3 Keys to Improving Your Children's Snacks and Making Them Healthier

With the tips we're going to give you today, you'll be able to improve your children's snacks in order to cover their nutritional requirements and guarantee proper growth.
3 Keys to Improving Your Children's Snacks and Making Them Healthier
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 07 November, 2022

Improving your children’s snacks to make them healthy isn’t always easy. However, it’s important to optimize this afternoon meal in the children’s diet, as it runs the risk of not being of good quality. At this time of the day, a large amount of industrial ultra-processed foods are usually consumed, which are foods that contain simple sugars and trans fats. In this article, we’ll tell you some keys to improve them.

Before beginning, we have to mention that simple carbohydrates can appear occasionally in the diet, but they shouldn’t be consumed on a frequent basis. Otherwise, the state of inflammation in the internal environment could become unbalanced and lead to complex diseases. This happens especially when not enough physical exercise is performed.

Keys to improving snacks

Here, we’ll show you a series of keys that you have to take into account to improve snacks and thus achieve an optimal nutrient intake. Keep in mind that an adequate diet must be combined with other lifestyle habits, such as sports, in order to maintain health in the medium term.

A little girl eating yogurt.
Dairy products provide the necessary nutrients to promote the growth and development of children. Therefore, it’s good to include milk, yogurt, or cheese in your children’s snacks.

1. Always choose a protein source

Including good quality protein of high biological value in your children’s snacks is crucial to ensure that the processes of development and growth are carried out efficiently. According to a study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, it’s important to ensure the presence of at least 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day in the diet of young children. This dose will be increased even if the amount of physical exercise is high.

One of the best sources of protein to consume at snack time is dairy products. Yogurts as well as milk and cheese will provide nutrients of high biological value, which contain all the essential amino acids and an excellent score in terms of digestibility. Now, they can be complemented with other alternatives of vegetable origin, as is the case of nuts.

2. Avoid ultra-processed foods

Most ultra-processed foods contain excessive trans fats and simple sugars. These lipids have been shown to trigger an inflammatory response that can damage the functioning of human physiology. Fats are good, but only when they come from high-quality fresh produce.

With certain edibles, such as sausages, you also need to be careful. Although they’re a source of protein, they may contain food additives inside, such as nitrites and sulfites. These types of preservatives have been linked to an increased risk of developing tumors associated with the digestive tract, especially when they appear in the diet on a regular basis.

A mother feeding her young daughter a sprinkled donut.
Ultra-processed foods contain trans fats and high amounts of sugar, so it’s best to reduce their consumption or avoid them. Rather, you should include a portion of some fruit.

3. Don’t forget the vegetables

Nutrition experts recommend the presence of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet. These are a source of essential micronutrients and high-quality phytochemicals needed to achieve homeostasis in the internal environment. Snack time is an excellent opportunity to consume one of these servings to meet the requirements of each day. However, for reasons of practicality, it’s best to eat fruit at this time.

Improve your children’s snacks and make them healthy with these tips

With the tips that we’ve just given you, you will significantly improve your children’s snacks and they’ll acquire a series of healthier habits. Achieving a sufficient nutritional intake will be crucial in order to stimulate the processes of development and growth, in addition to avoiding the genesis of chronic diseases that may affect their welfare over the years.

Finally, keep in mind that these tips should be complemented with other good routines outside the food itself. In this regard, it will make a big difference if little ones do physical exercise on a regular basis. Above all, it’s important to emphasize strength work in order to increase maximum bone mineral density. This will greatly reduce the incidence of osteoporosis in the future and even better control inflammation in the internal environment.

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  • Richter M, Baerlocher K, Bauer JM, et al. Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Protein. Ann Nutr Metab. 2019;74(3):242-250. doi:10.1159/000499374
  • Oteng AB, Kersten S. Mechanisms of Action of trans Fatty Acids. Adv Nutr. 2020;11(3):697-708. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz125

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