Healthy Afternoon Snacks for Children: Tips and Ideas
It’s not always easy to provide healthy afternoon snacks for children. This is because they usually contain ultra-processed food with high amounts of sugar, which is harmful to their health.
For this reason, it’s very important to give your kids healthy, nutrient-rich foods. As a result, they’ll consume all the vitamins and minerals they need, which will promote their overall development.
Afternoon snacks for children must include vegetables
A very common mistake in children’s snacks is to avoid vegetables. According to a research from the International Journal of Epidemiology, eating fruits and vegetables on a regular basis can prevent the development of complicated diseases.
This type of food includes high amounts of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, which are very good for our children’s health. However, these ingredients are usually left out of afternoon snacks.
To solve this problem, you could include avocado, guacamole, nuts or fruits in your children’s afternoon snacks. In fact, you should alternate them, so children get a variety of these healthy ingredients in their diet.
Another valuable tip to follow is to eat the whole fruit. This is because, when you prepare juices or smoothies, you lose a lot of fiber from the fruits. Thus, the best thing you can do to make good use of its nutritional value is to eat the whole fruit.
Afternoon snacks should include proteins
Ultra-processed foods usually lack good-quality proteins. These proteins contain essential amino acids and good levels of digestibility. In addition, they’re necessary for the correct development of organs and tissues in the human body.
According to a study from the magazine Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, children need at least 1.5 grams of protein per 2.2 pounds of their body weight.
To meet these requirements, you can add nuts and dairy products to their snacks. In fact, once in a while, you could even include cold cuts to their afternoon snacks.
However, if you do this, they must be high quality cold cuts, which don’t contain nitrates. You can check the labels to obtain this information.
Children should always drink water with their healthy snacks
As we’ve mentioned before, children should eat the whole fruit, and not just drink the juice. In addition, they shouldn’t drink sodas, because of the high amount of sugar in them. Actually, sodas can produce a negative effect on metabolism and the pancreas functions.
Even though full-fat milk can be a good choice because of its nutritional density, mineral water will always be the best choice to be fully hydrated.
It’s important to prevent children from getting used to drinking sodas from an early age. If you teach them to follow a healthy diet at an early age, they’ll continue doing it throughout their lives.
Examples of healthy afternoon snacks
The following are some examples of healthy snacks you can offer your children:
- 80% dark chocolate with nuts and blueberries.
- Full-fat yogurt with oatmeal, nuts and pineapple slices.
- Whole fruit and 2 rice cakes with peanut butter.
Healthy snacks are essential in every child’s diet
It’s very important to provide children a healthy and balanced diet. Otherwise, there’s risk of consuming unhealthy substances, like sugar, additives and trans fats. Furthermore, try to avoid ultra-processed products and give them fresh foods.
Finally, remember that children need to practice sports every day. This way, you’ll make sure their organs and tissues will develop healthily.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Aune D, Giovannucci E, Boffetta P, Fadnes LT, Keum N, Norat T, Greenwood DC, Riboli E, Vatten LJ, Tonstad S. Fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality-a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Int J Epidemiol. 2017 Jun 1;46(3):1029-1056. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw319. PMID: 28338764; PMCID: PMC5837313.
- Richter M, Baerlocher K, Bauer JM, Elmadfa I, Heseker H, Leschik-Bonnet E, Stangl G, Volkert D, Stehle P; on behalf of the German Nutrition Society (DGE). Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Protein. Ann Nutr Metab. 2019;74(3):242-250. doi: 10.1159/000499374. Epub 2019 Mar 22. PMID: 30904906; PMCID: PMC6492513.