During the summer, many of our children will be home all day to fend for themselves for meals and snacks. Keeping the right foods on hand, cut up and ready to go will make it easier for them to choose healthy snacks and avoid junk foods that are full of empty calories.
A well-balanced snack contains a combination of fiber-rich carbohydrates and protein. Fiber from whole grains, vegetables and fruits can provide your child with lasting energy while protein can promote a greater feeling of fullness, keeping hunger at bay. Everyone enjoys snacking, but choosing the right kind of snack is important because it can make up nutrients that your child may have missed at mealtime.
Just as a healthy meal takes planning, planning for snacks is important too. Snacks can play an important role in making healthy food choices by keeping your child from getting too hungry between meals. Encourage your child to anticipate snack times and remind them to eat snacks slowly and mindfully, paying attention to the amount of food being eaten, how full they are feeling and how the food tastes.
Try some of these healthy snack choices.
- Spread peanut butter on half of a small whole-grain bagel and top with raisins.
- Crunch on raw veggies with dip made from low-fat yogurt or sour cream, seasoned with dried vegetables or onion soup mix.
- Get a great-tasting calcium boost by snacking on lower fat cheeses such as part-skim mozzarella or string cheese. Add whole-wheat crackers and a piece of fruit for more balance.
- Munch on a yogurt sundae; sprinkle fruit-flavored yogurt with low-fat granola or crunchy nugget-type cereal. Add blueberries, sliced strawberries and/or bananas.
- Spread peanut butter on a banana.
- Make a mini-sandwich with lean meats, such as turkey, ham or roast beef. Add mustard, sliced tomato, lettuce and green pepper for a super sub. Wash it down with a glass of low-fat milk.
- Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk.
Remember to choose wisely. Healthy snacks can be delicious and fun to eat.
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