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With their smaller stomachs, kids may not eat much in one sitting, but they do eat often. The problem is, children are not only notoriously picky eaters, they'll usually fight for sugary junk food. It's a constant struggle to find snacks that are both appetizing and good for them.

Because many kids get about one-third of their daily calories from after-school snacks, these nibbles are as important as a balanced breakfast, lunch or dinner [source: Iowa State University].

With their smaller stomachs, kids may not eat much in one sitting, but they do eat often. The problem is, children are not only notoriously picky eaters, they'll usually fight for sugary junk food. It's a constant struggle to find snacks that are both appetizing and good for them.

Because many kids get about one-third of their daily calories from after-school snacks, these nibbles are as important as a balanced breakfast, lunch or dinner [source: ].

Fruit

Perhaps your little prince would like an orange?
Natural, sweet and good for you, fruit is a popular snack choice among kids and parents. OK, so maybe the youngsters don't need as many as five a day, like the old saying goes, but kids do require about 1.5 cups of fruit per day [source: KidsHealth.org].
If you want to make fruit even more appetizing, try pairing it with low-fat, plain yogurt for dipping. Or stick some freshly washed grapes in the freezer for a cool snack on a hot, summer day.
HINT: Another popular alternative is dried fruit. If the label doesn't list any additional ingredients to the fruit, such as sugar, much of the nutritional value remains the same (but with a higher caloric density.

Smoothies

Serve smoothies in parfait glasses for added appeal.
Even the pickiest kids can't resist fruit smoothies, which are naturally sweet and can be an excellent way to sneak nutrition into their diet. Beware of store-bought smoothies, however, which are usually full of added sugar. These end up carrying as many calories as a full meal (for a toddler). You might as well be giving them a milkshake [source: Bohn].
If you make the smoothies at home with fresh fruit such as bananas and strawberries, plain yogurt and low-fat milk, it'll be a healthy source of calcium and protein.
HINT: If your child isn't getting enough fiber or protein in his or her diet, add to the smoothie.

Cereal

Cereal and fruit: a winning combination!
Cereal is a great source of fiber, which is filling and healthy. Unfortunately, many cereals that kids love are full of sugar. Consumer Reports investigated the sugar content of some brands and found that a bowl of Kellogg's Honey Smacks serves up as much sugar as a glazed donut [source: Consumer Reports]. Several other popular kids' cereals also had hefty amounts of added sweeteners.
The good news is that Consumer Reports rated several kid-oriented cereals as both low in sugar and nutritious. These include Cheerios (regular and Honey Nut varieties), Kix and Life.
FACT: Fiber helps with digestion and can also help lower cholesterol.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is full of healthy fats.
Although high in fat, peanut butter is packed with fiber and protein. If your child has peanut allergies, you'll have to steer clear of this snack choice. Such allergies have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, so it's important to watch for evidence such as rashes around the mouth and face. But sometimes, more severe reactions occur, such as difficulty breathing, which require immediate medical attention [source: PBS].
If allergies aren't a concern, kids love peanut butter spread on graham crackers or paired with different flavors of jelly for a classic PBJ. Try smearing peanut butter on a celery stalk and topping it with raisins to create a treat with flair -- ants on a log.
HINT: Opt for natural peanut butter to avoid trans fats and added sugar.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is a tasty snack you can tote anywhere.
Instead of buying pre-assembled bags of trail mix at the store, try making your own at home. Not only is it a fun activity for the kids to participate in, it allows you to control the salt and sugar content. If you're up for it, you can also make your own granola. A great source of fiber, granola can also be high in sugar if you buy it at the store pre-made.
In addition to granola, tasty -- and healthy -- ingredients include dried fruits, various nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, peanuts, mini pretzels and pumpkin seeds or hulled sunflower seeds.
HINT: If you're not worried about the added sugar, kids will love the addition of M&Ms or chocolate chips.

Pear Pinwheels

Ingredients:
Whole-wheat tortillas
Cheddar cheese, grated
Pear, peeled and thinly sliced

Directions:
1. Place 1 whole-wheat tortilla on a plate, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Cover cheese with pear slices. Sprinkle pear with a bit more cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until cheese melts. Roll, and cut into slices.

Fruit Smoothie

Ingredients:
1 container (8 ounces) vanilla-flavored nonfat yogurt
1 banana, sliced
1 cup frozen strawberries or peaches
1/4 cup orange juice

Directions
1. In a blender, whip together all ingredients. Serve in glasses.

Cupid Clusters
Ingredients
3 cups Yogurt-Burst Cheerios or similar whole-grain cereal
1/2 cup chopped dried strawberries
1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips
Directions
1. Place paper liners in 24 mini muffin cups. Toss the whole-grain cereal and chopped dried strawberries in a medium bowl. Melt the white chocolate in a microwave on high for a minute, stirring it frequently. Combine with the cereal and strawberry mixture. Spoon into prepared cups and refrigerate until the clusters are firm, about 5 minutes.

PB and Raspberry Pops

Ingredients:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 cup reduced-fat milk
2-4 tablespoons honey, divided
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups raspberries
2 cups raspberry juice or raspberry juice blend
1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional)

Directions:
1. Combine peanut butter, yogurt, milk, 2 tablespoons honey, and vanilla in a food processor or blender until smooth.
2. Pour peanut-butter mixture into eight 6- to 7-ounce paper cups or pop molds until they're one-third full. Cover and freeze for 1 hour. Cover and chill remaining peanut-butter mixture until needed.
3. Stir together raspberries and juice, divide among the cups or molds, and insert sticks. Cover and freeze for an hour. Then fill with remaining peanut-butter mixture and freeze for at least 8 hours, or until firm.
4. Let stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before unmolding. If you want, spoon honey around the rims and sprinkle on sesame seeds.

Nutty Popcorn and Fruit Mix

Ingredients:
1 package (6- to 7-cup yield) plain microwave popcorn
Nonstick cooking spray
2 to 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups potato sticks
1-1/2 cups peanuts or almonds
1 cup mixed dried fruit

Directions:
1. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Pour popcorn into a very large bowl; coat lightly with cooking spray.
2. Sprinkle popcorn with Parmesan cheese; toss gently to coat. Stir in potato sticks, peanuts, and dried fruit.
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