Parents are often looking for healthy kids snacks to help their children stay fit. It can be a challenge, though, with all of the unhealthy, over-sweetened and fattening snacks out there to tempt your kids. Worst of all, advertising actively targets children, encouraging them to have a sweet tooth and crave junk food. While it can seem like an uphill battle, there are things you can do to instill healthy snacking habits in your children.
Snacks, for children and adults alike, can be a time when people make some of their least healthy eating choices. With kids, this can be a time when you can’t always be watching or supervising what they eat. You can, however, send them off to school with some healthy snacks, which can help them develop good habits.
Until recently, it has been widely assumed that watching your weight was something you didn’t have to worry about until you were an adult, maybe even middle-aged. Sadly, however, we are seeing a rapid increase in childhood obesity. The causes for this are mainly twofold, and not very hard to identify: an increase in calories and junk food and a corresponding decrease in physical activity! You can help to influence your children in positive ways in both of these areas.
Be sure that your kids get a good breakfast every morning. This should include a high quality protein and maybe some fruit. Being too hungry in between meals is one reason kids gravitate towards unhealthy snacks. If you give them cereal for breakfast, try to give them a healthy one that is not over-sweetened. Sugary cereals can start off a day long habit of sugar spikes and letdowns. Sugar acts as a drug in the body, and has an addictive quality. So if kids (or adults) start the day off eating very sweet foods, as soon as the initial sugar jolt starts to wear off they will start craving more.
Healthy trail mixes can make excellent snacks. Again, look for ones without added sugar. Today many trail mixes contain pieces of candy, which are hardly healthy. Nuts and dried fruit are good sources of, respectively, protein and natural sugar. Another idea is to put the trail mix into some plain yogurt. You can add a little natural sweetener like raw honey, pure maple syrup or agave nectar.
Instead of potato chips or pretzels, try giving your kids healthier substitutes like vegetable chips, which can be found in natural foods section of your supermarket.
You can also find things like organic, whole grain crackers. These can be dipped in foods like hummus, baba ganoush (both tasty Middle Eastern spreads), guacamole or an all natural salsa.
If you buy packaged snacks, look for healthier alternatives to candy bars. Even many energy bars are highly sweetened. They do, however, make energy bars or fruit strips that are only sweetened with organic or natural ingredients instead of sugar or corn syrup.
These are just a few ideas for healthy kids snacks. If you make it a point to pay attention to what your children eat in between meals you can help them develop healthier eating habits.