Smart snacking is an important part of a healthy diet because it helps kids get the nutrients they need to keep going throughout the day. However, when you hear the call “I’m hungry!” echo through the house, it is tempting to sacrifice nutrition in the name of quick and easy.
Balance is the key – when putting together snack suggestions, encourage your kids to pair up any two of the four food groups from Eating Healthy with Canada’s Food Guide – like a piece of fruit with cheese, or peanut butter and with whole wheat bread.
My usual pick-me-up mid morning snack is cut up orange slices and some delicious Greek yogurt. I find this healthy snack gives me that extra boost I need until lunch time!
Try to think ahead so you can have quick and easy AND nutritious choices ready on hand. For instance, I try to have my fruit and veggies for snacks washed and cut-up and ready for easy access in my fridge.
Here are some other tips to keep the snack attacks on track:
Variety in food helps make sure that kids get the vitamins and minerals they need, rather than just getting the same vitamins and minerals at each snack.
When offering snacks, try to offer an assortment instead of offering the same snacks day after day.
Healthy snack foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grain crackers, cereals, and bread
- Low fat cheese, milk, and yogurt
- Protein-rich spreads and dips like hummus and peanut butter
Make food fun
Be creative when serving fruits and vegetables to your kids, when kids are interested in foods they are more likely to try them. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Cut fruits in fun shapes using cookie cutters
- Serve fruits or vegetables out of healthy edible bowls, like a carved out pepper or melon
- Make fruit or veggie kabobs using a variety of healthy options
- Freeze 100% fruit juice with fruit chunks to make your own healthy fruit pop
- Dip cut fruit in orange juice or apple juice to stop it from browning and add taste
Get creative for any and all occasions – with Valentine’s Day just around the corner check out these, why not try making these balanced and delicious Strawberry Kisses?
12 Fresh or Frozen strawberries, washed.
1 ½ cup low fat plain or flavored yogurt.
Dip strawberries in yogurt, freeze and slice.
Happy snacking everyone!
Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.