While some may say that snacking isn’t good for you, if you’re choosing wholesome foods, in the right portions, snacking can be nutritious! It may be easy to throw candy into your little one’s lunch bag or give them a bag of chips as you’re running out the door, but there are healthy alternatives out there that are just as simple.
The key to healthy snacking is to make smart choices about what you’re giving your children. Snacks should come from one or more of the following food groups:
They should also be high in nutrients, and low in fat, sugar, and salt. When preparing or packing snacks, it’s also important to pay attention to portions. Remember, for your little ones, snacks should be just enough to tide them over, not fill them up.
Pack snacks ahead of time
Your little one’s body starts to run out of fuel several hours after eating a meal. If they don’t eat, their energy level drops, and can lead to tired or cranky kids. Try packing snacks to bring for after school pickup or when you’re on the go. This will help to keep everyone going.
Pick your snacks wisely
- Whole-wheat bagel with a smear of low-fat cream cheese
- Fat-free or low-fat muffin
- Rice cakes
- Low-fat granola bars
- Whole-grain crackers and graham crackers
- Low-fat and unsalted microwave popcorn
- Donuts and pastries
- Snack cakes and cupcakes
- Chips and crackers
- Chocolate bars
- Cream-filled cookies
- Ready-made popcorn
Snacks for anytime, anywhere
In addition to some of the snacks mentioned above, other good packable snacks include:
- Single-serving boxes of dry and unsweetened cereal
- Fresh fruit (oranges, pears, grapes, and apples all travel well). At home, make fruit fun with fruit kabobs!
- Dried fruit
- Vegetable sticks or baby carrots
- Mini-boxes of raisins
- Unsweetened juice boxes
- Unsalted nuts and seeds
Stock the fridge with healthy options!
For snacking at home, it’s always good to have easy ingredients on hand for a healthy snack. Ideas include:
- Raw vegetables
- Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
- Unsweetened applesauce or canned fruit
- Low-fat cheese slices or string cheese
- Fat-free or low-fat cottage cheese
- Whole-wheat tortillas
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Peanut butter
- Slices of lean turkey or chicken