We all know how important childhood nutrition is – we’ve talked bout it a lot! Today is no different, but today we’re going to be talking about what to do between meals when your child gets peckish. Today is all about healthy snacks!
While snacking is not particularly encouraged in adults it’s actually a very important part of young children’s diets. Healthy snacks give them energy, protein, and other nutrients they need. According to the HSE, you should give snacks between two to three times a day between meals.
But not all snacks are created equal. Avoid giving your children snacks like crisps or chocolate on a regular basis. Try to avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. Now, we all deserve a square of chocolate every now and again and so does your toddler, but make sure not to give these snacks as a reward or to comfort your child. This can cause bad habits that may last late into life, leading to health problems like obesity and tooth decay. Better ways to reward them are new games, stickers, or a hug.
So what snacks should our children be having? Here’s our list:
- Small Pieces of Fruit and Veg – Make these fun! Have you seen our food art blog?
- Cheese and Crackers
- Breadsticks with hummus
- Rice cakes with peanut butter – use one without added salt or sugar
- Toast with mashed banana
- Fortified breakfast cereal and milk
- A small bowl of homemade soup.
Ready-made bars are often aimed at this age group and while they are certainly convenient they can often be very high in sugar. It is always best to choose unprocessed snacks if you can.
How To Avoid Unhealthy Snacking:
- Limit buying unhealthy snacks. The easiest way to stop your kids from chowing down on crisps and chocolate is to not have them in the cupboard.
- Makes changes as a family. If your child sees you snacking on a Dairy Milk they’re not going to be too happy with their rice cake.
- Make sure the healthy snacks are easily accessible. Keep chopped fruit and veg in your fridge.
- Avoid using food as treats. Use stickers or colour books or fun activities to reward good behaviour instead.