I often get asked about what should be given to children as a healthy snacks. Keeping children away from high sugary and processed foods can be a difficult task at times. My recommendation is to enjoy snack time with your children and lead by example. It can take 10-20 tries of the same food before kids pick it up or start to enjoy it. Think snack time as an opportunity to increase your child’s vegetable intake and offer whole foods that will nourish and tie over any hunger pangs between meal times but not ruin their next meal and appetite. Sticking to foods that are not processed or refined as little as possible that are free from artificial additives and substances is what you should be aiming for. When giving vegetables, begin with the ones your child enjoys the most. Carrot sticks steamed or raw, steamed broccoli florets and corn on the cob are great finger foods and usually favourites among kids. Slowly give a wider variety of new fruits and vegetables to slowly entice your little ones to new flavors and textures.
It is our in built biological desire to want and crave sweet and processed foods. How do we overcome ways to combat children always asking for sweet treats? By re- establishing healthy eating habits and replacing the sweet stuff with more protein, good fats and vegetables. Reducing the amount of sweet fruits can also assist in the return of good eating habits. Fruits are not a bad snack, don’t get me wrong, however best to stick to 2 servings at most. I find that even when my children are filling up on lots of fruit I need to remove sweet and refined carbohydrates and soon the sweet cravings are a distant memory. This usually takes a few days. Snacks that pack in protein along with other nutrients are a great way to keep those tummies fuller between meals and aid in lasting energy which is much needed especially when the 3pm lull strikes.
Smoothies are a fabulous way to increase nutrition that are fun and easy to make. Try adding leafy greens such as spinach, blanched kale, beetroot or avocado to your smoothies for added boost of vitamins and healthy fats. These vegetables also decrease the sweetness of the fruity flavors used and helps keep those sweet cravings at bay. Rotating the fruits and vegetables you use will enhance the variety of flavor and nutrition in your smoothies. Adding cinnamon to smoothies helps neutralize blood sugar levels and there really is no need to add any sweetener to smoothies as fruits do the job perfectly. To power up with protein add in nut butters or cooked quinoa.
Soups are a fantastic way to get extra nourishment into your child and even your self. I’m not talking about the canned or packet varieties but a good homemade soup that is nutrient dense and high in vegetables. We often enjoy a cup of soup in the afternoon as a filling afternoon snack. Simple additions like cannellini beans or even quinoa to the soup provides a great amount of protein adding in nutrition and filling tummies until dinner time.
Here is a list of some of the snacks I give to my kids for school or in the afternoon when they are home from school.
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