Preventing Childhood Obesity: Creative Snacking Tips for Kids
If wondering how to reduce childhood obesity, the thought of snacking may not come to mind, and may even appear as a clashing preventative measure. However, one of the best healthy eating tips throughout all stages of life is the act of snacking. And not to mention, getting children involved with nutritious snacks and foods at an early age promotes health-sustaining practices for years to come. Reduce and prevent the risk of childhood obesity with these snacking tips!
The Benefits of Snacking
Whether in the midmorning or following school in the afternoon, a healthy snack consisting of protein and fiber can beat intense hunger pangs by inducing satiety and controlling appetite. Suitable and convenient snack combos include hummus and cucumber slices, peanut butter and bananas, Greek yogurt and blueberries, and tuna and whole grain crackers.
Supplies Extra Nutrients
Growing kids benefit best from nutrient-dense snacks rather than highly processed products filled with sugar, salt, and fat. Adding healthy snacks throughout the day poses an opportunity to grant vital nutrients, especially if high-quality foods are limited in the diet. And while all nutrients are essential to health, children particularly need protein, calcium, iron, folate, and vitamins A and C which are described in greater detail here.
Increases Energy and Cognition
Eating a well-balanced snack can increase energy levels to keep kids' bodies and minds fueled throughout the day. School-aged kids are warranted to eat breakfast, as research shows those who eat that morning meal have higher school attendance rates, concentrate better, and solve problems with more ease.
Snacking Tips for Kids
1. Break the Fast
As mentioned, breakfast goers are able to perform and concentrate better when fueled. But not everyone are big morning eaters, while some may be crunched for time and bolting out the door. However, a nutrient-dense snack can be highly beneficial, predominantly when pairing protein and a healthy carb source. So whether it be ready-prepared energy balls or simply a glass of milk and fruit, aim for some sort of nutritious fuel source.
2. Stick to the Home Front
Avoiding the drive thrus and sticking to the home front is one of the best ways to limit a high caloric volume, which is considerably necessary for a well-portioned snack. Even despite healthier-for-you options at a restaurant, portions have astronomically grown throughout the ages. And not to mention, most teens tend to be tempted with and directed towards high-calorie burgers, chicken nuggets, French fries and unlimited refills of soft drinks...
3. Color the Plate
Nature's bounty not only boasts with color, but supplies extensive nutrients vital to health. Cut fresh fruits and veggies into fun shapes and allow kids to form into funny faces and other creative pictures their mind imagines.
4. Offer Dips
While coloring the plate with fresh produce is amusing, kids may not be too tempted to actually eat raw veggies. Pairing with a dip not only enhances the flavor, but offers a more hands-on and autonomous experience for the child.
5. Monitor Portions and Serving Sizes
Active children may need to eat two or three nutritious snacks in addition to three meals a day, though it is important to remember snacks should not stand as a meal replacement. Frequent meals and snacks at kid-sized portions can keep calories in check, especially when keeping snacks healthy (fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and low-fat dairy foods).
6. Reintroduce Foods
Even after colorful veggie faces and dips, your child may still not be thrilled about eating healthier foods. But continue to reintroduce foods not only in one form, but following different preparation methods. Offer and enrich new flavors by sautéing, baking, roasting, and grilling various veggies and even fruits.
7. Play with Textures
Whether it be crunchy or soft, capitalize on textures to gain and heighten kids' interest of foods. Fruits are a prime example of playing with textures and transformative flavors, as they can be dipped into yogurt, sprinkled with graham crackers and granola, and frozen to offer a slight crunch. Gelatin also holds great value, offering wiggly and bouncy fun for kids to enjoy.
8. Prepare These Healthy Snacks
It goes without saying kids can certainly be picky eaters, particularly when it comes to those "healthy" foods. However, healthier snacks for kids they will actually eat does not have to be a defeat. Prepare these homemade healthy snack ideas both kid and mom will love!