Snacks for Kids

How to Introduce Peanut Butter to Children

Talk with your child’s doctor before introducing peanut butter. If your family has a history of allergies or if the child has shown evidence of other allergies, the doctor might recommend waiting until well after the child’s first birthday to introduce peanut butter. The doctor also might recommend having an oral histamine available when giving the first feeding of peanut butter.

Sit your child in his high chair at a time of day when you can watch for allergic reactions for the next few hours. Allergic symptoms can manifest anywhere from a few seconds to about two hours after eating peanut butter, according to the March of Dimes.

Spread a thin layer of smooth peanut butter on a cracker or piece of bread. If you are worried about the sticky consistency of the peanut butter, mix it with some applesauce before spreading it to help thin it out.

Give your child one small piece of the bread or cracker with peanut butter and watch her as she eats it. Make sure the child chews the food thoroughly and succeeds in swallowing it.

Offer your child milk or water to help swallow the peanut butter completely.

Watch your child closely for symptoms of peanut allergies in the next couple hours. Symptoms include hives on the skin, swelling or tingling in the tongue and throat, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. In a severe allergic reaction, the child could experience anaphylaxis, which is a severe drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness.

Call 911 or your local emergency number if your child seems to be having trouble breathing, experiences swelling around the mouth or has severe vomiting or diarrhea.

Feed your child peanut butter in the same manner at least once per day for the next few days and continue watching for allergic reactions. Call your doctor if you notice potential mild allergic symptoms. Do not introduce any other new foods until you are confident that your child is not allergic to peanut butter.

Things You Will Need

  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Knife
  • Bread or crackers
  • High chair

Tip

Although some organizations recommend waiting until the child is 2 or 3 years old before introducing peanut butter, there is no convincing evidence that delaying the introduction of peanut butter will help prevent children from developing allergies to it, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, delaying the introduction might increase the chance of the child having an allergy, according to the March of Dimes.

The Influence of Sugar on a Kid's Behavior

Misconceptions

It's a mistake to assume that kids who eat sugar will automatically become wired up. Although early research suggested an association between high sugar consumption and hyperactivity, several subsequent studies found no concrete evidence that would connect hyperactive behavior to a high-sugar diet, explains HealthyChildren.org, a website published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The mere assumption that sugar will lead to hyperactivity may influence how a parent interprets his child's conduct. Further research is needed to absolutely rule out that sugar consumption leads to over-the-top energy in kids.

Expert Insight

A South Korean study investigated the connection between sugar consumption and hyperactivity. More than 100 fifth graders completed the four-month-long study from December 2008 to April 2009. Students and teachers completed questionnaires consisting of several food categories including potato chips and cookies, convenience foods like hotdogs, fast food, dairy products, carbonated beverages, juice, bread and sandwiches. Researchers found no evidence to suggest that the development of ADHD is in any way related to eating sugary snacks. The study was published in June 2011 in the journal Nutrition Research and Practice.

Not So Fast

Some kids are sensitive to sugar. Sugar sensitivity can negatively affect behavior, shorten attention spans and impede the ability to learn, in direct proportion to the amount of refined sugar consumed. Adrenaline levels in children skyrocketed to 10 times their normal amount after a test dose of sugar, according to AskDr.Sears.com. The effects of sugar are more noticeable in younger kids, explains Dr. Keith Conners, author of "Feeding the Brain." The fact that the brain grows quickly during the preschool years may help explain the exaggerated effects of sugar on learning and behavior in younger kids, he added.

Considerations

The more sugar your child eats, the more sugar she'll crave. A sugary treat or meal spikes blood glucose level, which generates an outburst of insulin. Excess insulin sets off a craving for more sugar. Simple sugars found in soda, candy and packaged snacks can be harmful when a child overindulges. When blood sugar is high, the surplus overflows through the kidneys. As a result, the body makes more urine, which leads to dehydration. In severe cases, hospitalization is required.

Sugar Cookie Frosting That's Healthy for Kids

Cream Cheese

Traditional cream cheese frosting uses just as much powdered sugar as regular buttercream frosting so it doesn’t have much nutritional value. Make a healthy cream cheese frosting by mixing 2 parts cream cheese, 1 part butter and a splash of vanilla extract. You can add a teaspoon or two of sugar if desired to sweeten the frosting. Another option is to simply beat cream cheese until it is smooth and add a little cinnamon or fruit puree. Spread the cream cheese on the cookies just before serving.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter and other nut butters are easy to spread and go well with sugar cookies. You can use the nut butter straight from the jar or mix 2 parts peanut butter with 1 part honey. The honey will add extra sweetness and is a healthier alternative to refined sugar. Chocolate nut spreads, such as chocolate hazelnut and chocolate peanut butter, are also available in most supermarkets and are a healthy alternative to chocolate frosting.

Carob

Carob chips are used in much the same way as chocolate chips and are healthier. They contain less sugar and more protein per serving. Melt the carob chips in a microwave or double boiler. Spread the melted chips over the cookies and let harden before serving. Alternatively, dip half the cookie in the melted carob and place it on wax paper to harden.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a healthy alternative to frosting and the versatility of plain or vanilla yogurt allows you to combine a number of different ingredients to include your child’s favorite flavors. Spread a layer of vanilla flavored yogurt on the cookies and top with granola for added crunchiness. Plain vanilla tends to have a more sour taste but works well when it is mixed with a little fruit puree. Spread the yogurt frosting on the cookies just before serving to prevent the cookies from getting soggy.

Frog Snacks for Kids to Make

Sweet Frog Treats

If your little frog-lover has a sweet tooth, satisfy his cravings with some amphibious treats. Your toddler or preschooler can decorate sugar cookies cut from frog-shaped cookie cutters with green frosting. If you want to get really creative, decorate frog cupcakes with your child. Tint frosting green, red and black with some food coloring and let your child make frog faces on the cupcakes. For a cool treat, give your child a scoop of lime sorbet or mint ice cream and let him decorate his "frog" with candy for eyes and green decorator's gel for a mouth.

Healthy Frog Bites

Little frogs need to stay healthy so they have the energy to hop and croak. Entice your child to eat what the frogs eat by letting her help prepare some "flies on a log." Spread celery sticks with peanut butter and let your child place the flies (raisins) along the top. Use a green apple cut into slices to make a frog face. Your toddler or preschooler can arrange the slices of a green paper plate "lily pad" in any way she wants, then add a strip of red pepper for a mouth and purple grapes for eyes.

Gelatin Creations

If some slimy fun is what your little one is after, gelatin-inspired snacks are tasty and easy to make. Even toddlers and preschoolers can help add powder and water to mix a gelatin dessert. Use green gelatin to make frog-shape jiggle snacks. Your child can help cut out the frogs after the gelatin is set using a cookie cutter. Serve up a cup of pond water made with blue gelatin, and don't forget to add gummy frogs to your pond before the gelatin sets.

Portable Frog Snacks

Looking for some snacks to take on the go for little froggy friends? Whether you're off to the pond to search for real frogs or just running errands, these snacks travel well. Combine pretzels (logs), raisins (flies), gummy worms and frogs, and baked fish crackers to make pond trail mix. Let your child dump in the ingredients and stir them well before dividing the mixture into small bags. Make a "frog guts" sandwich by cutting bread into a frog shape with a cookie cutter and letting your child fill it with whatever "guts" he chooses. Try relish, pickles, or green ketchup for an authentic-looking frog snack.

High Protein and Low Sugar Snack Ideas for Kids

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt has almost twice the protein as regular yogurt, so it packs a good punch. Unfortunately, it can also contain a lot of sugar. Purchase plain Greek yogurt to avoid the sugar, then sweeten it on your own from natural sources. Many kids will enjoy eating the yogurt as a parfait, with fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, peaches or pineapple in between the layers. Alternatively, you could blend the yogurt with some fruit, then drop it onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze it. The result is tiny, healthy, frozen yogurt drops.

Nuts and Nut Butters

Nuts and nut butters are high in protein and satisfying good fats. Children can eat the nuts plain, but they might find that peanuts or pistachios in the shell are a bit more fun. Whole nuts present a choking hazard to young children, though, so avoid them until your child has mastered chewing. Spreadable nut butters can go on top of whole wheat crackers or bread, or vegetables like celery. If your child might enjoy something a bit sweeter, try making "energy balls" by combining peanut butter and oatmeal in a 1:2 ratio, along with other healthy ingredients such as dried fruits, wheat germ or chopped nuts. Roll these into balls and let set in the refrigerator.

Beans

Not only are beans the "magical fruit," they're also high in protein. Popping edamame out of the shell makes for a healthy high-protein snack. A bean dip, such as hummus or black bean dip, can also provide a healthy snack. Have kids dip cut veggies into these dips for a low-sugar snack. Whole wheat pita, pretzels or tortilla chips are an alternative if the child wants something a bit heartier.

Smoothies

Smoothies can hide all sorts of healthy foods in their creamy deliciousness. Tofu, yogurt and peanut butter are all high-protein ingredients you can include in the smoothie. Start with a milk base, if you want to increase the protein content. Fruits can add a bit of sugar, but it's in its natural form. Consider low-sugar chocolate soy milk with a banana and peanut butter, or yogurt with strawberries and pineapples. You can also sneak in some vegetables, if your child doesn't mind drinking something green.