dried snap peas that are seasoned and crunchy. (They seem more like a salty snack than a veggie, but snacks like this familiarize your child with veggies and may encourage her to try the real deal.)
- Include veggies your kid reliably likes. Mine like baby carrots (and ranch dressing)
- Edamame is a veggie but also packs protein and fiber. My kids like it lightly salted.
- Be sure to also add foods that aren’t veggies at all, like whole grain crackers, pretzels, and strawberries. Having well-liked, already-accepted foods on your Snack Platter is important because it can help make those harder-sell foods a little more enticing.
Kids Snack Plate #2: If you think your kid needs more fruit…
Because it tends to be sweeter than veggies, fruit may be more accepted by kids. And that’s a good thing because fruit provides so many important nutrients that kids need, including vitamins and fiber.
But they may still pass up fruit in lieu of other things at meal time–or they may still be learning to like it. Here are some ways to make it easier:
- Freeze-dried fruit is sweet like candy and may be helpful for kids who have texture issues with fresh fruit (ditto for regular dried fruit).
- Apple slices are fun to dip into melted chocolate chips.
- Round it out with some familiar foods like pretzel, crackers, and cheese or nuts.
- You could also serve a fruit-based platter with a yogurt- or cream cheese-based fruit dip.
Kids Snack Plate #3: If you think your kid needs more protein…
If you have a starch-fiend on your hands who seems to exist on bread and Goldfish crackers, this one’s for you. Truth is, most kids get enough protein even if they’re not meat eaters (here’s how much protein kids need).
But protein-rich foods are helpful at snack time because they’re filling, which means your child won’t be asking for another snack an hour later. Here are some ways to incorporate it onto a snack plate for kids:
- Include protein-rich items like slices of rolled-up deli meat, edamame, cheese cubes
- Nut or seed butters contain protein and are perfect for dunking crackers and apple slices.
The Snack Plate possibilities are truly endless, but I hope this inspires you to try your own combinations!