On most days, I find it tough to get my daughter to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
We just passed through the brown and yellow food phase and are improving steadily. Adding more color to her diet became easier when I put more effort into making healthy food fun.
Below, I’ve included simple ideas should you need to prepare a healthy snack for the preschool set. Fun seriously doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy.
Use Props Like Reusable Straws
For older preschoolers, anything on a safe stick is more intriguing than a pile of fruit on a plate.
I bought the candy cane straws in the photo above at Party City for 25 cents each. My daughter named the strawberry and mozzarella combination “hearts and snowballs.”
Reusable plastic straws work better for spearing fruit than cocktail sticks or skewers because they don’t have a pointed edge. Or use cocktail sticks with balls on the end to spear fruit.
These snacks are festive and if you make them for a group, the kids can take the straws home with them.
It’s amazing how something so simple can put a smile on their faces.
Keep Cookie Cutters of all Sizes on Hand
Changing the shape of a common food helps too. Calcium is critical to a child’s development. If you think your child isn’t getting enough, or maybe you just need to bring a festive snack to preschool, try shaping sliced (thickly sliced is best) cheese with a small cookie cutter or vegetable cutter. (Vegetable cutters are fantastic for shaping carrots, cucumbers, and more.)
Save the cheese scraps to melt in a grilled cheese sandwich later.
Sandwiches can also be turned into something more kid-friendly. My daughter will, on occasion, ask to eat the bread left with the hole in the middle.
While there are many sandwich cutters on the market, you can simply use the cookie cutters that you have.
I brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches shaped like ducks to preschool once, and it was the most popular snack I ever made.
I use fruit spread from Trader Joe’s, which has less sugar than traditional jams or jellies. Sometimes I use Almond Butter instead of Peanut Butter, or I sneak bananas in the middle. The kids don’t complain.
This shaped sandwich strategy works with other sandwiches like turkey, cheese, and lettuce, though I find it tough with tomatoes inside.
Do your kids have a favorite show? Sometimes I can get my daughter to eat celery because Wonder Pets! do.
I once saw a vegetable platter in the shape of a cat (cucumber eyes, etc.) and studied the reaction of the kids. They didn’t “see” the vegetables, they saw a cat. My daughter chowed down the other veggies, much to my surprise.
I then started staging vegetables with moderate success. I wish I could say it works all of the time, but some of the time is better than none of the time.
These vegetable butterfly snacks are really easy to make and are inspired by something I saw on Nick Jr.
The antennae are rosemary from my yard and the dip is hummus.
These healthy snack ideas will work 100% of the time, but it’s up to us, as parents, to do whatever we can to encourage healthy eating habits.