Children need to eat more than just 3 meals a day, mostly young children, due to their fast metabolism. Kids love to snack on sugary snacks, and while cookies, fruit roll ups, and chocolate can be great occasional treats, it’s important to find balance and find treats that contribute to a child’s overall development and growth. Kids look up to adults as role models and no different when it comes to eating habits. To encourage children to make healthy eating choices, parents and caregivers should make an effort to eat the same snacks.
Families and nannies often do their meal prep ahead of time and the same should be done for healthy snacks. The Canadian Food Guide recommends that children have a mix of grain products, dairy products, fruit and vegetables, and meat and alternatives. How can we make the most of snack time so children can meet these dietary goals?
To help, this article we’ll provide a multitude of fun and healthy snack suggestions. In addition, to further encourage healthy snacking we are pleased to announce The Snack Break Family Box Giveaway!
Healthy Snack Ideas For Kids
Whole grain cereals - Kids love these with or without milk which makes it great for at home or on the go. To boost the nutritional value but keep this snack tasting great, try adding blueberries, strawberries or other fruit on top. The best part of choosing whole grain cereal as a snack is that it can be easily packed up for school and lunches.
Multigrain chips - It is wonderful how many healthy chip options are available on the shelves now. Many of them are gluten free as well. With so many options there is really no reason to serve children potato chips and Cheetos.
Healthy muffins - Try to have children eat blueberry and nut muffins rather than chocolate muffins.
Granola bars - Always try for brands of granola bars that are lower in sugar. It can be hard to tell as a parent or nanny which bars are truly healthy and which bars are not. Here is a list that may help: The 15 Granola Bars That Are Actually Healthy
Trail Mix - Most grocery stores provide bulk food. There are usually lots of trail mix options that come in bulk or you can you can also go from bin to bin and make your own mix.
Milk and Dairy Products
Smoothies - There are lots of different things you can add to a smoothie. The variety is limitless. Using yogurt and milk as the base can provide the calcium those young bones.
Greek or regular plain yogurt - Eating yogurt is one of the best ways to consume the healthy bacteria beneficial to the gut known as probiotics. Probiotics are effective in regulating a child’s digestive system and decreasing the changes of gas, diarrhea, constipation and bloating.
There are so many different snacks you can make from yogurt. Putting a popsicle stick at the top of a yogurt cup and freezing it can make a wonderful summertime snack. Making a yogurt parfait with fruit and nuts. Try to stay away from yogurts with “fruit added” or yogurt tubes as many are filled with sugar.
Cheese - Sometimes children find some cheeses too strong in taste. Mixing different cheeses with fruit/ vegetable or crackers can allow children the benefit of this wonderful calcium source. Cheese strings are also a healthy snack. A cheese string becomes stretchy because it has been cooked at very high temperature.
Meat and Meat Alternatives
Eggs - not just a breakfast food that can be served all day. Hard boiled eggs can make a perfect protein snack. If a whole boiled egg is too much try slicing it and putting on a cracker
Hummus - a great snack for caregivers that are looking for meat alternatives. Hummus can be found in most grocery stores and there are usually many different varieties
Sliced meats - high-quality deli meats can be a wonderful source of iron and protein for children. Ham, turkey, and chicken are normally a child’s favourite. Making them into a creative roll-up can make deli meats funnier to eat.
Nuts - perfect when you are going out an adventure and kids needs something to give them energy. Trail mix can almost be found in every grocery store in the bulk food section
Peanut Butter (and other nut butter) - a celery stick boat with peanut butter and nuts on top can be fun snack.
Simply loading a few celery sticks with a serving of any nut butter (like almond, cashew, walnut) topped with a few whole almonds or raisins.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and Veggies are the easiest snacks for kids.
Teaching children to love raw fruit and vegetable is so important because they are super healthy, fast and easy to prepare. Cutting them up into bite size pieces is best. Try to avoid dips because they can be added salt, sugars and empty calories that kids don’t need.
How to get kids to eat healthy snacks
Young children love to help with meal prep. Involve them in the making of snacks.
Children can help with
- washing fruit and vegetables
- chopping, grating, peeling, stirring
- setting the table, serving, cleaning up afterwards
Also try to find a way to have children involved in the decision making when it comes to snacks.
Try discussing the following with your children
- the food our bodies need to grow
- foods that make us feel strong and healthy
- help make decisions about what foods to buy and what snacks to prepare
What about sweets?
It is expected that a child will want to have a sugary snack. Every once in a while this is ok but nannies and parents should avoid calling them treats and should never use them as a reward for good behaviour.
Snack Break Family Box Giveaway
We’ve teamed up with Snack Break to give you a chance to win healthy snacks!
Snack Break’s Family Box makes it easy for you and your kids to pick healthy, all-natural, organic treats on-the-go. From Barnana chewy banana bite, IronKids all-natural snack bar, or the Smart Cookie with sprouted whole grain spelt flour, you get great tasting snacks that the whole family will love and won’t be able to find at most grocery stores.
- One Grand Prize Winner will receive 3 months of the Family Snack Box
- Plus Two Winners will each receive 1 month of the Family Snack Box
How to Enter
For your chance to win, follow these 2 simple steps:
- Sign up for Snack Break newsletter
- Like CanadianNanny.ca on Facebook
Must Enter Contest Before Sept 1, 2016 11:59 PM
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