It’s no secret that kids like to eat. They love to eat junk food and they look forward to their next snack like we look forward to our next paycheck. As a parent, you can help your child make healthy snack choices and gain valuable nutrition skills to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
The best part is, snacks are a good thing and you don’t have to cut them out completely. It’s important for kids to eat something every few hours to keep up their energy and fire up their metabolism to keep them at a healthy weight.
Kid’s love to dip things. Take advantage of this by offering carrots with ranch dip, celery with peanut butter, or fruit with yogurt dip.
Use reduced-fat, fat-free and light versions of products you already use. This works especially well with prepackaged food on the run like pudding, Jell-O and applesauce cups. (Save the plastic applesauce cups and fill them with healthy snacks such as pretzels and grapes. The small cups will be easy and quick to fix, and a convenient “grab and go” item for your kids when they feel like snacking!)
Look for 100-calorie snack packs. These are also good choices for days when you are on the go. It’s an easy way to minimize the damage done by overdoing it on snack calories.
Watch portion sizes. Read how many servings are in a bag of chips; your child may be eating 2-3 portions without even realizing it.
Read labels carefully. A healthy snack should have less than 3 grams of fat per 100 calories.
Offer fresh foods verses prepackaged foods whenever possible to get more vitamins and minerals and avoid taking in unnecessary ingredients, fats and toxins.
Allow your child access to healthy foods and give them the power to choose.
It’s not all or nothing. Simply swap poor choices for better ones. Differentiate between snacks and treats and allow the occasional treat.
Cut out the Sugar. Minimize your child’s sugar intake by diluting fruit juices.
Push the water! Make sure your children are drinking lots of water. Kids who consume fruit juices are taking in too much sugar, and those who drink sodas can become dehydrated very easily.
Supervise! Make sure you know what your children are eating. Sit down with your child and come up with a list of “approved” snacks.
Graham crackers with peanut butter for cookies.
Frozen graham cracker and cool whip sandwiches for ice cream sandwich.
Granola bar with chocolate chips for a candy bar.
Cheerios for sugar cereals.
Yellow corn chips and salsa for chips and dip.
No sugar added frozen fudge pop for a Popsicle.
Fresh grapes for fruit snacks.