(StatePoint) Snack time can make or break an otherwise healthy diet. So keeping tabs on what your kids are munching on between meals is important.
The bottom line, say experts, is to aim to nurture their bodies with pure, wholesome foods as close to nature as possible.
“Getting your kids hooked on fresh fruits and vegetables early will set them up for a lifetime of great eating habits,” says Mitzi Dulan, “America’s Nutrition Expert,” and team nutritionist for the Kansas City Royals baseball team.
Dulan is offering these tips for parents to help kids get their snack on, healthfully:
• Plan ahead: Set up a grocery shopping routine that allows you to have fresh foods on hand for the entire week. On school nights, reserve 10 minutes with the kids to pack the next day’s snacks together.
• Avoid high-calorie drinks: Wash snacks down with water or organic low-fat milk. Avoid giving your kids high-calorie and sugar-filled drinks such as sodas, juices and energy drinks.
• Make it colorful: Skip highly processed snacks such as candy bars, chips, fruit snacks and store-bought cookies. Instead, complement fresh fruits and vegetables with peanut butter, hummus or low-fat dressings.
Luckily, good-for-you snacking can be just as easy to prepare and pack as junk food. For example, Grimmway Farms Carrot Dippers come in convenient easy-open five packs of baby carrots and all-natural, low-fat ranch dressing. Packed with 15 vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, they are less than 50 calories per serving.
• Get Them Involved: Take your kids grocery shopping with you and ask them to pick out their favorite fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks. Direct them towards options like whole wheat crackers, edamame (soybeans), trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, air-popped popcorn, Greek yogurt and unsweetened applesauce.
Involving your kids with preparing and packing a daily lunch will encourage them to make their own decisions and they will be more likely to eat what they’ve packed instead of throwing it away.
• Add a treat: Some treats are calorie free! Put in a little note to let them know how much you love them, to make Mondays or Wednesdays -- or whatever day your child dreads -- a bit more special.
Snack time is crucial for keeping growing kids properly fueled for their busy days. Avoiding the sugar and fat overload at these in-between mini meals will help keep kids happier, healthier and wiser.
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