Fruit: Before I offer them anything else, I will offer them a piece of fruit. In the morning, they will generally share a banana prior to their more formal breakfast and may have another one or two throughout the day. This explains why we tend to go through many, many pounds of bananas every week (Some day I'll tally an actual poundage number). After bananas, I'll usually go to an apple, but they really haven't met any fruit they don't like. I've been keeping oranges and prunes on hand recently as well as watermelon since it's the season.
Coco pops: No, I don't mean the crappy chocolate cereal that I got when I googled this, I'm talking about a multigrain puffed "cake." These snacks are in the same family as rice cakes, in that they are crunchy and can be held with your hands, but they have just a few more ingredients. And I do mean "just a few" because they contain: wheat, rice, corn and sea salt. The end. I have found these wonderful things at Wegmans and Whole Foods, both of which are now offering a "whole wheat" option in addition to the regular one. Each "pop" has a whopping 16 calories so I like to let them have as many as they want when they're looking for something to crunch on. One of their favorite ways to eat these things is with hummus. Lots and lots of hummus.
Seaweed: It wasn't until recently that I discovered how much Heidi and Piper like seaweed. I've tried it and find it tastes too much like sushi without being sushi for me to fully enjoy it. But for them, a whole package is just not enough. They literally stuff these sheets into their mouths while simultaneously asking for more. They're worth a try, if you can find them, and they are also one of the more healthier snack options out there.
Homemade muffins: I try to make muffins on a fairly frequent basis because it breaks up the general breakfast routine and provides a whole grain fruit source for H & P. No matter what kind of muffin I make, I usually shred at least one apple into the batter for some extra goodness. Though we might eat a bunch for breakfast, I find that throughout the day the muffins disappear and are usually on their minds as soon as they awake from a nap. We typically go through a dozen muffins in just over a day.
Real food: When my creativity is running low, I often reach for the obvious - real food. One of my easiest go-to snacks is to boil a bunch of frozen peas and throw them at them. (Not literally, of course, although the other day they found flinging raw peas to be jolly good fun.) I love that they will still eat plain peas like candy. I will also give them plain green beans (from frozen) or sometimes vegetable pasta. These 'snacks' often turn into lunch, which is fine by me, but if I can't give them fruit or if they've had a sufficient amount for the day, I turn to vegetables.
Chocolate: What? Well, the reason this is on the list, at the bottom, is that on very, very rare occasions, I do give them small pieces of chocolate for fun. There is a method to this madness, however. There are certain chocolates that I consider to be good and there are others that I consider to be crap. Thus, I want Heidi and Piper to develop a discerning tongue for those chocolates that are good over the ones that are bad. I hope it works.
Cheese: I hate cheese in most forms, but both H & P enjoy it. Even though it is gosh darn expensive to buy organic string cheese, I get it for them every so often because it's a quick, easy way to give them extra protein and calcium. Plus, I can cut them up and throw them in their omelets if I don't have any other cheese on hand.
There are, at times, many other things I give them, depending on where we are and what we're doing. If we're out at the store and they need something to eat, I usually buy a few bagels and a tub of hummus to dip them in. At other times, (if we're with my mother) they might have some crackers or some sort of energy-type bar, but that does not happen very often at all.
What sort of snacks do you give to your children?