I have the sweetest two boys, one is 3 and my baby just turned 2. They are energetic, happy, fun, and a lot of work! I am constantly hearing and seeing that it’s ‘just too hard’ for moms that have young children to have healthy pantry items that are also quick and easy. But I am here to tell you, that is just isn’t so! It may seem so, but really, it’s possible to have quick, healthy, and yummy! 1) We do not own a microwave yet I do “quick & healthy “snacks and meals almost all of the time. 2) It doesn’t have to be out of the budget, in fact I am pretty sure that processed and fast foods add up to be much more in cost then when you prepare at home.
(Little secret: I shop our local “Grocery Outlet” once a week and look for new Organic products to try at half the cost. I always check to make sure they are not near expiration date (never have had a prob. With that yet!) I have found some great items such as Organic Hot cocoa mix *I refuse to buy the regular hot choc mix so this is so fun for them esp. when the snow comes! I have found Organic Greek yogurts, and wholegrain organic cookies, even organic whole grain pop tarts! Organic Blue Agave (we use as syrup on pancakes/waffles), cheeses, veggies, etc.. All at literally ½ or less the cost of our regular natural food store.) See if you can find a store like this in your area!
Here are some of the “Pantry” Items my boys have in their “snack” drawer at home:
v Organic Cliff Bars (adult sized/cut in half to share between my boys) their fave: Oatmeal Raisin. * My kiddos actually prefer these over the Kids Z Bars by cliff, but they do need to be halved to use as a snack, as a whole bar would be a meal for their tummies.
v KIND Bars, Mango Macadamia (fruit and nuts and tastes like a treat!)
v Organic pre-packaged Applesauce (comes in packs of 6) w/no sugar added
v Trail Nut Mix – we often make our own together, and add crasins, and chocolate pieces as a bonus. We just discovered Sprouted Almonds, and they are a hit! Crunchy, easier to chew/swallow for toddlers, and easier to digest too!
v Pirate Bootie- (Veggie). I put these in portion controlled Ziplocs and toss in their drawer for when we are heading out and need a snack for the backpack, or something like that. My kids love them so I have to portion size them out. =)
v Annie’s Homegrown Crackers ( in Graham or Cheddar cheese) similar to fish crackers or grahams, but no GMO’s, Fat, and 80% organic. Oh and wholegrain!
v Fruit leather. Need a say more? It’s pretty much like candy to toddle
v Snyders of Hanover Honey Whole Wheat (Organic) pretzel sticks. Paired with a slice of cheese=Yum!
For Quick and Healthy snacks that you store in the Fridge, here are our favorites:
v Stony field Oikos Plain Organic Greek Yogurt with added honey and sometimes granola or wild blueberries
v Organic Valley Berry pourable Yogurt
v O.N.E. Coconut water ( bonus: added electrolytes and potassium!)
v Mozzarella Cheese sticks
v Homemade hummus ( 1 cup garbanzo beans, 5 blk olives,1/4 red bell pepper 2 artichoke hearts, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp olive oil, pepper, onion powder, blend)
v Carrot sticks or baby carrots ( dipped in hummus!)
v Almond Butter and Organic Preserves ( we like apricot!) over crackers or wheat bread slices
v Fruit ( of course!) At my kids ages they like berries, watermelon, apples, grapes and bananas the best
v Organic ( Canned, I know!) Sweet Peas, rinsed well. If your kiddo likes peas, why not give it as a snack?
And of Course: Frozen Favorites!
v Gardein Brand “chicken” (meatless) strips
v Queron “chicken” (meatless) patties. Are a fave of my kids with cheese on top
v All fruit ( no sugar or fake sugar added) bars
v Haagen-Dazs five vanilla bean ice cream ( has only 5 whole ingredients and is a super sweet treat!)
v Frozen berries ( we ALWAYS have berries on hand for smoothies, yogurt, muffins,etc)