Healthy Snack Options for Children
What are the best healthy snack options for your kids? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Snacks are considered part of the five meals we need to eat in a day. For the little ones, they provide that extra energy boost they need to play sports and do homework.
A good snack should provide enough energy to make it until the next meal. In other words, kids should have a snack between lunch and dinner so they don’t tire out. There are countless snack options on the market, but which are the best for your child?
Currently, childhood obesity is one of the biggest concerns in the European Union. For this reason, measures are being taken to provide access to healthier products, with the aim of preventing the sort of bad dietary habits that can lead to weight gain and, eventually, obesity.
It’s important to follow recommendations regarding which foods to avoid and which will contribute to proper nutrition and dietary habits. So let’s take a look at some healthy snack options for children.
Snacks to avoid
There are snacks that may seem appealing, but don’t align with proper dietary habits. The market is filled with products laden with sugar and saturated fats that are in no way healthy.
These options are designed to save you the time it takes to decide on and prepare a snack for your child. They offer you a pre-packaged, pre-made snack that will supposedly make your life easier.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients contained in these products, so you know why to avoid certain snack options.
- Dairy with added sugar. These products, which include liquid yogurt and shakes, include large amounts of refined sugar, which is harmful to children. Check the labels on these products before buying them.
- Soft drinks. These beverages contain carbonated water, coloring, and sugar, which is why they shouldn’t be included in healthy snacks.
- Fruit juices. Many fruit juices contain added sugar and sweeteners, and the little juice they contain is from concentrate. Therefore, try to avoid them.
- Industrial baked goods. Artisanal baked goods are preferable to those made industrially. Although in recent years large companies have tried to improve their products’ bad reputation by cutting down on additives and saturated fats, homemade options are still better.
“Tell me what you eat and I shall tell you what you are.”
– Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Healthy snack options
Let’s take a look at some foods that will make it easier to choose healthy snack options for your children. They’re not as complicated or expensive as you might think, and they’ll help your little ones develop healthy eating habits.
We’re focusing on healthy snack options that are both fun and varied, making snack time something your kids will look forward to. Remember that although we’re talking about childhood nutrition, these principles can apply to all ages.
- Water. Lots and lots of water. It’s the ideal liquid for accompanying any meal, being the healthiest option while also offering the most benefits.
- Fruit. The World Health Organization recommends eating at least five pieces of fruit per day. The presentation of the fruit is key to making it enticing for young ones. Fruit salads offer a great solution. You can mix sweeter fruits like melon with less sweet fruits like apples. You can also freeze the fruit, then put it in a blender with some yogurt. Creativity is your best ally.
- Nuts. We recommend adding almonds or walnuts to yogurt or fruit salad. However, nuts aren’t a good idea for kids under four, as they present a choking hazard.
- Sandwiches. The most traditional snack. Try to use artisanal bread. Make the sandwich using healthy ingredients like turkey and fresh cheese. The size of the sandwich should be appropriate for the child’s age.
- Yogurt. Choose the best options from your supermarket’s dairy case, namely those that don’t already contain added sugar. Instead of sugar, sweeten it with honey or fruit.
- Homemade baked goods. Try your hand in the kitchen and make your own biscuits. Having control over the ingredients gives you the peace of mind of knowing that they’ll be as healthy as possible.
Finally, your child’s nutrition doesn’t have to be based on enforcing rules. Everything is permitted, so long as it’s in proper proportion. On special occasions, you can enjoy less-healthy options like pastries and soft drinks. It’s good to enjoy little treats every now and then.