Would Your Kid Eat This!? 10 Kid Snacks from Around the World
Believe it or not, most kids around the world don’t make it through the day fueled by plastic baggies filled with Goldfish® crackers. Have you ever wondered what parents in France, India, and Costa Rica feed their kids for snacks?
Here are 10 popular kid-friendly healthy snacks from around the world. Who knows? They just might inspire new culinary adventures in your own kitchen. And besides, getting kids to try new foods is key to developing healthy eating habits. Bon appetit!
1. Mexico: Fruit Paletas (Ice Pops)
Throughout Mexico, ice pops known as paletas are made with tropical fruits like mango, tamarind, and watermelon, as well as creamy flavors like arroz con leche (rice pudding) and cinnamon cocoa. Try your hand at home with our delicious (and healthy) recipes.
2. Sweden: Open-Faced Sandwiches
Known as smørrebrød in Sweden and eaten with a knife and fork instead of your hands, these unique snacks are made on a single piece of bread (often a dense, sourdough-style, whole grain rye), and are then topped with butter and tasty additions like shrimp, cheese and pears, pickled herring, and lots of fresh dill. The colorful aesthetic is half the appeal with this one, so as you build sandwiches with your child, focus on the details!
3. Thailand: Dried Bananas
Dried whole bananas—typically made from a smaller type of banana called ma-li-ong—are a common snack in Thailand. These dried fruit snacks are often sweetened with sugar or honey and are available at markets around Thailand. Bring this exotic treat to your kitchen by making your own with a dehydrator or oven!
4. Japan: Onigiri
Japanese rice balls, called onigiri or omusubi, are savory triangle-shaped treats made of cooked rice that are stuffed with fillings like salmon, marinated tofu, or pickled plum (umeboshi), or they’re left unstuffed and sprinkled with a seasoning mix called furikake, which is made from seaweed, sesame seeds, sea salt, and sugar.
Onigiri are often wrapped in a sheet of seaweed (a.k.a. nori). No need to stick with the recipe verbatim, though, especially if you have a picky eater—just take the basic idea and stuff rice with your kid’s favorite veggies, meats, and other ingredients. This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of making onigiri at home!
5. India: Carrot Halwa (gajar ka halwa)
Carrots for dessert? We bet that after trying this popular snack and dessert from India, your kiddo will be convinced! This sweet treat combines grated carrots, whole milk, nuts, dried fruit, and kid-friendly spices. Kids won’t be able to resist this veggies-as-dessert delight—and with a hearty helping of fiber, Vitamin A, and beta-carotene, you’ll feel great about serving it, too.
6. Costa Rica: Batidos (Smoothies)
Like their Mexican peers, Costa Rican children enjoy tropical fruits throughout the day. Roadside stands usually feature smoothies made with banana, mango, pineapple, papaya, and watermelon. These are incredibly easy to whip up in a snap—and a great way to add some fruit to your day!
7. Turkey: Pide (Pizza-Like Flatbread with Toppings)
Turkish children top their boat-shaped pide—pronounced ‘pea-day’—with a mouthwatering assortment of meat, cheese, eggs, potatoes, and herbs. One popular version with spinach and cheese is super simple to recreate at home. Make the dough from scratch or buy a ready-to-bake pizza dough at the store—once the dough’s ready, add a mixture of spinach and cheddar cheese on top. Before popping it in the oven, fold two sides of the dough up over the toppings and pinch the ends together to create your tasty little snack boat!
8. Nigeria: Plantain Chips
These crispy, crunchy chips are a popular Nigerian street food made with large, starchy fruits that look like bananas. Buy fresh plantains at your local market (many American supermarkets carry them, but if yours doesn’t, try an international grocery store), and make your own chips by slicing them up and pan-frying them in coconut oil. Prefer something close to potato chips? Stick with greener plantains as they have less sugar. If you’re aiming for a sweet flavor, go for the ones with browning skins.
9. France: Not Much
French children are raised to eat three hearty meals without a lot of grazing in between. If children do snack in France, it’s typically once in the late afternoon—on tartine: bread with butter (in its simplest version) or spread with jam or Nutella. The French aren’t afraid to give their children these sweet treats, but they are very conscious about when those treats are consumed.
10. Brazil: Avocados Mashed with Sugar
Brazil is one of the only countries in the world known for eating avocados as a sweet treat. While we most often use these green goodies as a base for guacamole, the avocado is technically a fruit—and its mild flavor and healthy fats are a great way to boost nutrition in sweet treats. Try throwing half an avocado into a fruit smoothie or blending it up into a delicious vegan chocolate pudding.