Today’s post was written by Theresa Gilson, DTR, Dietetic Intern.
Snack time can be challenging. Sometimes it is easier to grab that bag of potato chips than to search for a healthy alternative. What type of snacks does your family like to eat? How many snacks do you or your kids eat each day? What makes up a healthy snack?
Make snack time a success:
- An appropriate amount of snacks is 2-3 per day – between mealtimes, but be sure to eat the snack at least 1-2 hours before your next meal.
- For your children, it is best to offer snacks at routine times each day. It’s not a bad idea for the adults either! For example, if they eat breakfast around 7am, then a mid-morning snack could be offered at 10am and then lunch at 12pm.
- Keep it simple! Having about 2-3 food groups within each snack helps contribute to a balanced diet.
- Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. This can help children (and adults) reach their goal of fruits and vegetables for the day.
- Limit distractions during snack times – avoid watching TV, computer, or playing while snacking. This will help you eat just enough to satisfy your hunger, instead of mindlessly munching.
- If planning a summer adventure or traveling, you can pack a few healthy snacks for each day for the whole family to enjoy. You’ll feel better about what your family is eating and can save money, too.
Healthy snacks to keep in pantry/fridge:
- Fruits: Keeping applesauce, mixed fruit, or whole fruit such as peaches, pears, bananas, or apples on hand, allows your child to have healthy options, but also gives them the opportunity to try new fruit.
- Low-Fat Dairy options: Keep a container of cottage cheese in the fridge to snack on with some fruit. It pairs nicely with pineapple. Other good dairy foods – yogurt, a glass of milk, or low-fat string cheeses.
- Hard-boiled eggs also make a great easy snack. Prepare them ahead of time on a Saturday or Sunday evening and then you will have enough for the week! Just remember moderation- aim for no more than 7 whole eggs per week per person.
- Make homemade trail mix using a variety of whole grain cereals, dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, and/or granola. Make it fun – let the kids help measure and mix!
- Keep whole grain crackers and graham crackers on hand. These are great to combine with other snack foods such as a slice of low-fat cheese or dipping in hummus or peanut butter.
- Hummus is a great source of protein because it is made out of beans. Try dipping fresh vegetables such as snap peas, carrots, or celery in hummus for a tasty snack!
- Mix plain yogurt and peanut butter to make a delicious dip that everyone will love. Dip apples, celery, or other fruit into your yogurt/peanut butter mixture.
So remember, snack time can be fun and healthy!
- Plan 2-3 snacks per day
- Aim for 2-3 food groups within each snack
- Keep it simple
Enjoy successful snacking!
For more healthy snack ideas visit: www.eatright.org/kids