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Janet V. Johnson, MD
Healthy Snacks For Your Children
Loving Care Pediatrics

Healthy Snacks For Your Children

Healthy Snacks For Your Children

The specific nutritional choices you make as a family are crucial. Healthy nutrition is essential to good health and nutritional decisions are health decisions.

Nutrition is important to a child’s physical and mental development. Choosing healthy snacks that provide nourishing, tasty choices for hungry kids can be a challenge for parents. Providing snacks that don’t bog down, but instead fuel up can teach children the proper way to get energy from their food sources. Parents should stop and consider the reasons for snacking and instead of reaching for candy or heading to the drive-thru try these suggestions.

Snacks serve several purposes for the active child. These include:

  • Energy: providing calories as a form of energy for working muscles during active sports.
  • Hydration: supplying fluids for hydration and to keep the body cool.
  • Recovery: promoting recovery after hard exercise.
  • utrients: providing for proper growth and development.

Snacks should be easily digested to promote blood flow to the muscles and not to the gut in order to digest a heavy snack during exercise. When choosing a snack, pick nutritious options from the following five fuel groups:

  • Vegetables: slice cucumbers, avocado slices, cherry tomatoes
  • Fruit: apples, peaches, pears, bananas
  • Breads and Cereals: air-popped popcorn, whole wheat bread, whole grain chips
  • Dairy: cheese, low-sugar yogurt
  • Lean Proteins: fish, cooked tofu, peanut butter

Stock up on a range of healthy foods at home. It is so much easier to make easy, healthy snacks when you keep a few key items stocked at home. Ideas should include different types of raw vegetables and fruit, yogurt dip, hummus, and cheese sticks.

Remove any distractions. Create mindful eaters who eat when hungry and enjoy the food they eat. Try to stop, sit (no distractions like TV) and eat.

Teach your children how to use simple kitchen equipment to prepare nutritious snacks such as smoothies, pita pizzas or sandwiches.

Avoid processed food and added sugars. They do not contain many nutrients and often have a lot of added sugar and salt. In addition, children may become hungry faster after eating processed foods. Eat a rainbow of colors. Arrange your children’s foods to show the beauty of fresh, brightly colored foods. Talk about the farms where food comes from and the farmers who help grow it.

Providing nutritious snacks is a part of every parent’s job, so choose wisely and help your child succeed on the field, in the classroom and life.

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