For many parents and kids, snacks are unhealthy treats – packets of crisps, cupcakes, or little chocolate bars – but this doesn’t have to be the case.
There are so many really tasty things we can snack on that are just as cost-effective, and are also just as easy to buy or make.
Snacks play a major and growing role in children diets.
Healthy eating tip- serve kids snacks with fun plates, napkins, cups, or straws. You can also have a tasting party where children can vote for their favorite healthy snacks! Here are the ideas:
They are naturally sweet so most kids love it, fruit can be served whole, sliced, cut in half, cubed or wedges. Fruit salad- get kids to help make a fruit salad use variety of colored fruits to add to the appeal.
Smoothies- blend fruit with juice, yogurt or milk and ice.
Vegetables can be served raw with dip or salad dressing.
Dips-try low fat salad dressing like fat free ranch or humus. Simple recipes can be found online.
HEALTHY GRAINS (BREAD, CRACKERS, CEREALS)
Try serve mostly whole grains which provide more fiber vitamins and minerals.
LOW FAT DAIRY FOODS
Daily foods are great source of calcium which can help to build strong bones
Look for brands that are low fat or fat free moderate in sugars and high in calcium.
Since nuts are high in calories, it is best to serve them along with another snack such as fruit. A small handful of nuts is a reasonable serving size.
NOTE- Before bringing in peanuts, peanut butter or other nuts as a snacks, check to make sure none of the children has an allergy.
Water should be the main drink served to kids at snack times. Water satisfies thirst and does not have sugar or calories
LOW FAT AND FAT FREE MILK
Milk provide key nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D which make bone strong.
FRESH FRUIT JUICE.
Home made fresh fruit juice is rich in vitamin, minerals and cancer fighting compounds.
NOTE-A note about sugary soft drink –children who drink more sweetened drinks consume more calories and are more likely to be overweight than kids who drink fewer soft drink. Soft drink also displace healthy foods in kids diet like milk which can help prevent heart disease and cancer, in addition soda pop can cause dental cavity and tooth decay.
In summary, healthy snacks for kids doesn’t have to take monumental changes – just little ones, centered around eating more whole foods, that will soon become habit!