Photo: Girl Smiling and Eating an Apple

by Manjari Fergusson

With most kids back in school this month, it’s the perfect time to get inspired with new snack ideas! The importance of healthy snacking is huge, as it helps balance blood sugar levels, provides lasting energy, and ensures good nourishment for you and your growing children.

Yummy, healthy snacks help keep kids from eating too many empty calories, usually in the form of sugary drinks, sweets and candies, chips, and cookies. This goes a long way in preventing childhood obesity and diabetes, which are increasing problems here in the U.S.

Snacks are also important because many children don’t eat all of their lunch, leaving behind half of what they are served. This means they are very hungry by the time they get home, making them vulnerable to unwholesome snacking if given the opportunity.

Here is a list of healthy snack ideas to get you started:

  • Banana – This snack staple can be eaten with peanut butter or yogurt to make it more exciting.
  • Apple – Delicious on their own, apples can be even more delicious with almond butter.
  • Fruit Salad – Whatever fruits are in season at the store or farmers market! Cut them in pieces and serve chilled, with Greek yogurt.
  • Greek Yogurt – Down to Earth sells a variety of brands and flavors that are delicious on their own or mixed with fruit.
  • Dried Fruit – Down to Earth has a variety of dried fruit in the bulk bins, making an ideal snack for after school or to send with your children to school.
  • Carrots, Cucumbers, Celery, Broccoli – Any crunchy veggie can be ideal with a hummus dip or guacamole.
  • Chips & Guacamole – Whole grain corn chips dipped in homemade guacamole are mouth watering, and can be a prelude to a healthy Mexican dinner night. Salsa can also be used addition to, or in place of guacamole.
  • Crackers & Dip – Enjoy whole grain crackers with hummus or organic sour cream.
  • Trail Mix – Sold in the bulk bins, there are many different kinds that you and your kids can pick and choose from.
  • Nuts – Cashews, macadamia, almonds, pecans, peanuts, etc. Nuts are very filling and you don’t need too many to do the trick.
  • Smoothies – Whip up a smoothie with frozen organic fruit, Greek yogurt, juice or water, plus a little bit of honey.
  • Frozen Fruit – Served in a bowl with honey and almond milk, this frozen treat is surprisingly delicious and also makes a great dessert.
  • Protein, Granola or Nut Bars – There’s a wide range of bars you can choose at Down to Earth, including Kind, Cliff, Cascadian Farm, Annie’s, etc.
  • Edamame – Green soybeans are packed with protein and nutrients, and make an ideal snack.
  • Wild Friends Nut Butter Pouches – These are a great choice for kids that have allergies to peanuts, as they are produced in a facility that segregates ingredients.
  • Natures Bakery Fig Bars – These are dairy and cholesterol free, and Down to Earth also carries the gluten-free version.
  • Bare Fruit Apple Chips – Comes in a variety of flavors!
  • C2O Coconut Chips – These chips are a great source of fiber.
  • C2O Tropical Freezers – Made with real fruit, and contains no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors or colors.
  • Stretch Island Fruit Leathers – These are made with real fruit and have no added sugars.
  • Fresh Apple Slices – For a time-saving snack, find fresh apple slices in the produce department at Down to Earth’s Honolulu store on S. King Street.