Dried vegetables come in several varieties that are appealing treats for kids. Veggie snacks are either freeze dried or dehydrated into crunchy snacks that can be eaten like potato chips or peanuts. They’re especially good for outings, trips and lunchboxes. Make your own or choose lightly seasoned varieties to control salt and fat.
Edamame, the actual “bean” of the soybean, are pea-like legumes that are often freeze dried and seasoned as snacks. High in protein, fiber and iron, they are a good alternative to peanuts for kids. Dried edamame can be found at most health food and Asian markets; grocery stores also often carry inexpensive lightly salted varieties.
Roasted corn, also called corn nuts, is a dried corn product with very little added–just oil and salt. Corn nuts also come in flavors such as ranch and nacho cheese with extra kid appeal, but with many more additives. Plain freeze-dried corn, often marketed as food for outdoor hiking and camping, can also be eaten as a snack.
Wasabi peas are a popular Japanese snack that have become more common in North America. The hot wasabi coating may not appeal to kids, but they can also be found with a salty-sweet coating that’s more kid-friendly. Plain freeze-dried peas are another dried-pea snack.
Japanese veggie jerky is similar to meat jerky, but is made with soy protein and yeast. It’s high in protein and contains fiber, iron, and less sodium than most salty snacks. If your kids like meat jerky, this is a healthy and exotic alternative. Look for it at your local Asian market, or order online.
Mixed Veggie Chips
Veggie chips are dehydrated vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, and squash. High in fiber, they’re said to be a healthier alternative to potato chips that have kid appeal with brighter natural colors. Veggie chips are sold commercially, or can be made at home with a food dehydrator.
According to a Newsweek online article “Five ‘Healthy’ Snacks That Aren’t So Healthy,” a comparison between commercial veggie chips and potato chips shows similar levels of fat and calories.
References and ResourcesThe Nibble: Sensible Foods Review
Food Processing: Healthy Snacks/Small Indulgences
Newsweek: Five "Healthy" Snacks That Aren't So Healthy