Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Healthy Snacking for Children
Healthy snack choices can provide children with some of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and calories they need for growth, energy, and overall good health. In fact, healthy snacks can satisfy nutrient gaps and provide up to one quarter of a child's daily energy needs. Healthy snacking satisfies hunger between meals, improves concentration, and prevents overeating at mealtime.
Try to keep snack portions small and less than 250 calories. Small portions are especially important for those occasional snacks that contain lots of added sugars and are low in nutritional value.
Serve regular meals and snacks every three to four hours. Allowing adequate time between meals and snacks will ensure that children are not too full to eat their meals. Structured meals and snacks also will keep kids from eating out of boredom. Avoid using food as a reward or as way to calm an upset child to prevent emotional eating later on.
Buying snacks from a vending machine or grabbing a bag of chips or cookies is usually an unhealthy temptation for families on the go. Be prepared by having healthy snacks on hand to make it easier for your child to make smart snack choices.