How to Offer Healthy Snacks to Kids
How to Offer Healthy Snacks to Kids
Snack times are essential to keeping our little ones well fueled during the day. Eating up to 5-6 times per day is very normal for active and growing little toddlers. It keeps their tummy satisfied, their mood happy and their concentration and energy levels just right – if it’s the right type of snack of course. On the flip side snacks can easily be the undoing of us. If it’s not enough they will keep asking for food and if it’s too much it may easily ruin their appetite for the next main meal. So how do you know what’s right and what’s not and how much is just enough?
Well, every child is different. Each child will have slightly different nutrient needs, dietary requirements and will have different activity levels throughout the day.
To help you find the right balance here are our top tips for offering healthy snacks to kids:
- Maintain a mealtime schedule with regular, yet flexible, meal and snack times
- Create a mealtime ritual around meal and snack times to help build positive associations with eating
- Ensure your children sit down to enjoy their snacks to prevent the risk of choking
- Make sure snacks are at least 1 hour away from meal times to ensure your kids have an appetite for their main meal. This may need to be longer for some children who have smaller appetites or who are fussy with their food
- Enjoy snack times with your children to demonstrate positive eating behaviours
- Include a source of protein (eggs, cheese, yoghurt, legumes, nut butters are all good options) at snack times to help satisfy hunger
- Maintain a variety of foods at both meal and snack times and try to include 2 options at each snack, e.g. yoghurt and fruit, dips and vegetables, cheese and crackers, a hard boiled egg and a few strawberries
- Avoid unhealthy habits that your toddler or young child might demand. These may include a finger bun or lollies every time you visit the shops, chips every day after school, ice cream after dinner or biscuits every time you visit the grandparents. Sure, include these on occasions – it’s all part of normal eating if it’s enjoyed sometimes and not an everyday and they enjoy a well balanced diet for the remainder of the time
- Be prepared where possible and pack healthy and appropriate snacks in your child’s lunchbox when you know you are going to have a busy day out and about
- Make your own muffins, biscuits and muesli bars to control portion sizes, choose appropriate and healthy ingredients and avoid the addition of unwanted additives and preservatives
- Offer a drink of water at snack times (in addition to other times throughout the day) to ensure adequate hydration and for their dental health.
Remember, snack times are another opportunity during the day to create enjoyable mealtimes, build positive associations around food and eating and encourage healthy eating habits for life.
This recipe was featured in the Summer 2014 issue of our Magazines. To find out more about our popular magazines or to purchase online see the links below:
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general use only. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to replace the personalised care and advice given to you by your health professional team. You as the reader/parent/caregiver must always discuss any concerns or questions about the health and well being of your baby or toddler with a healthcare professional. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.Join us on Facebook for other foodie bits and pieces.