Teach her healthy eating habits when she's young.

Healthy Snacks for Children in Animal Shapes

by Susan Revermann

When your little one’s tummy starts growling, it’s time to act fast. Just because you want something quick and easy, doesn’t mean you have to give your her pre-made foods full of fat, calories or artificial gunk -- snacks can be healthy, too. Get creative and make some animal-shaped foods to feed your little animal.

1. Lions and Bears, Oh My

When your child has a bear of an appetite, might as well feed him one. Toast for the face, banana slices for eyes and one banana slice cut in half for ears, a blueberry for the nose and a rounded “w” swipe of grape jelly for a mouth. For a premade, easy to reheat snack, whip up some small, bear-faced pancakes and store them in the freezer. Use blueberries or chocolate chips to make the eyes, nose and mouth. Syrup or berry sauce are the bear’s dipping pals. If you’re little one is roaring for some chow, you could make a lion with a small pita, hummus and carrot shavings. Two small cucumber slices for the eyes, one for the nose and two bell pepper slices positioned into a “W” shape for the mouth will complete the deal.

2. Water Companions

A fish-shaped grilled cheese is sure to make a splash with your child. Construct the grilled cheese sandwich as you normally would using wheat toast and low-fat cheese. Toast it in a lightly buttered pan or a grill. Once it’s out and cooled a bit, cut the edges off to make it look like a fish. This goes great with a cup of soup for an afternoon snack. You could opt to pair some tomato soup with bread cut into small fish, shark or whale shapes and toasted to make croutons. Another sea-worthy companion to make for your child is an octopus. Find a couple of extra small bell peppers. Cut the tops of the peppers off and scoop out the inside stuff. Cut two eye holes out of one pepper, below the halfway point of the pepper. Place that pepper upside-down in a small bowl of hummus. Cut another of the pepper of the same color into eight slices and arrange the slices around the upside-down pepper so it looks like octopus legs coming out of the sea.

3. Slithering and Crawling Buddies

These snakes and caterpillars won’t give you’re the willies when you touch them. Turkey hot dogs and a can of pizza dough can magically transform into tasty, yet friendly, snake snacks. Just cut the dough into strips and wrap it around the turkey dog to make it look like a tree-climbing snake. Poke an eye into the dough on one end and bake according to the dough’s instructions. Create some sweet caterpillars with a long skewer and alternate putting green and red seedless grapes on it. Add two small dots of cream cheese on the one of the end grapes and you’re ready to go.

4. Feathered Friends

Let your creative culinary juices take flight by making feathered friend snacks. A shelled, hard-boiled egg can be transformed into a penguin. Using toothpicks, attach two olive slices for eyes and insert a small triangle piece for the beak. Cut two carrot slices to look like feet for the little friend and an olive sliced lengthwise for wings. Create a turkey with a whole pear, two raisin eyes and some multicolored apple slices on toothpicks for the feathers. Just make sure you remove the toothpicks for either before your kiddo digs in.

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