Fun & Healthy Snacks for Kids

Eat Healthy

National surveys show that children’s intake of calories through snacks has doubled in the past 30-40 years, from roughly 250 calories per snack to 500. That’s the same number of calories the average adult woman should consume for lunch! 

However, children need the proper nutrition to fuel their growing bodies, which is why snacks shouldn’t be taken entirely off the table. 

“Younger children should eat two snacks daily, while older kids and teens should snack once each day. This will allow them to meet the MyPlate recommendations,” says Teresa Quintero, a clinical registered dietitian at Wilcox Memorial Hospital. 

To ensure children get the most out of snacks, Quintero advises making the prep process a family affair. 

“I highly recommend that kids be a part of creating these fun snacks,” says Quintero. “This provides them an opportunity to learn about healthier snack options along with encouraging portion control.” 

Quintero also recommends the following smart-snacking suggestions

  • Avoid random snacking. Instead, offer timed snacks one to two hours before a meal.
  • Limit snacking to a specific area in the house, similarly to the way schools limit eating to their cafeteria areas. Otherwise, it can lead to mindless snacking, causing weight gain.
  • Pair protein with a fiber-containing carbohydrate, such as:
    o    Turkey slices wrapped in a small whole-wheat tortilla with a squirt of mustard
    o    A 6- to 8-ounce low-fat yogurt parfait
    o    Cut-up veggies served with light dressing
    o    Apple or pear slices smeared with peanut butter or almond butter
    o    Mini sandwiches cut into fun shapes using a cookie-cutter 

“Some other examples to choose are fresh fruit kebabs, dried fruits mixed with unsalted nuts – almonds, pistachios and cashews are good options – and unsalted whole-grain crackers with low-fat string cheese,” Quintero adds. 

View the slideshow below for more healthy, simple and, most importantly, fun snacking options:

Published on: August 15, 2015