Healthy Snacks For Children
Children need snacks to refuel during the day and keep them going between meals. One healthy snack mid morning and another during the afternoon should be plenty to keep them happy, avoiding the grizzly behaviour that is typical when a child is running on empty!
Very young children have a small stomach capacity that makes it impossible to get enough nutrition and calories from just three meals a day, so snacks keep hunger at bay and help them to get the additional calories they need from their diet.
Right through childhood, children benefit from having access to healthy snacks and this can be particularly important during their long school day when a quick refuel can help to improve concentration and behaviour.
Making The Right Choices
Providing the snack choices are healthy ones, which are scheduled in a consistent way so that meal times are not disrupted, there should be no issues with snacking leading to excessive weight gain, or refusal to eat at mealtimes. Snacks should always be spaced well between meals to ensure that children have a healthy appetite when they sit down to eat their breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Sugar loaded treats and junk food with a high fat content should be avoided where possible because they offer a high intake of calories but usually leave your child feeling hungry for more.
Grabbing food when you are on the go can make it tricky to find the right types of snacks for your growing child, but there are so many fun snacks that you can rustle up with minimum effort at home.
Healthy Homemade Snacks:
This healthy wholegrain packed with fibre and immune enhancing nutrients can be presented to your children in multiple ways but what could be more appealing than some delicious homemade oatmeal cookies?
Look for healthy recipes that are low in fat and sugar, then add extra visual appeal, nutrition and flavour by adding your child’s favourite dried fruits and nuts to the mix before baking.
Cheese is a great option as its high in protein and helps children to maintain their energy levels in between meals. Make it more fun by cutting it into cubes and turning it into colourful kebabs combined with fruit. Pineapple and grapes are a great choice… Another fun way to jazz up cheese and make it more appealing to children is to cut it into fun shapes using small cookie cutters.
Muffins provide an ideal disguise for all kinds of vegetables that your child might not otherwise choose to eat. Carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato and courgette are just a few of the vegetables that can be grated and blended into a muffin mix, making the most incredibly moist, delicious muffins that children will love. Search online and you will find plenty of ideas and muffin recipes.
Your child will have no idea that this delicious treat contains vegetables unless you tell them!
A fantastic high protein snack that is so versatile. Boiled eggs will remain fresh in the fridge for 1 week, providing you with a convenient snack option for at home or on the run.
Homemade dips are a hit with kids and can be enjoyed with breadsticks, carrot sticks, sticks of celery or any other dipping implement your child will enjoy eating!
A plain guacamole dip without the chilli is a great choice as avocado is loaded with tons of wonderful nutrients and rich in folate, fibre, potassium and vitamins. The creamy, smooth consistency of avocado appeals to lots of children. Homemade hummus is another tasty option. It takes just minutes in a blender and packed with iron, folate and vitamin B6 this dip is a popular and healthy choice for hungry little tummies!
Follow a recipe or use your imagination. Smoothies are a great way to fill your kids with plenty of nutritional fruits and vegetables. This is a great one to get the kids involved with as they will love choosing the different ingredients and watching the colour as it emerges when you flick the switch!
Remember To Hydrate
It is very easy for children to confuse their thirst with hunger so it is important to offer plenty of water, milk and fruit juice during the day to keep them hydrated and avoid them snacking unnecessarily.
Promote Healthy Eating
Discourage unhealthy eating habits by keeping the junk out of the house and offering your child plenty of fun and nutritious alternatives. Planned, healthy snacks will help your child to grow happily and healthily, whilst maintaining a balanced weight.
I hope that the child friendly suggestions above have inspired you to make your snack times more fun! We’ve got lots more blogs for parents. Why not take a look at this one from a while back about why kids getting mucky is no bad thing.