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Healthy Snacks for Children

Because children have smaller stomachs than adults, they need to eat more often to meet their needs for optimum growth and development. Between-meal snacks are an important way for your child to meet part of his or her daily nutritional requirements. After-school snacking provides about one-third of most children’s total daily calories during the week, according to Iowa State University Extension.

Involve your children in preparing their own healthy snacks. Photo Credit snacks image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com

Involve your children in preparing their own healthy snacks. Photo Credit snacks image by Albert Lozano from Fotolia.com

Variety

Healthy low-sugar snacks for your child can be found within the all of the food groups. This includes grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans. Vary the color and texture of snacks to hold your child’s interest while helping to meet his or her nutritional needs.

Considerations

In addition to limiting sugar intake, healthy low-sugar snacks should be high in fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C. Healthy low-sugar snacks should have less than 10 to 15g of sugar per serving. They should also have less than 10 percent of the Daily Value for total fat and sodium.

Choices

Healthy low-sugar snacks for children include fresh sliced fruits; fruits packed in their own juice,; fresh cut vegetables with low-fat dip; low-fat cottage cheese; low-fat string cheese or sliced cheese; popcorn; low-sugar cereals, such as toasted oats; whole-grain breads; animal crackers; graham crackers; low-fat granola; unsalted nuts and seeds; and low fat milk. Combine these foods to create delicious snacks such as trail mix, individual pizzas and low-fat smoothies.

Reheat small servings of leftovers from the night before to provide a healthy snack for your child. Healthy low-sugar snacks can still taste sweet. Offer frozen fruit bars, low-fat fruit yogurt or dried fruits, such as raisins, dried apples, apricots, pineapple or cranberries. To set a good example and avoid temptation, keep high-sugar snack foods out of the house.

Please share your comments, questions, and in particular, suggestions for future posts.

Bon Apetit!

 

27 Responses to Healthy Snacks for Children

  • andleeb says:

    Hello Michele
    This is an amazing post for me, I have a 4 years old daughter and I always try to give her healthy food as she is not that good in eating and I try different tricks to bring her to food. I think these tips also apply to adults. Thanks for sharing.

  • Your tips are great Michele. Good nutrition is vital for health. It’s nice to see a healthier variety of pre-packaged snacks in the produce sections. When my kids were little, the stores only carried small boxes of raisins.

    • Yes, it’s true that there is a much broader variety of healthy pre-packaged snack foods on the shelves. I may cover this as a separate topic in a future post. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Pamela!

  • tuhinmech says:

    Now this is a very informative post. I often find parents who are not fully aware of the perfect nutritious meal for their kids.
    Articles like this need to be shared.
    Thank you

  • Great idea Michele, I love my occasional snacks and these are good choices. Nutrition education is needed in families.

  • Andy says:

    As hokey as this may sound, I think it’s good for the soul to go through a bag of prunes from time to time.

  • Luckily, my husband and I are health nuts! One of my kids is a vegetarian and the other one obsessed with her weight, so we eat very well. I am glad I have never had to worry about either of my girls eating a ton of junk food! Nice suggestions and thanks for sharing them with us.

  • Tim says:

    As a child we would take to lunch some crazy sweet sandwiches; chocolate sprinkles on white bread, brown sugar sandwiches. They still sound good. At home though there was no candy as such, no cookies, no cake. Kids today are in desperate need of healthy snacks as life for them seems to have become far more sedentary than in my day.

    • Those do sound like some crazy lunches, Tim. It is interesting to note that here in The States, food insecurity is at an all time high and yet with government issued food stamps, people are allowed to buy anything that is considered food. This includes high sugar, high fat, (empty calorie snacks,) which are often less expensive than healthy choices like fresh fruit, for example. Because these items are less expensive, I believe they are also chosen as a way to stretch the monthly allowance given to buy food.

  • Ken Dowell says:

    I grew up in a house where there just weren’t any sugary snacks around. No soda, no candy and rarely any cake or cookies. Have tried to do the same things with my children. I’m fortunate that my son east just about everything, but I can see this is a bigger problem for people who have children who are very picky eaters.

    • I appreciate your point about picky eaters, Ken. Depending on the age of the children, younger children can be encouraged to enjoy healthy snacks by preparing the snacks together with a parent or care giver. Involving the children with hands-on preparation of the snack, and encouraging their creativity it can help open them to experimentation with different kinds of snacks. With older children, planning ahead, making a list of healthy snacks, shopping together, substituting certain ingredients for healthier ones, whenever possible…these things can help.

  • Great ideas, Michele. A famous chef in Britain suggested there should be a tax on sugar, just as on tobacco and alcohol. All over the world obesity amongst children is increasing.

    • Interesting comment about placing a tax on sugar, Catarina, although the obesity issue is also strongly related to lack of physical exercise. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  • ramonamckean says:

    I have little grandchildren and have enjoyed your great suggestions, Michele.

  • With the rates of childhood obesity skyrocketing this is a timely and relevant post. It seems a lot of parents take the easy way out and just give their kids cookies candy, soda or whatever sweet treat they may be whining for at the moment instead of taking a moment to consider alternatives. Great healthy tips.

    • Nutrition education, on many levels, is needed by families. That being said, the obesity issue is also strongly related to lack of physical exercise. Nutrition education is a key piece, but only one piece, of healthy life coaching. Thank you for your comment, Susan

  • lenie5860 says:

    Hi Michele, one thing that my grandchildren love are things made with flavoured yogurt – popsicles, smoothies, etc.

  • Beth Niebuhr says:

    Yum! They all sound good. My children are long ago grown up but I do have an occasional snack and these would be good choices.

  • jacquiegum says:

    I think I’d like most of these healthy snacks myself!

  • Donna Janke says:

    Good ideas for healthy snacks for children. Most could apply to us adults as well.

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