Guest Blogger: Sarah of Sarah’s Cucina Bella

When I first came across Sarah’s site, Sarah’s Cucina Bella, I was super impressed and excited! Her recipes were easy, first of all, the photography is lovely, and finally, her food ideas look delicious enough that my son might even enjoy them! I’m not a natural cook, so I’m always on the look-out to find new ideas for meals that my little guy will like. I asked her to put together some of her favorite easy and fast recipes for kids. I can’t wait to try her Creamy Fruit Dip with Zachary – he’s just starting to enjoy dipping his foods and I think he’ll love it! Make sure you check out Sarah’s site and leave a comment if you like the post!

Fast, Easy Snacks

Do your kids love snacks? Mine do. Sometimes I think that if I let them, they would skip all meals and just snack from dawn till dusk (don’t worry – I don’t let them!). Since my kids are such snack-devotees, I actually spend a lot of time thinking of how I can let them have a snack without having it be total junk food. I mean junk food is fine as a once-in-a- while thing but I would rather they associate snacking with fresh and healthy options … I think it’s better for their eating habits in the long run.

These are a few of my tried and true ideas for snacking, which fill my kids up and keep them satisfied. Enjoy! And visit me at Sarah’s Cucina Bella for family-friendly recipes for every meal of the day.

– Sarah Caron

Popcorn: Did you know that popcorn is a whole grain? So, this is a snack you can really feel good about, even with the sweet addition of a little chocolate. Your best bet with this is to use a popcorn popper, but if you don’t have one, you can purchase plain (as in no flavorings) microwave popcorn and use that instead.

Chocolate Popcorn
serves 4-6

6 cups popped popcorn (it should be just popped and still very hot)
2 tbsp hot chocolate mix (the better the mix, the better the popcorn — make sure its sweetened)

Combine ingredients in a large resealable bag. Shake vigorously. Pour into a bowl and devour.

Cheese and Fruit Plates: Are your kids little cheese hounds? Mine are! And this is a great way to get them to have a little extra calcium and vitamins (from the fruit, of course). Arrange sliced fruit, a few pieces of cheese and some crackers on a plate and let the children eat it as they wish … maybe they want to top a whole grain cracker with a slice of cheddar and a bit of strawberry? Anything goes!

Fruit and Dip: I don’t know about your kids, but mine absolutely love dipping things. Whether it’s grilled chicken in barbecue sauce or fruit in a creamy dip like this one, it’s a surefire way to get them to munch happily. Firm fruit like pears or apples work well with this, as do strawberries, grapes and blueberries. Avoid too-soft fruit like bananas though which won’t stand up as well to dipping.

Easy Creamy Fruit Dip
yields ½ cup
¼ cup reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup marshmallow fluff
¼ tsp cinnamon

Combine the cream cheese, fluff and cinnamon in a bowl and stir until smooth. Serve with fresh fruit for dipping.

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