Kids Eat Right Month (Week 4)

August 27, 2020

This month, this column has been encouraging healthier eating for children and their families in celebration of Kids Eat Right Month. This week, let’s turn our attention to snacks. Snacks don’t have to be dull and boring. The Mayo Clinic offers the following 10 child-friendly tips to healthy snacks for kids1:

1. Keep junk food out of the house. Your child won’t clamor as much for cookies, candy bars or chips if they aren’t around. Save desserts for special occasions rather than daily treats. Set a good example by eating healthy snacks – your child might follow suit.

2. Power up with protein. Protein will help your child feel fuller, longer. Stock your refrigerator with hard-boiled eggs, deli meat and cooked chicken tenders or drumsticks. Serve up a steaming bowl of ramen noodles. For kids without nut allergies, offer nuts and nut butters.

3. Go for the grain. Whole-grain foods such as whole-grain pretzels or tortillas and high-fiber, wholegrain cereals, provide energy with some staying power. Pair whole-wheat bread with a slice of cheese, deli meat or hummus for a satisfying snack.

4. Broaden the menu. Offer a rainbow of fruits and veggies, such as avocado, pineapple, cranberries, red and yellow peppers or mangoes.

5. Revisit breakfast. Serve breakfast foods as afternoon snacks. Offer dried cereal mixed with fruit and nuts.

6. Sweeten it up. Satisfy your child’s sweet tooth with low-fat puddings, frozen yogurt or frozen fruit bars. Serve smoothies made with milk, plain yogurt and fresh or frozen fruit.

7. Have fun. Use a cookie cutter to make shapes out of low-fat cheese slices and whole grain bread. Skewer fruit kebabs or show your child how to eat dried fruit with chopsticks.

8. Promote independence. Keep a selection of ready-to-eat veggies in the refrigerator. Leave fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter. Store low-sugar, whole grain cereal in an easily accessible cabinet.

9. Don’t be fooled by labeling gimmicks. Foods labeled as low-fat or fat-free can pack plenty of calories and sodium. Check nutrition labels to find out the whole story and make a smart snack choice.

10. Designate a snacking zone. Only allow snacking in certain areas, such as the kitchen and avoid serving snacks during screen time. For snacks on the go, offer a banana, string cheese, yogurt sticks, cereal bars, carrot sticks or other less messy foods.

Beloved, the Mayo Clinic notes that when you teach your child to make healthy snack choices now, it will help set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating!

1 Mayo Clinic Staff, Healthy Snacks for Kids: 10 Child Friendly Tips, March 2017.

Next Week: Series Conclusion

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