5 farm-grown, nutritious snacks for your kids
Whether you’re a parent to littles just figuring out this food thing or big kids who need constant refueling, it might feel as though it’s always snack time. Well, you’re in luck, because we’re here to bring some inspiration back to your snack game. And given it’s officially National Nutrition Month, there’s no better time to focus on quick, easy and nutritious snack recipes for your kids.
When it comes to food, farmers want what you want: to feel good about what their families are eating. Our farmers have a lot of pride in growing and raising food for our tables. So, we’re focusing on five food groups critical to meeting optimal nutrition for kids: protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy. Snack time provides a great opportunity to hit some – or all – of these food groups.
FROZEN YOGURT BITES
Yogurt is full of awesome nutrients that make for a great snack. It has the perfect combo of carbs and protein to fuel your kids well. Plus, it contains probiotics and calcium to build strong bones. And the very best part? Yogurt is fresh and local, starting with high-quality milk from Illinois dairy farms like Mitchell’s Holsteins.
- 1 cup fruit of your choice, cut into small pieces (our favorites are strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 cup granola
- Arrange 24 mini cupcake liners on a plate or baking sheet and set aside.
- Mash the fruit and honey together in a bowl using the back of a spoon or fork, until the fruit is smashed with small pieces remaining or to your desired consistency.
- Stir the Greek yogurt and salt into the honey and fruit mixture.
- Assemble the bites by sprinkling a little granola on the bottom of the mini cupcake liners, top with a spoonful of the yogurt mixture
- Place the frozen yogurt bites in the freezer to set for at least two hours before serving.
Recipe from Plays Well with Butter.
BEEF JERKY TRAIL MIX
Young or old, who doesn’t love a good trail mix? For kids that might be picky about meat, this is a tasty way to get in a little more protein alongside nuts, seeds and fruit. Farm mom and nurse Christine Wexell knows how versatile beef is for getting ample protein and takes a lot of pride not only serving the beef they raise for their own family, but for other families, too.
- 1 cup chopped low-sodium beef jerky
- 1/2 cup whole almonds
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Recipe from Beef It’s What’s for Dinner.
Tofu-based snacks are a great way to mix up how your kids get their nutrition. Tofu is made from soybeans, which contain all the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) as well as iron and are a great source of fiber – something kids are often lacking. Plus, soybeans are grown right here in Illinois. In fact, try Phoenix Bean tofu in this recipe. Phoenix Bean is a Chicago-based tofu maker, and its products are made exclusively with Illinois-grown, non-GMO soybeans, like from Janie’s Farm.
- 1 12-oz. package of extra firm tofu
- ½ cup dried breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons soybean oil
- Assorted dipping sauces
- Cut tofu into 12, 1” x 1” x 3” pieces. Place pieces on paper towel to drain moisture.
- Mix breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper in medium bowl.
- Beat egg and milk together in small bowl. Dip tofu in egg mixture. Place tofu in breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat all sides.
- Heat oil in large frying pan over medium high heat. Add tofu, reduce heat and cook 1½ to 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.
- Serve with dipping sauces.
Recipe from Soy and Child Nutrition Guide.
It’s easy to overlook popcorn as a whole grain food. When air-popped and lightly seasoned, it makes a quick, easy and nutritious snack for kids. Did you know it’s also the Illinois state snack? For good reason; Illinois farmers like the Bowman family grow a lot of it, with Mason County ranked No. 1 nationally. More reason to snack on it!
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels
- Toppings: salt, butter, grated parmesan, etc.
- Pour the popcorn kernels into a brown sandwich bag.
- Fold over the top of the bag 2 to 3 times and place the folded side down in the microwave.
- Microwave on the popcorn setting until the popping slows.
- Remove from the microwave, open the bag and season lightly.
Recipe from Momables.
HAM ROLL UPS
These roll ups make for a quick snack that taste like a BLT but with less mess. Plus, they’re packed with protein and veggies. It’s nutritious and sustainable. Today’s pig farmers are producing more pork with less land, energy and water use, resulting in a carbon footprint of less than half a percent!
- 6 slices black forest ham (Hillshire Farm)
- 6 butter lettuce leaves
- 2 ounces avocado (Mashed)
- 1/2 small tomato (Sliced)
- 3 slices cooked bacon
- Stack two slices of Black Forest Ham on a work surface.
- Lay one to two butter lettuce leaves on top.
- Smear a spoonful of avocado on top of the lettuce, followed by a tomato slice and a piece of bacon.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Roll from one end to the other to create a ham roll up.
- Repeat the process two more times to make three ham roll ups.
Recipe from Yummly.