December 11, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter
Let’s face it. Kids love to snack. The average american child consumes about 3 snacks per day. This not only adds a significant amount of calories each day but can lead to development of unhealthy food habits. Snacks are a great way to add extra nutrients children need. Cooking and preparing meals take enough time as it is. The key is finding convenient healthy snacks to provide for your children.
Start in the Grocery Store
It all starts with the food available in the house. If food like chips, cookies and soda are in the house then that is what will be chosen by your children. When grocery shopping, keep in mind of the selection you are providing your family. Try to increase the amount of healthier options in the house.
Next time you’re cooking, slice up some extra vegetables to store for later. Then you can offer your children sliced veggies and hummus or low-fat dip as a snack. Need to keep an apple fresh after cutting it? Add some lemon juice to them to keep them from turning brown as quickly.
Ready-to-eat healthy snacks
Not all healthy snacks require preparation time. Fruits such as blueberries, bananas, raspberries, grapes, clementines, and apples are fruit you don’t have to prepare in order to eat! Simply wash the fruit and set it out on the table for your children to enjoy. Nuts are a great source of protein and an easy snack. Look for low-salt nuts to keep around the house. Peanut butter can also be a great addition to an apple or banana. Try serving yogurt as dip with your fruits. Dried fruits such as raisins are convenient for on-the-go options. You can even find dried apple and pear chips in your regular grocery store.
These can be fun to make with kids. Smoothies are an easy snack that allows them to use some creativity. They range from peanut butter and banana to combinations of all different kinds of fruit. Use fat-free milk or yogurt with a combination of frozen and fresh fruit. Are bananas getting ripe too quickly? The more ripe, the sweeter they are and better they will taste in a smoothie! Stash them in the freezer to save for when you want to make a smoothie. This helps make the smoothie thick and also preserves the banana for longer. Find frozen fruit at the grocery store to throw in the blender whenever. You can use fruit juices such as 100% pomegranate juice or orange juice to change up the flavor. Make this a fun activity for you and your kids and let them experiment!
Make it fun
Children are more likely to eat something if it looks appealing. Let them play with their food for once and make sculptures out of fruit and vegetables before they eat them. Use peanut butter for the glue, blueberries or nuts/seeds for the eyes, and let their creativity run wild. Even preparing the food yourself in fun shapes can make the food more appealing. Try put peanut butter on celery sticks with raisins on top to make bugs on a log.
Look for Whole Grains
Whole wheat breads, popcorn and whole grain cereals can be high in fiber and low in fat and sodium. Look for options low in sugar as well. Add fruit to cereal to boost the flavor!
Be Wise with Size
If they eat too much it will add more calories and may interfere with their next meal. Keep portions small and limit their snack food consumption. Try using snack sized bags to help control serving sizes.
Sources: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet24MyPlateSnackTipsforParents.pdf, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet11KidFriendlyVeggiesAndFruits.pdf