Warming Up to Healthy Kids with Hydrating Veggie Snacks
Hydration is critical to good health, and while it's recommended that you drink a lot of water, parents know that it's difficult to get kids to do this. While we tend to think of fruits as the juicier, high-water content food to promote to our children to keep fluids replenished, there's another way ퟀ� veggies! They're crunchy, refreshing, tasty (with or without a little dip or topping),ퟀ�and underrated as a snack. So, equip yourself with some knowledge of the veggies with the highest water content and learn how to finagle these hydrating goodies into a kid-friendly snack ... or several. Here's the information and some snack ideas to go along with it:
- Cucumbers top the high-water content veggie list at 95 plus percent water.ퟀ�Also, they're packed with anti-inflammatory compounds that are great for skin and internal organs. Cucumbers are easy for kids to eat. Slice them, keep them chilled and ready, and have some healthy yogurt or hummus dip on hand for these crunchy snacks.
Another fun idea is to make mini-sandwiches using cucumber slices as a bread replacement. Fill the sandwiches with some cheese spread, hummus, or whatever the kids like.
- Celery is also a very high-water content veggie, hovering at around the same content level as cucumbers, 95 percent.
And it's not just a watery veggie. Celery is also very high inퟀ�high vitamin K,ퟀ�potassium, and folate. Given that it is especially crunchy and lends itself to be filled with something, celery has always been an easy veggie to encourage kids to eat. Fill it with some healthy cream cheese (add some raisins for fun) or cheddar cheese spread, hummus, apple butter or, if there are no nut allergies, peanut butter is a classic. Have you ever thought of serving tuna or chicken salad with celery sticks as eating utensils instead making a sandwich with bread? Or just dip the celery in some sour cream and veggie dip.
- Iceberg lettuce is like crunching into a green-tinged glass of water. Obviously at the top of the water content list, this lettuce is, like its namesake, pretty much all water.
What can you do with lettuce? Well, kids may find it fun to wrap their sandwich contents in it. That's an easy and fun way to sneak the hydration in. Salads made with fun veggie cut-outs in all sorts of shapes is also a great way to stay healthy and hydrated. And, if iceberg lettuce doesn't have the added vitamin content you were looking for, try spinach or romaine. Both have a relatively high water content of more than 90 percent and are packed with vitamins. And while you're making that salad, throw some hydrating radishes in it.
- Radishes have loads of water content and may have a bit of a bite for kids' taste, but they'll love the fun to be had while crafting some snacks to have at the house, in the car on a trip, or on hand when they're a bit hungry and parched.
The old flowering radish trick comes to mind. Parents, this is a job for you: Cut the top and bottom of the radishes, so they can sit upright. Then cut even vertical slices about 3/4 of the way down the radish from the outer edges to the middle. Put in a bowl of water and watch them turn into little roses. Dip them, eat them plain, or serve them with cream cheese and chives. Or, if you're in the mood for a project, try baked radishes. Careful, because if they're not sliced thin enough, they won't crisp as much. So, slice thin, lay out on a baking sheet and spray with olive oil, and coat with a sprinkle of sea salt and other desired spices. Bake until crispy.
- Zucchini is among those veggies highest in water content and filled with vitamins. Do not peel the skin off though, or you will deplete many of those. The veggie is a great source of vitamins C, B-6, and K as well as manganese.
If you want to cook it, try halving the zucchini, scooping out the seeds and enlisting the kids help you fill it with a healthy stuffing of whatever they like most. Or just cut it into medallions and bake it with a spritz of olive oil, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese. Fried or baked zucchini sticks work well, too. Serve with a favorite dip or sauce and watch the kids eat them up. Zucchini can also be served raw with any dip.
- Many other veggies are high in water content, with cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, and spinach at 92 percent and broccoli at 91. If they won't eat green peppers, try red or yellow. They're sweeter, crunchy, and packed with water goodness and vitamins.
- Try topping pizza with veggies when you order out. Or make a simple English muffin or tortilla pizza at home and top it with only veggies.
And, though tomatoes are considered a fruit, don't forget that they are 94 percent water. That's a high water and vitamin content pizza!