Most kids browse all day, enjoying a never-ending snack time. Snacks are suitable for children as it allows them to remain focused on school and homework, offering them the nutrition they need and keep hunger at bay.
A snack can be a bag of chips, some cookies, or some other low-nutrient food for many children and adolescents— think of snacks as mini-meals.
A daily snacking that is unplanned can cause problems. It interacts with the appetites of children and can hinder their normal desire to feel hunger and fullness. Snacks will help children get the energy and nutrients they require when timed correctly.
When should children snack?
Most kids and teens ought to eat between 3 – 4 hours during the day to maintain their growing active bodies and fulfill their regular food schedule.
The following translates into this:
- Younger children require three meals and at least two snacks a day to feed
- Older kids ought to eat three meals and at least one snack a day. They will need two snacks if they are going through a growth spurt or if they are really physically active
Providing snacks a few hours after one meal finishes and between 1 – 2 hours prior to the next meal is a reasonable rule of thumb.
Delaying snacks for a few hours after a meal helps stop children from rejecting food at a meal and asking for more food only after the meal ends as a “snack.”
On the other hand, ending snacking shortly before meals supports a balanced appetite at mealtimes.
Where should children snack?
When at home, assign a particular area as the “eating-only zone” and limit all snacks to that spot. The kitchen table or countertop works well, making it difficult for you to measure what and how much they consume when your kids snack all around the house.
Snacking tips for kids
Below are a few snacking tips for your kids:
Begin with veggies and fruit
Most children require extra fruits as well as veggies, and snack time is a great time to incorporate those healthy foods. It can be easy to serve fruits and vegetables.
Since children seem to be hungry at snack time (after all, they actually took time off from play to ask you to eat!), these foods might be more likely to be approved.
Some fast options are listed here:
- Carrot sticks with hummus
- Peanut butter and celery
- Cucumbers with cream cheese
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas
- Half slice of an avocado with salt and lemon juice
- Frozen peas and corn
- A Slice of melon
The concept of fruits and veggies as snacks may not delight your children. Yet, it pays to keep making a bid if you can sell them in new ways. When you have the time to spare, try cutting them into fun shapes or mixing them with a preferred dip.
During snack time, consider serving leftover roasted vegetables. Another way to make sure that you don’t cave in and throw them a bag of fruit snacks is to get them packed and ready to go!
Include protein in their snack
Protein helps children grow, and it keeps their stomach satisfied long after snack time. Consider introducing a little extra protein to their snacks to help with satiety if your children seem to be bored with asking for snacks all day long.
A few simple proteins that are snack-friendly include:
- Cheese string
- Nuts butter
- Boiled eggs
- Cottage cheese
- Cheese cubes
- Sliced turkey, ham, or roast beef, rolled up
Create a schedule for a healthy snacking
When you search through the cupboard when the children are crying, it is easy to grab a few crackers and fruit snacks to make them happy.
Nevertheless, if you have a snack plan in mind, it’s a no-brainer to hand out healthier snacks instead (including when snacks are served and what snacks are served).
- Keep in mind, to begin with, fruits as well as veggies and include a healthy protein afterward. Whole grains can also be part of excellent snacks.
- Aim to hold a stash of cut-up vegetables and fruit in the fridge. This is a convenient way to encourage children to choose their snack and keep it safe at the same time.
- Find a method that works for you. One choice is to allow children to select one item from the protein box, the fruit and veggie basket. Another may be to have snacks allocated to those days; string cheese and apple days on Mondays, smoothies on Tuesdays, hard-boiled eggs and fresh vegetables on Wednesdays, and so on. The whining fades away if your children know what’s coming, and children enjoy snack time the most.
- Adopt a meal plan that provides you every day with a snack option.
Get your kids interested in the snack prep
No one wants to listen to their children whine. Fortunately, they’re more likely to enjoy and eat what we offer if we include them in planning and preparing their snacks.
Give them a few basic guidelines and let them be imaginative while having fun ( the snack must contain fruit or vegetables). Children love to be interested in the food they consume, and it’s a great time to assist them in making healthy decisions about food.
Make snacking fun and exciting
If you learn that your children don’t like something you’ve given them, try doing it in a unique way that stimulates their sense of fun and creativity.
You don’t need to go all super crazy Pinterest to make this happen. Chop it up, douse it with peanut butter, and roll it in granola, coconut, or chopped nuts if they don’t want to eat a plain apple. You can also plunge the apple slices in yogurt or sprinkle them with cinnamon.