Snack hindsight is 20/20 – wish I’d made broccoli and salad the snack of choice from early on, but honestly, who doesn’t love some salty chips & cookies in the afternoon?  I’m a proponent of moderation in most areas, and love dessert 🙂 but also like creative ways of getting nutrition into our family routine.  This guest post caught my eye, because not only does the author suggest some creative approaches and recipes for healthy snacking, but she suggests how to make it an activity for younger kids.  Adorable!  Not sure it would work with my middle or high school students, but friends and family with toddlers, beware…this one looks like something I’ll be trying soon!  Reminds me a little bit of Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cookbook we wrote about a while back, where she “snuck” healthy foods into brownies and other treats.

Author bio: Rhonda Walinga manages social media programs for, a leading provider of custom wedding necessities like wedding invitations, personalized letterhead, RSVP cards and wedding programs.

Snack time is a great opportunity to introduce healthy eating choices to your kids, but of course that’s not always what they want. So how do you get them to try something new and sneak in something good at the same time? Try getting them involved by turning snack time into a story. For example, instead of just making Ants on a Log (celery with peanut butter and raisins), tell them you need their help “building the trail” for the ants and then making sure all the ants are in the right order. In the example below, your kids can help make delicious and healthy sweet potato chips by “painting” a beautiful landscape.

Painting the ocean: sweet potato chips

1 sweet potato, sliced into ¼ inch wide chips
2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup nuts, crushed (I prefer honey roasted peanuts, but use the nut of your choice)
½ teaspoon salt

Baking sheet
Aluminum foil
Pastry brushes (or brand-new watercolor paint brushes, washed)
Small dishes for the olive oil

After slicing the sweet potato and placing the chips on a sheet of aluminum foil, hand your child one of the brushes and a little bowl of olive oil. Then begin the story:

Today we’re going to paint the ocean! These are our canvases, so first we need to paint them. Ready? Take your brush, dip it in the “paint,” and cover both sides of your canvas.

Cover both sides of each chip with olive oil.

Now that we’ve painted the canvas, we need to add in the ocean. So what do we find at the ocean? Sand! What can we use for sand? Ah, here we are. Let’s sprinkle some sand on our canvases.

Sprinkle the crushed nuts on the chips.

Let’s see. We painted the canvas and we have the sand. What’s missing? The water! Is the water in the ocean fresh water? No, it’s salty! Let’s add some salt for the ocean.

Sprinkle the salt lightly over the chips.

Now let’s add a little sunshine and our paintings will be done!

Put foil and chips on a baking sheet, place in the oven, and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes until brown and crisp.


Editor’s Note:  This sounds delicious – never met a sweet potatoe fry I didn’t love!  What healthy snacking ideas do YOU have?