Healthy Snack Habits for Kids
Kids love to snack. In fact, it’s good for them, as long as they choose healthy foods and keep portions in check. The following suggestions can help you and your family boost the quality of between-meal eating.
If your children are old enough to serve themselves, setting some rules (and a good example) can help them keep on track:
Don’t eat chips, cookies, or other snacks out of the bag or box. Pour or place a serving in a bowl or on a plate.
Have a glass of water or skim milk rather than soda or fruit-flavored drinks.
Have your snack at the kitchen table rather than in front of the TV or computer screen.
Ask a parent or caregiver if it’s OK to have a snack before getting one.
These recommendations offer a menu of health-promoting snack ideas:
To make healthy snacking easier, keep your refrigerator, pantry, and countertops stocked with nutritious foods in snack-size amounts.
Offer an abundance of fruits and vegetables. That helps kids and grown-ups alike consume the daily recommended amount of produce. It helps contain snacking costs, too.
Include a high-protein food such as a hard-boiled egg, cheese, yogurt, nuts, or peanut butter. Such foods provide energy and are more likely to satisfy hunger.
Concentrate on whole-grain snacks that contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than refined grain snacks. Keep an eye out for large amounts of added sugar, salt, and saturated or trans fat in these products.
Try plain-water alternatives, such as seltzer, sparkling water, and club soda served over ice. These beverages are free of caffeine and added sweeteners. Limit juice intake to 6 ounces (one serving) per day for children ages 1 to 6 and no more than 12 ounces (two servings) per day for kids ages 7 to 18. Children who drink more sweetened soda, iced tea, lemonade, and juice are more likely to be overweight than those who don’t.
Pack low-fat string cheese, dried fruits and nuts, carrot and celery sticks, or cut-up fruit in bags for healthy snacks when you’re out and about.
Don’t forget these kid-friendly favorites: celery sticks with peanut butter topped with raisins, frozen grapes, apple slices smeared with nut butter, single-serving containers of fat-free yogurt, and tortilla chips and salsa.
Remember, healthy snacks eaten in moderation can be part of a nutritious diet for you and your children.
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