No great secret, I love sweet potato fries. They’re sweet, and salty, and for some reason orange seems to be my favorite food color. Along with a recipe for delicious and crispy sweet potato fries, I’d like to share some other healthy snack ideas for kids. These snack alternatives can help provide kids with natural long-lasting energy, instead of a sugar high (and sugar crash). Whether it’s for school, a snack on the go, or an afternoon boost, here are 12 healthy snack ideas that kids of all ages might enjoy:
- Smoothies are a great way to pack a lot of nutrition into a drink. There are also endless varieties, from chocolate to orange julius.
- Blueberries, dipped in yogurt and then frozen.
- Dried fruit, such as from Trader Joe’s.
- Or make your own fruit leather – easier than you might think! Similar to fruit roll-ups without the added sugar, and still delicious. I’ve made four different kinds now and love them.
- Pizza crackers seem pretty fun.
- Bake your own easy cinnamon apple chips.
- Other apple alternatives include apple wedges with peanut butter, or apple ‘cookies.’
- Hard-boiled eggs are easy to make in a large batch.
- Homemade granola or granola bars are also good large-batch snacks.
- Healthy muffins are ideal to have around for any time of day.
- You can make your own frozen chocolate-covered bananas, perhaps rolled in sprinkles, or you can find them at the grocery store.
- For the sweet tooth, some healthy brownie bites—no baking required. Keep a dozen in the refrigerator for quick snacking.
You could also whip up a batch of fries, of the sweet potato variety of course. Sweet potatoes have more fiber than regular potatoes, and (bonus!) vitamin A and vitamin C. The fries are baked in the oven and the only main ingredients that you need are two sweet potatoes. Really, they are easy breezy.
This recipe makes a nice ‘n spicy batch of fries, but you can adjust the heat level however you want. Of course, if the kids are picky eaters you can take the spices down a notch and serve the fries plain. My favorite finishing touches for the fries are diced chives and grated parmesan.
I learned a great method for crispier sweet potato fries recently. First you soak the potatoes in water for an hour, and then toss with cornstarch and spices. Spread out the fries on a rimmed baking sheet, making sure that there is a little space in-between so that they crisp instead of steam.
I find that homemade sweet potato fries are much crispier than frozen sweet potato fries. (But I completely understand if you want to cut out the extra steps and buy a bag of frozen sweet potato fries. Especially when time doesn’t allow for your kid’s snack!) Keep a close eye on the fries as they finish cooking to pull out any browned ones. The fries will crisp up a bit more as they cool. Then dive in!
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp sea salt, divided
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 3/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Chives, optional
- Parmesan cheese, optional
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch sticks. Place in a large bowl and fill with enough cold water to cover the sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt. Let sit for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to heat. Mix together the cornstarch, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and pepper in a small bowl. Drain the sweet potatoes and place into a large Ziploc bag. Add the spice mix and toss well to coat.
- Transfer the sweet potatoes back to the bowl and toss with the olive oil. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and add a piece of parchment paper on top. Spread out the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet, leaving a little space between the pieces.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully toss. Bake for an additional 12-18 minutes, keeping a close eye on the fries and removing any browned ones. The fries will crisp more as they cool. Sprinkle with the remaining teaspoon of sea salt. Top with chopped chives and grated parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.
- Serves 3-4. Or one, depending on hunger level.