Today, families are constantly on the go. It’s easy to rely on prepackaged snack foods such as chips, crackers and cookies for a quick boost of energy between extracurricular activities. While these foods may be convenient, they are not healthy snacks and fall short of the nutritional requirements necessary for growing children.
According to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, many commercially produced snack foods only add extra calories to your diet and lack important vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, zinc, iron and vitamin B6.
A 2014 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention also found that 90 percent of American children consume much more sodium than recommended, with most of the extra sodium coming from foods such as pizza, chicken nuggets and patties, savory snacks and cold cuts.
How can you make sure your children are getting nutrients in their snacks? The following are some tips to remember when planning healthy snacks for your kids:
Find Nutrient-Rich Foods
Your kids’ snacks should include foods rich in vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. Nutritional foods include the following:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Grains, especially whole grains
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
- Seafood, lean poultry and meats, beans, eggs and unsalted nuts
- Small amounts of cholesterol, salt and sugars
Avoid sugary drinks such as soda, chocolate milk and juices. Stick to water and low-fat milk and keep servings of fruit juice to a minimum. Use water enhancers to flavor water, and consider introducing your kids to soy, rice or almond milk to reduce calories.
Trying to eat healthier? See more delicious recipes.
Get Creative at Snack Time
It may be tough to entice your child with healthy snacks such as apple slices or carrot sticks, so make snack time fun by introducing new tastes, textures and colors to your kids’ diets.
Consider these recipes, which are simple to make and easy to take on the go. Plus, you’ll enjoy them, too, so be sure to make enough for everyone.