Best Non-fruit Snacks for Your Child
At Doman International, our goal is to provide the best possible nutritional advice for our families on the program. Although our Nutrition Program does involve restricting of foods we give a child with special needs, we know that it means the best possible support for a child’s brain growth and immunity.
Speaking with families, I know that the hardest things to eliminate are fruits. For a percentage of the children we see, fruits will be eliminated to help reduce seizures, increase weight gain, reduce hyperactivity, and prevent overgrowth of yeast or bad bacteria.
Practically, this can be challenging. And I know -- it is actually the one sweet thing your child can have! But, for the long-term wellbeing of your child with special needs, the short-term restriction might be necessary.
If you’ve been told to restrict or completely eliminate fruits from your child’s diet (or, if you’re simply looking for other ideas), consider any one of these non-fruit snacks: (Note: many of these call for salt, which you should omit or greatly reduce depending on your child’s diet)
Hummus: this is a simple snack that can be eaten with veggie sticks, rice crackers, in an avocado half (my favorite) or just by itself! Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are packed with protein, fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, and more! My favorite recipe is this one from Bon Appetit -- https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/classic-chickpea-hummus. Don’t want to use lemon? Substitute apple cider vinegar. This has 0.1g of sugar per serving, compared to 1.5g in lemons.
2. Socca: going on the chickpea theme, this classic savory pancake from Provence, France can be made in a variety of ways. You can do the typical rosemary and red onions. I’ve made soccas with turmeric, garam masala, fenugreek, and yellow onions for an Indian twist. My favorite way is with za’atar. This is best made in a cast-iron skillet! - https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014757-socca-farinata
3. Chia Seed Pudding: this is dead simple and takes absolutely no time! Chia seeds are a superfood, too. High in omegas, fiber, and a good source of iron, these little seeds can trump any fruit snack. To make a chia seed pudding, just combine up to 3 tbsp. (40g) of chia seeds with ¾ cup (~180mL) non-dairy milk or water in a jar or deep bowl overnight. And, that’s it. You have chia seed pudding. You can serve it with nuts like pecans, almonds, or just by itself. Scrape a little bit of vanilla bean in to give it a little extra taste.
4. Puffed Lotus Seeds: this won’t fill your child up, but this is a really great on-the-go snack that I see many of our Indian families use. A good source of calcium, manganese, B vitamins and more, this is a very quick and easy snack when in a rush.
5. Almond Pulp Crackers: for those of you making your own nut milks at home, don’t throw out the pulp! Using this recipe, you can make your own crackers using the extra pulp. This recipe is made with almond pulp, but users have also done cashew crackers with success! Here’s a link to good almond pulp crackers: https://detoxinista.com/easy-almond-pulp-crackers-vegan-paleo/. Can be served with nut butter, also a great no-fruit snack!
6. Leftovers: if your child didn’t finish all their breakfast, or lunch, serve the rest as their snack. You know that it will be balanced, it’s one less snack to plan for, and it’s cost-effective. At meals, parents can also make a little bit more than needed to be served a bit later in the day.
If your child isn’t allowed fruit right now, don’t fret. Any of the above non-fruit recipes will give your child better sustained energy and will prove more nutritious in the end. Some of these take a little extra prep time, but stay fresh for several days sealed tightly or in the refrigerator. Have some non-fruit snacks that your family loves? Please don’t forget to share them with me!