Between school, clubs, sports, play dates, and everything else you and your kids do regularly, sometimes it’s easier to swing through the fast food drive through or grab a quick, pre-packaged snack from home. However, most of the time these options are unhealthy, and can have negative effects on your child’s health.
It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about healthy eating habits. In fact, the earlier you start, the more likely they are to stick to those patterns and eat healthier throughout their life. This can help prevent them from developing chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or obesity.
Offering the right foods at the right time can help children learn about hunger and nutrition, and give them an important energy boost. Developing healthy eating habits early can also help:
- Stabilize their energy
- Improve their brains and ability to focus
- Elevate their mood
- Maintain a healthy weight
Make it fun and interesting by allowing them to help make their own healthy snacks. Encouraging your child to make their own snacks will help them feel more independent and learn life skills. Also, a child who makes their own snack is more likely to eat it, which can help reduce picky eating.
The best snacks are nutritious—low in sugar, salt, and fat. Try sticking to fruits and vegetables, and foods that contain healthy fats, whole grains and protein. Pay attention to portion sizes and timing of snacks so it doesn’t interfere with regular meal time. If you have a picky eater, give them two or three healthy options and allow them to choose which one they want.
Here are a few quick, easy snacks your kids can help you make.
CELERY, PEANUT BUTTER, AND RAISINS
Wash and cut the celery into pieces. Spread peanut butter on the celery, and top with raisins.
CHEESE AND LUNCH MEAT WRAP
Stack your child’s favorite cheese and lunch meat onto a tortilla and simply roll it up.
BANANA AND PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH
Spread peanut butter on whole wheat or whole grain bread. Add sliced bananas for an easy serving of fruit.
FRUIT AND CHEESE KABOBS
Layer favorite fruits and cheese on a skewer or toothpick. Try fruits like strawberries, bananas, kiwi, grapes, or mandarin orange pieces.
PRETZEL AND HUMMUS SANDWICH
Spread your favorite flavor of hummus between two pretzels. Be sure to have some napkins handy!
CUCUMBER AND HUMMUS SANDWICH
Spread hummus on whole wheat or whole grain bread. Top with sliced cucumber.