by Katie Serbinski
Snacking. Parents of small children can pretty much consider themselves professionals at providing healthy snacks for their kids. While you might find yourself always thinking about your child's next snack, it's time to think about YOU!
Snacks can be a main fuel source for a healthy body, but there are some snacks that fuel more than others! Taking into account healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates, here are a few snacks that are guaranteed to fuel your busy day!
Greek yogurt: Whether you enjoy a cup on its own, as a spread or as a dip for fresh fruit and veggies, Greek yogurt is packed with essential nutrients like protein and calcium that busy parents need to maintain their health––and sanity!
Green smoothie: Don't let the color fool you. A green smoothie usually has a lot more than spinach in it, including fresh and frozen produce and sometimes a protein source like nut butter. A green smoothie can provide you with the boost your metabolism needs to fuel a hectic day with small children. Be sure to add a variety of greens, like avocado, spinach, green apples, and kale.
Hummus and whole-grain crackers: Hummus is an excellent source of plant-based proteins. It's good on whole-grain crackers or almost any carbohydrate and also as a dip for fresh veggies.
Nut butter on rice cakes: On their own, rice cakes are not the most filling snacks, but they offer about as much versatility as bread or crackers with a fraction of the calories and carbohydrates. They are a crispy canvas for a variety of toppings such as protein-packed nut butter, topped with fresh or dried fruit for extra fiber.
Dark chocolate: Sometimes you just need a little chocolate to help get you through the craziness of parenting! Luckily, dark chocolate contains free radical crushing antioxidants and when paired with protein and fiber (think trail mix or granola), you have a sustaining combination to get you through your busy day. Consider incorporating dark chocolate chips along with nuts, seeds, whole grain cereal and dried fruit for an easy trail mix to bring with you on the go.
One snack that everyone—mom, dad and kids—should be getting each day is water. I almost always have a water bottle filled with water and cucumber, lemon or lime slices. Try adding a splash or two of lemonade or iced tea to my water just to add a little flavor without all the sugar.
From plain Greek yogurt parfaits to peanut butter–topped rice cakes, these energy-boosting snacks are meant to inspire and fuel you for any occasion—especially when that occasion is changing diapers and chasing children all day long!
Katie Serbinski, MS, RD, is the registered dietitian and mom behind Mom to Mom Nutrition. She lives in Detroit, Michigan, with her husband and three hungry kiddos.