Erin Stagnitta – OnPoint Nutrition
Children love to snack, in fact it may seem like your children have become endless pits, with voice boxes constantly asking for more food. This is great, and means they are growing! It is a good idea to use snack time as another opportunity to add nutritious food to your child’s diet. However, for many children snacking looks like a bag of chips, cookies, or sugary candy bar. The trick is finding the perfect mix of salty, sweet, and nutritious foods that will leave your children satisfied and healthy.
Benefits of snacking
Children should eat every 3-4 hours to support their rapid growth, provide essential nutrients, support their brain, and enhance their mental and physical health.
Snacking is a great opportunity to add nutrients to your child’s diet that are missing during mealtime. Typically, meals do not acquire all food groups. Using snacks to fill in the blanks will help provide your children with a well-balanced diet.
Supports Brain Function
Nutrition and brain function are linked. Healthy snacking provides your child’s brain with nutrients it needs to improve their memory, their ability to focus, and their ability to recall information. The nutrients your child eats allows the brain’s neural connections, cell signaling and structure to form. Incorporating the right foods can result in easier learning and improved test scores.
Healthy snacks that consist of many vitamins such as fruit and vegetables, boost immunity, and release endorphins that can lower anxiety, boost mood, and lower emotional stress. Avocado, banana, carrots, yogurt, and nuts provides various vitamins, and minerals like potassium and zinc that boost immunity and help lower blood pressure. Providing crunchy fruit and vegetables during snack time will improve your child’s physical and emotional health.
How to Incorporate Healthy Snacking with your Children
Children love to feel in control of their own choices. Allow them to create creative snacks using ingredients you choose. Offer planned snacks that provide fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, and healthy fats that will provide essential nutrients to support their growing bodies. Encourage food pairing such as a fruit with a fat, or starch with a protein, so the snacks are nourishing and filling.
Set a routine and guidelines around snack time that allows your children freedom of choice. Make sure to choose a designated space in the home to eat. You want to avoid allowing your children to mindlessly eat in front of the television, this can result in overeating and encourage poor eating habits.
Nutritious Snack Ideas
- Apples with peanut butter
- Low fat yogurt & granola
- Trail mix
- Sliced Fruit with a low-fat cheese stick
- Roasted chickpeas
- Celery with peanut butter and raisins
- Fruit Smoothies
- Turkey and avocado rollups
- Carrots and hummus
- 100% fruit popsicles
- Hard boiled eggs
Check out this delicious snack plate recipe you can try with your children today!
6 oz baby carrots
1 tbsp light ranch
1 serving of white cheddar @popchips
1 tbsp dark chocolate covered espresso beans
1 tbsp cashew butter
1 small honey crisp apple, sliced
– Assemble all on plate and enjoy!
Recently awarded Philadelphia Magazine’s – Best of Philly 2018, OnPoint is your go-to for all things health and nutrition. We are a team of Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists who believe in a whole foods, anti-diet approach to healthy living. Our evidence-based, one-on-one, virtual approach ensures you receive the highest level of service and sustainable results. Click here to learn more about the OnPoint approach.