Snacks help children get nutrients for healthy weight gain and growth. Parents must make it a point that kids have healthy eating habits and satisfy their hunger.
Kids these days are surrounded by TV commercials promoting junk food; it is a challenge for parents to make their kids eat well to get all the nutrients required for growth and development. Parents should be a role model to kids by choosing healthy foods and make kids involve in shopping for groceries and preparing meals to some extent. Parents must encourage kids to choose healthy meal and snacks by making them available at home. Here are some tips for parents to include healthy food items in kids menu.
Snack tips for kids
Add vegetables: Slice vegetables and serve with dips such as hummus, tapenade, avocado dips etc to make veggies interesting. Cheese toast with low fat cheese and finely chopped veggies, whole-wheat muffin, wraps with pasta sauce are best option to include vegetables in diet.
Mix it up: Mix dry fruits, unsalted nuts, popcorn and make a bar, as it is easy to eat during school break. Other alternative is blending low fat yogurt with fruits or fruit juice for a smoothie.
Milk: Give a glass of semi-skimmed milk or make a milkshake with unsweetened cocoa powder and seasoned fruits for good taste and better nutrition.
Whole grains: Instead of all purpose flour (wheat bread) use whole grain or multigrain bread, popcorn, oats. As they are high fiber and low in sugar, salt and fats. Feed snack bars, cake, sweetened cereals in moderation.
Choose lean protein: Lean protein such as eggs, unsalted nuts, poultry etc as a healthy snack instead of junk food.
Portion size: It is important to keep an eye on portion size, as snacks should not replace meals. Give snack size portion so kids do not miss meals.
Fruits: Fresh, dried, frozen fruits are better than juice. Opt for whole fruits for lunch box or as after school snack, add roasted flax seeds or sunflower seeds for taste and flavor.
Swap out sugar: Keep healthy foods in handy; avoid cookies, cakes, pastries, candy, bakery items or calorie dense foods between meals. Avoid soft drinks or fruit-flavored water instead choose milk or buttermilk.
Prefer homemade food: Make sweets at home with dry fruits like apricots, raisins, dates or nuts to reduce the amount of sugar. Make homemade juices and snacks to avoid food poisoning and stomach upset, as kid’s gastrointestinal tract is very sensitive.