Healthy Snacking (Part 1)
Whether you have kids or not, make a snack basket you or the kids can grab from at any time or when you are on the go. I got this idea from a friend of mine and I LOVE it!
The snacks are portioned out and it saves time. If you have kids, you can be confident that they have relatively healthy snacks to go help themselves to, and if you don’t, you have ready pre-portioned snacks for yourself!
I use whole apples, boxes of raisins, snack baggies full of cheerios, dried fruit, almonds and trail mix. You may also want to add low-fat pretzels, ginger snaps and flavored rice cakes. You can keep your basket in your pantry or countertop where your children can easily reach it. In addition to your snack basket – which mostly contains grain based snacks – it’s a good idea to keep lots of fruits and veggies on hand for snacking. Keep fruit, veggies and dairy items for snacking in a designated drawer or shelf in your fridge for your kids.
We all want our children to develop healthy eating habits that help them lead healthy lifestyles as adults.
Those of us who gained unhealthy eating habits as children know first hand how hard it can be break these patterns in adulthood. This handy resource provides helpful information regarding what children need to grow up healthy and strong. In addition, understanding a parent’s roll in what your child eats is important.
Take a look at these suggestions from our health contributor Liane Cox Tomich.
What Is My Role?
- You need to optimize your child’s eating. . . not control it.
- Feeding distortion starts early.
- Children follow your attitudes and behaviors. . . have a positive emotional and social view of food.
- Allow children to feel in control of their eating. . . but set respectful limits.
- Children are erratic about their eating.
- Children will waste food.
- It may take 15-20 times before a child swallows new food.
- Participate in family activities.
- Get children involved. . . food preparation, growth, clean up.
- Just because a child is lean does not mean he/she is healthy.
- Minimize sodas—it replaces calcium-rich drinks and harms bones.
- Keep caffeine to a minimum.
- Adolescents often say they are not hungry in the morning—make sure they eat!
- Everyone needs to start the day with breakfast—children can concentrate better and learn better!
How Do I Encourage My Child To Eat Healthy Foods?
- Keep fruits and vegetables in sight. –Place bright, colorful produce in plain sight for children to grab easily. –Keep small bags of fresh vegetable snacks at eye level in the refrigerator.
- Buy dried variations of fruits and vegetables. –It doesn’t need refrigeration and doesn’t make a mess in backpacks. –Add dried fruits to trail mix or fresh fruit salads. –Dried beans and peas count as vegetables, so look for crunchy dried soybeans, peas and chickpea snacks.
- Canned fruits and vegetables are an option. •Add pureed vegetables to foods.
- Buy in-season fruits and vegetables—foods are tastier and filled with more nutrients.
- Keep staples ready-to-eat—keep cooked rice and pasta ready so you can heat and serve in a lunch, add to a soup or serve with an entrée.
- Use a slow cooker or stir fry foods.
PB & J again?
Are you and your child tired of making the same thing for lunch everyday?
Try these helpful suggestions by our contributing healthy living expert LIane Cox Tomich to get you out of the everyday lunch routine and encourage your child to try new foods.
- Buy Thermos containers to keep hot food hot and cold food cold –Use hot containers for macaroni and cheese, soup, turkey meatballs, pasta, scrambled eggs, oatmeal –Use cold containers for frozen fruit, yogurt, milk, fruit salad, smoothies
- Include applesauce, fruit cups and canned fruit
- Include dried fruit
- Have children prepare fruit salads the night before
- Stuff pitas with vegetables, chopped chicken, cheese and dip
- Include a bag of dried cereal or air-popped popcorn
- Include trail mix
- Make sure to include water
- Small whole wheat bagel with reduced-fat cheese and peanut butter plus fresh fruit
- Scrambled eggs made in the microwave with vegetables and cheese served on a whole wheat muffin •Multigrain waffle
- Cooked oatmeal
- Yogurt, fruit and granola
- Whole grain cereal with fruit and milk
- Vanilla wafer sandwich (wafers with cream cheese in the middle)
- Banana, pumpkin, zucchini, cranberry bread