It’s already back-to-school time. Feeling short of ideas for your children’s snacks?
While snacks are part of healthy eating, when they are too high in calories and too low in nutrients, munchies can quickly lead to excess energy intake… which contributes to the obesity epidemic that is ravaging today’s youth. Here are a few suggestions for healthy and delicious snacks:
- Don’t bring junk food into the house. If there are no cookies and chips in the house, your kids won’t clamour for them. Instead, keep “healthy” snacks on hand.
- Look for whole grains. To calm growling stomachs and give kids enough energy to keep going for a few hours, keep good back-up foods on hand, like pretzels and whole grain mini-muffins or bread slices.
- Surprise your kids! Occasionally offer your children more exotic fruit and vegetables. Fresh mango or diced pineapple makes for a delicious snack, as do smoothies made with these fruits and low-fat milk.
- Combine! For example, serve raw vegetables with a dip, Graham biscuits with apple sauce or yogurt, or apple slices with peanut butter.
- Promote independence. Prepare bowls of cut vegetables and fresh fruit so your children can pick from them as needed. Also keep reserves of ready-made foods like low-fat cereals or crackers that your kids can bring with them to school.
- Don’t be fooled by advertising slogans. A low-fat product can still be very high in calories, just as one that has no trans-fats can be very high in fat overall. Read the nutrition facts on the label to get the whole scoop on a food item.
- Limit the snacking area. Don’t let your kids eat outside of the kitchen. This can prevent them from eating mindlessly in front of the television. If your children need a snack after an outdoor activity, offer a fruit, string cheese, yogurt sticks or a cereal bar.
Healthy eating habits learned in childhood often last a lifetime. This is the time to teach them by example!