Snack Time for Kids: Tips to Help Parents Provide Healthy & Delicious Snacks for Their Children by 30Seconds Food
You may have flashbacks now and then of simpler times when you were a kid. Maybe you came from school and were looking forward to a whole afternoon of play (after you finished your homework, of course). Then maybe your parents set out a tray full of goodies. Snack time!
Snack time may have been the best part of the day for many of us, no matter where we grew up. There's just something about that “extra” meal, sometimes with food that seemed more playful and fun, that makes it stand out from the rest.
Why Are Snacks Important for Kids?
Now as parents with children of our own, we may realize that preparing snacks is a little trickier than we expected. Some busy parents may settle for “quick fixes” like pre-packaged juice or crackers. It's often healthier to put a little thought into our snack choices, though. Healthy snacks are necessary and have a lot of benefits for kids' bodies. Giving them too much processed food rich in sugar and preservatives may prevent them from getting proper nutrition.
Childhood obesity has increased in the last 30 years. It can be caused by an imbalance in calories, and giving kids unhealthy snacks can contribute to this.
Why Are Snacks Important for Parents?
Snacks are not only there for kids to enjoy, but also for parents. The kitchen is usually the heart of the home. It is where the family can come together to make delicious meals and fond memories. Preparing snacks for your kids is a great way to get to know them. Knowing the unique qualities of your kids – such as how your daughter likes extra peanut butter or how your son doesn't like bananas – can help bring you closer to them. Cooking and preparing food together is a great way to spend quality time with them, and it can help them understand the importance of eating a healthy diet.
How to Get Your Kids Eating Healthy
Getting kids to eat healthy may be easier said than done. That's why parents are sometimes tempted to give them a candy bar so they don't have to deal with possible tantrums. However, there are several things you can do to help kids get the vitamins they need and also enjoy what they eat.
1. Be Knowledgeable About Ingredients
You may have seen it so many times on packaged food: “Now with less sugar!” “Rich in vitamin A!” “It will help your kids grow!” These can be clever marketing tactics to convince parents to buy products. It's better to choose snacks with a short and recognizable list of ingredients. This usually means it contains fewer additives and it is less processed.
2. Get Kids Involved
If you have ever watched MasterChef Jr., you know that kids can be creative with the right ingredients. Including kids in their food preparation can make them eager to eat the healthy snacks they created.
- Baking is an activity that many kids enjoy. A chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar recipe can be fun for them to make. Cookies are a family favorite and they can be healthier when made with the right ingredients.
- Snack bowls of fruits and yogurt are also a great, easy-prep recipe for kids to follow. Give them the freedom to make a healthy bowl using tropical fruits, berries or both.
- Carrot or cucumber sticks with dip is more on the savory side and a snack many kids enjoy.
- Try using a cookie cutter to make sandwiches into cool shapes!
Photo: Chocolate chip cookies without brown sugar from The Kitchen Community.
3. Ask Kids Trivia About the Ingredients
You can turn kitchen time into a learning experience. Ask kids where the different ingredients they are using come from. Is it a fruit or a vegetable? Do they grow on trees or in the ground? You could even keep score on a white board in the kitchen. Try to give them “bonus points” as they get more creative with their snacks.
4. Lead By Example
This is the most important and sometimes hardest tip to follow. Parents work to instill a healthy lifestyle in their kids, but then they catch us munching on a whole bag of potato chips while we're watching TV. We are the role models for our kids, so we must eat healthy in order to model the right habits.
- Try to have a healthy breakfast every day. It is the first meal of the day and it sometimes sets the pace of how the other meals will be.
- Share the snacks your kids prepare and show them that they are yummy. This will help build their confidence and hopefully make them enjoy working in the kitchen.
Helping your kids eat healthy doesn't have to be difficult; it just takes dedication and a little creativity. Including your kids in snack preparation can make eating healthy fun and educational. So, let's get cooking!
The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.
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