Most parents think that children need to eat snacks so that they won’t feel too hungry before the next meal. However, snacks, particularly healthy ones, can give your kids several health benefits rather than simply acting as tummy fillers.
Nutrition advisors say that as long you give the right kind of in-between-meal treats to your little ones, you won’t have to worry about your kids snacking too much and developing unhealthy eating habits and certain health-related issues.
Serving Kid-Friendly Snacks At Home
To ensure your kids will eat only healthy and filling snacks at home, follow these simple tips and tricks:
1. Make healthy snacks easily accessible
Keep your refrigerator and cupboard stocked with healthy foods pre-portioned and ready for snacking such as cut fresh fruits and veggies, nuts or trail mix, and yogurt.
In case your kids are old enough to prepare or get their own snacks, make sure you place healthy snack treats where they can easily be seen and consumed.
Place foods you want them to eat in clear containers. Put the less nutritious or more indulgent ones in drawers or cabinets that can be locked or at the bottom of the fridge.
2. Stock up on protein-rich foods
Protein is an essential nutrient that gives your kids energy and makes them feel full longer. It is therefore important that you stock your fridge with protein-rich foods such as hard-boiled eggs, homemade chicken nuggets or drumsticks. You can serve these foods with some noodles, pasta, or wheat bread to give your kids filling and nutritious snacks.
Whole-grain foods such as whole-grain pretzels, tortillas, bread, and cereals can also give your kids the energy they need to tackle other activities. For an easy high-protein snack, prepare sandwiches made with whole-grain bread, cheese, and organic deli meat with hummus on the side.
3. Combine foods from at least two food groups when preparing your children’s snacks
There are five food groups, and to ensure your kids are eating healthy snacks, prepare treats made with items that come from at least two of these groups. Combine protein-rich foods with another ingredient from a different food group such as an apple, celery, and milk in these snacks.
This is a great way to make sure your kids get to discover and be familiar with different types of food, flavors, and texture. You also ensure your little ones get the right nutrients they need from the important food groups for children.
4. Come up with a broad and interesting menu
Kids will be more inclined to eat healthy snacks and foods if they are prepared or cooked and served in different and interesting ways. Avoid serving the same foods over and over again as well so that they won’t get bored with the snacks you give them.
A good tip you can follow is to prepare a salad bar. Place different fresh fruits and veggies such as pineapples, blueberries, cucumbers, mangoes, carrots, tomatoes, and lettuce in various containers and encourage your children to choose a few pieces of produce and mix them together for a colorful snack.
Use cookie cutters to cut these fruits and veggies so that your kids will be automatically drawn to the cute shapes. Prepare some dips as well such as yogurt, hummus, organic cheese dip and peanut butter and allow your kids to experiment with different flavors.
5. Experiment with healthy breakfast staples to come up with nutritious snacks
Some healthy breakfast foods can work well as afternoon snacks, too. For instance, you can give your kids a bowl of dried cereal mixed with fruit and nuts. You can also cook some oatmeal and serve it with low-fat milk and add some unsweetened applesauce and cinnamon to make this treat tastier.
6. Be smart about buying ready-made snacks
There is nothing wrong with buying ready-to-eat snacks from the grocery store every now and then. However, keep in mind that although some foods are labeled as low-fat or fat-free, they can still contain high amounts of calories and sodium.
As such, make sure you read the product’s nutrition label so you can be certain that you are buying a healthy snack.
7. Give your kids sweet treats from time to time
Lastly, give your children occasional rewards. You can do this by satisfying their sweet tooth in a healthy way.
You can do this by giving them frozen yogurt, low-fat puddings, or frozen fruit bars. Give them smoothies made with milk, plain yogurt or sugar-free ice cream, and fruits they like every now and then as well.
Snacks play an important role in the growth and well-being of your kids. As such, make it a point to give them snacks at home that are nutritious, filling, and delicious all the time.