It’s summer, which means your kids may be home more often and likely snacking more frequently throughout the day. Snacks are good for kids – they can help keep them energized as well as help them eat a variety of foods.
But how can we steer them to healthy snacks without ruining their meals? Here are some tips:
1. Prepare ahead of time
The little bit of extra prep work will go a long way in helping your kids eat healthier snacks:
- Wash and cut fruits and veggies and place in a visible spot on the counter or in the fridge.
- Pre-portion snacks and make them portable. Good options include cheese and crackers, low-fat popcorn, nuts, fruits and veggies.
2. Ensure they’re filling
Snack time is a great time to fill in some nutritional gaps between meals. Foods high and protein and fiber will help them feel fuller longer:
- Snacks high in protein: lunch meat roll-ups, yogurt, boiled eggs, mixed nuts, cottage cheese, string cheese.
- Snacks high in fiber: apples, bananas, bell peppers, grapes, cucumbers, carrots.
- Snacks high in both fiber and protein: fruit and cheese together; peanut butter and celery; yogurt and fruit parfait; trail mix; tuna on crackers; pita pocket with meat or veggies and hummus; popcorn and string cheese; veggies with Greek yogurt; fruit with peanut butter.
3. Limit unhealthy options
Keep the unhealthy snack options out of reach of your kids, or better yet, don’t keep them in your house. Rather, make it an outing to go out for treats like ice cream or buy just enough to enjoy after a meal or as a snack. It is also helpful to allow them to go to the grocery with you to let them pick out healthy options for themselves.
4. Maintain structure
Try to maintain structure around meals and snacks by having a scheduled time for both of them. This may help cut down on the excessive snacking so that they will still eat their meals.
5. Make it fun
Healthy snacks don’t have to be boring or difficult! Here are a few ideas:
- Fruit and yogurt in an ice cream cone
- Ants on a log (celery with peanut butter and raisins)
- Fruit kebobs (sliced fruit on a stick)
- English muffin pizza
- Dip bananas in yogurt and freeze
- Homemade trail mix
- Watermelon pops (freeze watermelon on a stick)
- Frozen grapes
HealthWorks! is a family-based program for children and teens with overweight or obesity conditions, and promotes healthier eating habits and increased physical activities. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 513-636-4305.