The Importance Of Healthy Snacks For Kids
Providing healthy snacks for kids is a fantastic way to promote the health of your kids.
Do you remember as a child how frustrating it was when you were hungry and wanted a quick snack, but your Mum would say, “No dear, we’re about to have dinner, and it’ll ruin your appetite!”
We seem these days to have gone to the other extreme. Now, in many homes, kids seem to be able to grab a bite to eat whenever they want.
Importance Of Healthy Snacks For Kids
I believe on the one hand, that snacking on juice, soda, treats loaded with sugar and fatty food between meals will not likely spoil a child’s dinner. But, on the other hand, refusing your child anything when they are hungry and making them wait, can cause other problems.
Children have small stomachs and they are typically very active. their bodies need small frequent meals to keep them well energized and content. This is where healthy snacks for kids can make a big difference to their health and happiness.
Depriving a hungry child of food and expecting them to wait patiently for dinner, like an adult, can be unreasonable and invites temper tantrums or lethargy because a child’s blood sugar level drops dramatically when they haven’t eaten for a while. This also happens to adults, but kids don’t have the same self control to behave and think properly when this happens (many adults don’t either).
Withholding any food until a sit-down meal with the family at a specific time also invites over-eating when mealtime finally arrives. And we certainly don’t need to contribute to the rise in over-weight kids!
So what is a parent to do? My experience as a mother and Naturopath has taught me that offering healthy snacks for kids between meals will not spoil their appetite plus they remain content and well energized.
Examples Of Healthy Snacks For Kids
Try choosing from the following healthy snacks for kids:
1. Whole grain crackers or plain (preferably organic) corn chips with toppings, such as – fresh guacamole, hummus, tuna salad, low fat cream cheese, cottage cheese, or natural peanut butter.
2. A selection of raw fresh vegetables – celery sticks, carrot sticks, cauliflower or broccoli florets, cucumber, with any of the above dips.
3. Pieces of fresh fruit, such as apples, pears, strawberries, firm persimmons, kiwifruit, etc. dipped in fruity yogurt and dusted in finely powdered almonds or other nuts. (The nuts can be ground in a coffee bean grinder).
4. Fresh fruit on its own or with a handful of fresh unsalted, unroasted nuts, is good for older children.
5. Mini whole grain pita bread pizzas spread with unsweetened tomato paste and/or pesto, and topped with their favorite toppings – tomatoes, sliced onion, sliced olives, mushrooms, (yes some children like them), peppers, zucchini, broccoli florets, feta, tofu, low fat salami / ham (use sparingly as these are high in preservatives and salt) – then top with grated cheese and herbs like sweet basil and oregano, and pop under the grill for a few minutes.
This snack is quite substantial and best offered mid morning or mid afternoon.
6. A handful of lightly roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds tossed in low sodium soy sauce is good for older children. Not for tiny tots – choking hazard!
7. Homemade fruit juice freezes for hot summer days
8. Egg nogs (using organic eggs)
9. Small fruit smoothies
10. Small baked potato with a yummy topping like low-fat sour cream, grated cheese, or ground beef spaghetti sauce
11. A glass of fresh fruit or vegetable juice made in a home kitchen juicer, diluted with water 3:1
12. Small bean or beef burrito
13. Sardines on toast
This selection of healthy snacks for kids should keep them content allowing you to enjoy a nice relaxed atmosphere in your home. For more comprehensive information on providing healthy eating for you and your family, check out my Longevity Healthy Eating Guidelines.