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The dream of every parent is to have their kids eat healthy foods with no problems. Alas, it’s not a perfect world, and it can be a nightmare to feed picky eaters. If they can’t even eat fruits and vegetables during regular meals, then healthy snacks are out of the question.
There are alternatives and ways to make food more appealing to discerning young palates. Consider easing your kids into eating healthy but delicious foods via Japanese snacks. Japan’s cuisine is known to be meticulously crafted to be healthy and delicious, and their traditional snacks are no exception. Expand your kid’s gastronomic journey and explore these new snacks with them:
Japanese Rice Crackers
Also known as senbei, these Japanese rice crackers are a great alternative for chips, cookies, and candies. The ingredients for this traditional treat include rice, wheat, soybeans, soy sauce, salt, and water. They come in many shapes, sizes, and flavors, so look out for them in the Asian aisle at the supermarket.
Like many foods, moderation should be in order. However, there’s no need to worry about the sugar and salt content in senbei because these ingredients are not as excessive compared to regular potato chips and other junk foods. You can check out more information about rice crackers here.
Red Bean Paste Bread
Trying to cut down on cakes and sweet pastries but don’t want to restrict too many carbs? Consider introducing anpan or sweet rolls filled with red bean paste. Variations of this bread include white bean, sesame, or chestnut paste. It’s filling, not too sweet, and healthier than most bread pastries. This treat was invented in the nineteenth century and remains popular in Japan today. It can easily be availed in local convenience stores.
Thin Biscuit Sticks
Pocky is considered one of the most well-known snacks from Japan, and there is a reason why it’s also popular all over the world. A single box is a perfect snack-size portion for kids. The Pocky Sticks are thin biscuits dipped in a variety of flavors, usually chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, rainbow, and more.
If you like the savory variety, there’s also Pretz, which is similar to Pocky. They are produced by the same company, and Pretz is a good alternative for those who don’t have a sweet tooth. This biscuit-stick snack is offered in a variety of savory flavors like salad, tomato, salt caramel, corn, and many more.
Your kids probably have heard of yogurt and have had them plenty of times, so it isn’t difficult to introduce a milky yogurt drink. Yakult is popular in Japan and the rest of Asia in general, and it is known for containing probiotics that are good for the digestive system. In fact, a single bottle contains billions of good live bacteria. It is delicious, addictive, and a beverage unlike any other.
If you’re not familiar with Asian cuisine, then seaweed may not sound so appealing to you. Dried seaweed, or nori, is another popular snack and an alternative for chips. It has high levels of iodine, which helps balance deficiency when you’re trying to minimize sodium consumption.
Nori is considered a staple superfood in many Asian cultures. It is a mainstay in Japan and Korean cuisines because of its bountiful nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamins A to E, taurine, and niacin, to name a few. Nori can be eaten on its own as chips or mixed in other foods.
Variety Is Key
Emphasizing on the importance of health and good eating habits is not saying that children should never be allowed to eat junk food. One of the best things to do during childhood is eating sweets and chips after all. If you want to continue giving your children snacks and exploring what Japan has to offer, consider getting a snack box subscription directly from the land of the rising sun.
Japan is also known for its love for unusual flavors, so you’ll get a taste of that from your monthly box. Who knows, you might find something you and your kids will love. Don’t worry about not being able to read Japanese—a booklet with translations telling you about the box contents will be included.
What is your favorite traditional and nontraditional Japanese snack? Share it in the comments below.