Back to school is in full swing and moms everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief as they finally get back into a normal routine within their families. Part of that routine now includes full school days and many extracurricular activities.
The children are very busy. Their minds are being tested and stretched, and their bodies are in constant motion. It’s easy for kids to burn out quickly. One of the best ways to keep your kids from wearing out is to provide high-quality, nutrient-dense, energy-boosting snacks.
Packaged convenience foods like chips, granola bars, candy, and cookies are typically full of salt, sugar, and other processed and refined ingredients that are not good for their growing bodies. With a simple flip of your wrist, you can determine if this is a quality snack that will provide energy-boosting nutrients to your child. To keep it simple, you need to vary your child’s snack, look for:
- A shortlist of ingredients
- Ingredients a third-grader can easily pronounce
- No High Fructose Corn Syrup or Trans Fats
- No more than 5 grams of sugar
- No artificial sweeteners
- Whole Grains
As most busy parents will agree, snacks need to be quick and easy. But you don’t have to trade convenience for health. Try to find options that not only fill you up but taste great and are good for you.
Here are some great choices to try:
- Fresh fruit
- Frozen grapes
- Rice cakes with your favorite topping
- Popcorn (hot air-popped)
- Carrots or celery and hummus
- Fruit smoothies
- Celery and peanut butter
- Dried fruit products and nuts
- Organic yogurt
Another key factor is to help your child listen to his/her body. When they are hungry ask them to stop and think about what their body is asking for. Is it something creamy, crunchy, sweet, or salty? Is it cold, hot, or spicy?
Helping your children listen to what /her body wants will result in a satisfying snack decision. This will help curb mindless snacking and constantly reaching for something else to see if it might hit the spot.
Upon returning from your grocery shopping trip, involve your children in setting up a snack center. Chop veggies into the perfect snack size and store them in reusable containers. Portion out natural chips, dried fruit, and nuts into baggies. Pre-pop popcorn and make a smoothie that can be frozen into a healthy Popsicle treat.
By involving your children they will be more apt to try new snacks and want to make the right choices. Don’t shy away from educating your kids on what a healthy snack means, why it’s important to eat right, and how it affects their overall health and well-being.
The more you talk about it and involve your children in shopping, cooking, and decision-making, the more likely your children are to want to make the right choices. They will take pride in knowing they are doing something great for their bodies.
When you go to the grocery store, stock up on some of these ideas on how to vary your children’s snacks. You should also help your child reach for a better option when it’s snack time.