Most adults can make it through the day without eating a snack. However, kids are a bit different. They need
Why is that?
The problem is that most children won’t attain all the nutrients they need with their breakfast, lunch and supper. Therefore, it’s important parents give their child healthy snacks to provide them with the additional fuel their bodies need to grow fit and strong.
According to various studies, snacking during school days will boost both motivation and mood while also having an effect on children’s concentration level. Snacks can help them perform better in times of stress such as taking a test or speaking in front of a class.
That does not mean they should eat whatever and whenever they can. Instead, parents should have an eating schedule set up such as mid-morning snack and after-school snack and abide by it.
What Serves As A Healthy Snack?
When it comes to snack food, the worst things to give a child are processed fruit snacks, cookies and chips. Why? These foods are laden with additional sugar and salt without the nutrients kids need. Snacks don’t need to be filled with empty calories. Instead, they should bridge the nutrition gap for your child’s diet.
What kinds of foods should you be giving your child? You want your child to have as much fiber as possible, usually in the form of vegetables and fruit. You can also add in a low-fat dairy such as Greek yogurt. It’s the ideal snack to keep your child from overeating later on. According to researchers, children who snacked on cheese and vegetables tended to consume fewer calories and felt fuller than children who ate chips.
The snack food industry has bombarded people with all kinds of choices, but it’s hard to find the healthy snacks that are good for your child. To ensure a healthy snack time for your child, here are some helpful hints you should follow:
1. Relax The Food Rules
It’s okay to give them some chips and candy bars every now and then but always gear them more toward the healthy snacks the remainder of the time.
2. Pick The Heathier Foods
If there are two foods that you feel are alike nutritionally, find out which one has more fiber, minerals and vitamins in it.
3. Portion Control
Teach your child about portion control, using zip-top bags to store their snack foods in. Allow them to prepare their own servings of snack food, keeping in mind portion control.
4. Create The Snack For Yourself
There are a number of healthy pre-packed snacks. However, you can make snack food healthier by making it yourself. You can even hide the healthy ingredients from your children when you create your own.
5. Toss The Junk Food Out
If you don’t keep junk food in your home, they’re liable not to crave them. Instead, stock the house with healthier snacks for you and your family.
6. Go With Whole-Grain Foods
If you want food that has some staying power, choose whole grains foods such as whole-grain cereals, pretzels, etc.
7. Increase The Menu Spread
Make sure you offer your child foods they don’t typically eat such as cranberries, pineapple, avocado, mangoes or yellow and red peppers.
8. Mix Your Foods
Give your child baby carrots or another raw vegetable with hummus or fat-free ranch dressing. You can also give them fresh fruit with Greek yogurt. Put a little peanut butter on the apples, bananas and celery.
9. Breakfast Food For Snacks
There are several breakfast foods that make for a healthy afternoon snack such as dried cereal with nuts and dried fruit or unsweetened applesauce and cinnamon or low-fat milk and microwavable oatmeal.
10. Add A Little Sweetness
There’s no reason for your healthy snacks to be bland. Satisfy their sweet tooth with frozen fruit bars, frozen yogurt or fat-free pudding. You can also create smoothies out of plain yogurt, milk, and frozen or fresh fruit.
11. Make It Fun
Your child’s snack can also be fun. Use cookie cutters to create various shapes in your whole-grain tortilla or bread or from low-fat cheese slices. You can create fruit kebabs or let them use chopsticks to eat their diced fruit. Use pretzel sticks to create words or make a tower from whole-grain crackers.
12. Encourage Their Independence
Maintain some variety of ready-to-eat vegetables and fruit in your refrigerator or on the countertop. Leave whole-grain cereal or packaged fruit in its own juice on the counter for them to choose for their snack.
13. Have A Snack Area
There are certain locations you shouldn’t let your child snack in – the kitchen or living room with a TV. If you need an on-the-go snack, there is string cheese, cereal bars, yogurt sticks and carrot sticks for you to consider.
14. Read The Labels
There are many foods that have been marketed as being fat-free or low-fat but are laden with sodium and calories. This is something you need to be mindful of, so read a food’s nutrition labels before you buy it.
Do you want to make your child’s snack time special? If so, then are a few ideas to consider for yourself: