Is eating better one of your family’s new year’s resolutions? Check out these healthy snacks below for every age group. When you offer the right snacks, and at the right times, snacks can play an important role in managing kids’ hunger and improving nutrition.
Toddlers – may not eat as much in one sitting and often get hungry before the next meal. They may need to eat five or six times a day — three meals and two to three snacks. Remember: don’t use sweets to reward good behavior. Try these snacks:
- cut-up fruit (keep pieces soft and small enough to avoid choking)
- graham crackers
- cut, small cheese slices
- low-sugar, whole-grain breakfast cereals
Preschoolers – are just learning to label their feelings. The commonly used “I’m hungry” at this age, could just mean they’re tired or in need of some attention. Figure out what your child really needs. Some may still need three meals and two snacks a day — usually one mid-morning and one after school. Try these snacks:
- cut-up fruit or applesauce
- sliced veggies
- whole-grain crackers topped with cheese
School-age kids: are busier and a little more independent. Some may still need three meals and two snacks per day — usually one mid-morning and one after school. The morning snack could become unnecessary depending on lunchtime at school. Try these snacks:
- low-sugar, whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk
- low-fat string cheese
- fruit smoothies made with low-fat milk or yogurt
- whole-wheat pita slices, cut-up veggies, and hummus
- whole-grain pretzels
- fruit slices dipped in low-fat flavored yogurt
- nuts and raisins
Teens – might still need a snack or two during the day. You can’t monitor what your teen eats, but you can encourage healthy snacking by keeping nutritious foods at home, that your teen is likely to take along. Try these snacks:
- rice cakes with peanut butter and raisins
- fresh or dried fruit
- veggie sticks with low-fat ranch dip or hummus
- low-fat granola bars
- air-popped popcorn
- trail mix
- hard-boiled eggs
For more tips on healthy eating, please click here: http://www.choc.org/publications/index.cfm?id=P00303&pub=KH&aid=449
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