When it comes to gluten-free snacks for kids, keep two things in mind: curb appeal and taste.
Processed food companies have entire departments dedicated to marketing and selling their foods to parents and their children. Head down the grocery store aisles looking for gluten-free snacks for kids and your head will spin. I am always in awe of the many ways in which highly-processed food can be made more appealing to parents, with labels such as “gluten-free, all natural, healthy, non-GMO”. Children are less easily impressed.
Here’s what I know: Children are rarely motivated to eat foods they perceive as improving their long-term health status. What drives them to eat foods are taste and curb appeal. Try placing a young child in a grocery cart and cruising through the center aisles of a store [not recommended by this mom of four.] What bling – the colors, the characters, the positioning, oh my!
So how do we compete?
Here's a formula that can turn any gluten-free snack into a fun and nutritious experience worthy of a child's discriminating food selection process.
✅Mason jar with pop out lid [main food] + 4 oz. cup [accent food] = a healthy portable gluten-free snack/meal sure to bring out the kid in anyone.
Some examples include:
- Vegetable sticks + dip of choice [dressing, hummus, yogurt]: Stack vegetable sticks vertically, leaving some space at the top. Drop in 4 oz. cup and fill with dip. Screw on lid.
- Hummus + gluten-free pretzels / crackers, or veggie chips: Add hummus to small mason jar. Fill 4 oz. cup with gluten-free pretzels, these delicious crackers by Simple Mills, or small vegetable chips. Place lid on cup invert and screw onto mason jar. Try this simple and delicious recipe for Quick Tomato Hummus.
- Yogurt + fruit + crunchy topping or nuts: Add yogurt to mason jar and layer with fruit. Place crunchy topping of choice, like this delicious muesli from Seven Sundays, in 4 oz. cup. Place lid on cup invert and screw onto mason jar.
- Fruit + nut butter: Slice firm fruit, like apple, and arrange vertically in jar. Place 2 tablespoons of nut butter [or less] in 4 oz. cup. Place lid on cup invert and screw onto mason jar. Tip: To prevent apples and other fruits from turning brown during storage, place in lemon water just after cutting to stop the browning reaction. It doesn’t take a lot of acid – just squirt a wedge of lemon into 1 cup of water. Blot fruit dry before packing.
- Smoothie: Mason jars are the perfect vehicle for your morning smoothie, especially when you have this handy top + straw. You can make the smoothie the night before, fitted with regular lid and shake before you head out the door in the morning. This chocolate smoothie recipe is made more nutrient dense with the addition of wild blueberries and spinach – shhh… the children will never know.