Food is an important part of different cultures and can be a fun (and delicious) way for kids explore the world around us. Celebrate and teach about food from different cultures for kids by trying out a few of the following snacks. They are both healthy and child-friendly, and can be great conversation starters for discussing the different regions and people of the world!
- Hummus & Veggies – Hummus is a versatile spread that originates from the Middle East. It can be used as a dip for vegetables, crackers or pita bread, or as a spread on sandwiches. While you can buy it already made, it’s easy to make at home as a fun snacktivity with your child! Made from garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, hummus is high in fiber and protein. This tasty snack is a staple of Primrose Schools’ Balanced Menus and quite popular with children.
- Avocado Toast – This fun, easy-to-make snack is common in Peru, which is known for its creamy avocados. Get your child’s help mashing up an avocado, season it with a little salt and pepper, and spread it on a piece of toasted bread, like whole wheat or sourdough. You can mix in other flavors too, such as lime juice, tomatoes, feta cheese or fresh herbs. Avocadoes, which are actually a fruit, are packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and almost 20 vitamins and minerals, so it’s a snack you can feel good about feeding your little one!
- Pepitas – Your child may already be acquainted with Mexican foods, but try introducing him to pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, which are a staple in Mexican cuisine. Roasted and lightly salted, they make for a great snack. Pepitas are also a good source of dietary fiber and protein, so when you’re carving pumpkins with your little one next month, save the seeds for snacking!
- Edamame – Edamame are immature soybeans and are often associated with Japanese cuisine. They can be bought in the freezer section of most grocery stores, either in their pods or shelled. Edamame can be steamed or boiled for a few minutes, and then lightly seasoned with salt for a delicious snack. They also make a great addition to salads and stir-fries, though my children enjoy popping them into their mouths straight from the pod! A great source of fiber, protein and other nutrients like folate, Edamame make for a fun and nutritious snack.
- Tzatziki Sauce – Tzatziki sauce is a Greek condiment that can serve as an alternative to ranch dressing. You can use it as a dip to encourage your child to eat more fresh vegetables or as a condiment on sandwiches. Made from plain Greek yogurt, which is naturally a good source of calcium and protein, Tzatziki sauce also contains fresh cucumber and dill for a refreshing flavor. Prepare this recipe, grab some with fresh veggies and start a conversation with your child about where the sauce came from while you munch!
- Summer Rolls – Often called spring rolls, these Vietnamese snacks are fun to assemble and eat, and are much healthier than fried egg rolls. They are generally filled with fresh vegetables such as lettuce, cucumbers and carrots, as well as a protein like shrimp. Check out this article for a tutorial on how to make them. Traditionally, summer rolls are served with peanut sauce, but a tasty chili lime dipping sauce works well, too. This is a snack your little one can join you in making – he’ll love helping you fill up the rolls with his favorite ingredients!
These healthy foods from different cultures for kids are not only easy for children to eat and help prepare, but they also provide context for a learning experience. Connecting culture to food is a great way to get your child thinking about the larger world and the different kinds of people that live in it. For more ideas on food from different cultures for kids, check out my blog post on 3 Ways to Celebrate Cultures through Cooking.