A child’s plea for healthy snacks is music to his mom’s ears. Equip yourself with some helpful techniques to steer your youngster away from junk food and toward more wholesome choices, such as fresh fruits, whole-grain crackers and calcium-rich puddings. Treat snacks as opportunities to introduce some extra nutrients while sustaining him until mealtime. Incorporate quick snack food ideas into your routine so that you always have plenty of nutritious bites on hand.
Coordinate snack times so that your child consumes items from at least two food groups. This ensures that he is getting nutrients that will hold him over until mealtime. For example, offer a protein such as hummus, yogurt or milk along with a carbohydrate, like fruit, veggies or pretzels. A bowl of whole-grain cereal and 1 percent milk mixes carbs, protein and calcium. Peanut butter on a graham cracker furnishes a protein with a carbohydrate.
Place healthy food choices right at your youngster’s fingertips. Wash and chop produce so that those items are ready for him to eat anytime his hunger strikes. Buy already-cut baby carrots, celery sticks, and pineapple and watermelon chunks if you don't have the time to cut them up yourself. Stock your refrigerator with individual servings of string cheese, yogurt, applesauce and fat-free ranch dressing for dipping. Designate a bottom shelf for these snacks, along with low-fat milk. Clear some cupboard space for nourishing non-perishables like unsalted pretzels, granola bars and raisins. Then let your children select these items anytime they feel their appetites stirring.
Incorporate some sly methods to prepare snacks without your child sensing that you’ve loaded them with vitamins and minerals. For example, churn her favorite fruit with low-fat milk and ice for a delicious smoothie. Pour some additional ice into your blender so this treat thickens like a shake. Take that same frosty treat to the next level by quietly sprinkling some flax seed, wheat germ or leafy greens like spinach to bolster the nutritional value, or whip some extra protein in by spooning a small amount of cottage cheese into her fruity snack.
It sometimes helps to break free from your snack routine and try new ideas. Smear peanut butter on some rice cakes or toasted whole-grain waffles instead of using ordinary bread. Spear sliced melons, berries and grapes on skewers for kabobs with a side dish of yogurt for dipping. Turn everyday yogurt into a parfait by spooning layers of granola crumbs, fresh berries and yogurt into a clear glass. Create a healthier substitute to frozen pizza by adding a dollop of tomato sauce and melted cheese to a toasted whole-grain bagel.
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