All about healthy snacks for kids
Children’s appetite and the portion they eat are relatively small as compared to adults. They need to eat constantly at regular intervals of time. Snacks form a relatively important part of a child’s daily diet. Healthy snacks at regular intervals of time provide the child with the required energy.
What are the nutritional sources of food for kids?
“Balanced food” plays an important role in the complete development and growth of every child. The following are needed by a growing kid needs for their overall development:
- Proteins help in building a child’s body, breaking food into energy, carrying oxygen, and fighting infection. The sources of protein are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, and dairy products.
- Carbohydrates are responsible for providing energy to the body. Carbohydrates help children’s bodies to utilize fat and protein for building and repairing tissue. Food containing high carbohydrates are bread, cereals, rice, pasta, and potatoes.
- Fat is an excellent source of energy for kids and is easily stored in a child’s body. Food consisting of a high quantity of fat are whole-milk dairy products, cooking oils, meat, fish, and nuts.
- Calcium is important for building up of the child’s healthy bones and teeth. Food containing high calcium levels are milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, egg yolks, broccoli, spinach, and tofu.
- Iron is responsible for the building of healthy blood in a child’s body. Red meat, liver, poultry, shellfish, whole grains, beans, nuts, and iron-fortified cereals are the food items with a high quantity of iron levels.
- Folate is necessary for pregnant women and is so important for children. Whole-grain cereals, lentils, chickpeas, asparagus, spinach, black or kidney beans, and brussels sprouts are some excellent sources of folate.
How can you prevent your child from taking unhealthy snacks?
- Keep healthy snacks handy: Healthy snacks should be kept handy and easily available for kids, like on low shelves in the fridge or in the cabinets so that your children can reach them easily whenever they are hungry. Keep a bowl of fruits in front as children are more likely to eat what is visible to them.
- Don’t bring junk food at home: If you prefer your child not to have a particular food, it is better to keep it out of the house. They cannot have food that isn’t available.
- Don’t bargain: Junk food should not be used as a bargaining tool. Don’t reward your child with junk food just to make them eat healthy food; it only makes the junk food more tempting and healthy food less attractive.
- Don’t ban junk food: Even if you don’t want your child to have junk food, do not ban it completely. Instead, teach your child to have this food in a limited quantity by allowing them to eat them at a friend’s house or a birthday party, but not at home.
- Set an example: Children learn a lot by observing what you do. If you want your child to not have too much junk food, firstly avoid eating junk food yourself. Allow and help your child pick out new healthy food for snacks.
How many calories should ideally be consumed by kids in the form of snacks?
- A primary school going child must have at least three snacks containing sugar a day on an average, which means they can easily eat three times more sugar than suggested.
- Kids between the age of 1 and 2 years need about 45 calories per pound of body weight each day. This should be divided into three meals and two or three snacks.
- A pre-schooler child of 3 years also needs about 45 calories per pound of weight, which is between 1,000 and 1,400 calories per day.
- School-going children need about 1,600 to 2,500 calories per day.
- The calorie ranges mentioned above are just guidelines, however, and calorie needs change according to kids’ body structure and size, activity level, and whether or not they have been sick recently.
What is the perfect time to have snacks for kids?
- It is possible that your child is eating the healthiest food on the planet. However, if they’re eating all day long, it is not healthy anymore.
- Time is the most important factor for snacking.
- The key factor lies in creating a structure that moderates the frequency of snacking.
How can you end your child’s constant snacking habits?
- Create a schedule
- Keep snacks small
- Offer water
- Do not buy junk food
Set an example yourself by avoiding all kinds of junk food. Keep healthy snacks for yourself and develop the same habit of giving healthy snacks to kids in between meals with proper gaps.