When you search for a healthy snack for your kid, it may seem to you like finding a needle in a haystack. Finding a snack that is healthy and good for your kid is not an easy job. However, according to experts, there are a few simple tricks that can help the parents in sorting through the hype. Most of the snack marketed for kids are loaded with fat and sugar and so it is important for you to read the labels before buying any snack for your kids.
As per experts, snacking is the right time when supplements can be included in a kid’s diet while calming down the hunger pangs that can show up in between meals. This is the perfect time when you can give your kids the things they have missed during meals without being repetitive. For example, if you have given your kids, cereal and milk for breakfast then you can give a fruit during snack time. If your kid does not want to consume fruit then there are other ways to find a healthy snack.
Did you know that snack foods are the source of an artery-clogging fat in both children’s diet and adult diet? This artery-clogging fat is known as trans-fat and it increases bad cholesterol thereby increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease. You must check the list of ingredients and check for the words ‘partially hydrogenated oil’. According to a few experts, there is no safe limit of consuming such fat and it should be consumed as less as possible.
Decode fruit snacks:
Some of the foods marketed for kids either claims to be made up of real fruits or aim to provide the nutritional benefits that of a fruit. However, such foods have no nutritional value as they are mostly made up of sugary corn syrup and fruit juice. You must check out the food label and see if vitamins and minerals can be obtained from the product. As per experts, foods with 10% or more recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamins and minerals are a good source of nutrients.
Relax food ties:
You can try to maintain the strict nutritional guideline for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while, providing some room for snacks. If you are too strict with the snacks then your child may even go out and eat more bad stuff. Give your kids little of what they like and you will have better luck of getting them to eat healthy snacks the rest of the time.
Mixing is key:
The main problem in children’s snack is eating too much of the same thing such as cookies and crackers. A healthy snack must be comprised of foods from two food groups such as protein and carbohydrates. This will ensure that your kid is consuming enough nutrients and it is also more filling to keep them away from junk food before the next meal.
Think out of cookie jar:
What comes to your mind when you think of ‘snack’? chips, cookies, pastries? Then think again. Snack food does not have to be sweet nor does it have to be a traditional snack item. When you watch portion sizes then any food can be considered a snack.
Some of the kid-friendly snacks include:
- Meat or peanut butter sandwiches
- Fruit smoothie made with yoghurt, juice and fruits.
- Sliced up tomato with mozzarella cheese.
- Cereal with milk.
- Banana slices coated with peanut butter.
- Hard-boiled egg with whole-wheat bread.
- Popcorn with grated parmesan cheese.
Just by adding skim milk to cereal and cookies or by adding peanut butter to crackers and fruit, you can ensure that calcium is also consumed. Preference must only be given to high-fibre carbohydrates (whole-grain bread and woven-wheat cereals) over refined carbohydrates (saltines and white bread).
Importance over portion sizes:
Not maintaining portion size is an important pitfall of snacking. Pre-portion the snacking items in small containers that usually comes in a large bag or you can also put a snack-sized serving on a plate. Carbohydrates are not entirely bad and parents must limit the amount consumed through cookies, candy and pasta. Everything can be part of the diet provided that you are controlling the portion. It is also important to look for foods that consist of low-level of fat, trans fat and saturated fat.
Snacking is not a bad thing, in fact, it can keep your child from overeating at mealtime. Snacking during the day can positively affect the motivation, concentration and mood and it might also help to maintain performance during an exam or presentation in class.