Using healthy snack ideas as an important part of your child’s every day diet is not as difficult and challenging as it may seem. Once you get a hang of quickly throwing a couple of ingredients together in a quick mix, it will a become more a reflex – something you just do without thinking too much about it.
However, first you need to know what ingredients are healthy and how they work and what time of the day is optimal for healthy snacks for kids.
This is why I am here – so read on and learn more and get some tips for making healthy snacks:-)
Why Using Healthy Snack Ideas Is Important
Healthy snacks for kids not only provide important fuel for your developing child, they are also an excellent potential source of minerals and vitamins.
If you find you are struggling getting in your child’s recommended daily allowance of fruit and vegetables, healthy snack ideas provide the perfect opportunity to give your child more.
While we all know why eating healthy is important for children and adults, why is it so important for children to have a certain number of healthy snacks a day?
Well, here are some of the reasons:
- Healthy Nutritious Snack Foods Reduces Disease Risk – Children who eat healthy snacks on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
- Healthy Snacks Help Them Get Their Calories – Because young children have much smaller stomachs than adults, they cannot eat a lot at each sitting. This means regular healthy snacks are important in order for your child to get their recommended daily allowance of calories.
- Healthy Foods for Kids Teach Children to Eat Right from Early on – Dreaming up healthy snack ideas for your kids, also helps educate them for the future.
According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, what a child eats in their younger years influences heavily what they eat as an adult. Therefore, children who eat healthy snacks are less likely to suffer from weight problems as an adult.
- Healthy Snacks Fight Obesity – According to the Kids Health website, children who eat regular healthy snacks are less likely to suffer from childhood obesity.
This is in comparison to children who have no set snack schedule and who eat snacks that are processed or high in sugar and fats. The Kids Health experts recommend parents leave fruit where it is readily available, as children are more likely to help themselves when they are feeling hungry.
When to Give Your Child Healthy Snacks: Setting the Right Snack Schedule
As well as healthy snack ideas, it is important your child has a set snack schedule. Kids thrive on routine and if they know when their snacks are due, they are less likely to spend their time whining for something to eat.
Because most experts recommend a child has two to three snacks a day, this means your child will need a snack, mid-morning, mid-afternoon and just before bed.
When considering healthy snack ideas for each time slot, you should also be aware of the time your child is eating. For example, mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks should not ruin your child’s next main meal and their bedtime snack should be relatively light.
High-fiber snacks should not be given to children just before bedtime, as this may cause their stomach to be upset and their sleep disturbed, says the American Academy of Paediatrics.
Delicious Healthy Snack Ideas for Bedtime
Ideally your child should eat their last snack of the day around one hour before they are due to go to bed.
The choice of snack is also important, as you do not want to give them anything that might interfere with their sleep. Therefore, keep bedtime snacks relatively light and your child should have enough energy to get them through to the morning.
Some of my son’s favorite healthy snack ideas for bedtime are:
Lettuce Get Ready For Bed
Spread cream cheese or peanut butter onto a couple of large leaves, fill with olives, blueberries or cranberries and wrap up to make a delicious parcel your kids will love.
As well as filling a hole in their hunger, blueberries are a super food so will provide your child with added brain power in the morning.
Home-made vegetable or tomato soup is an ideal healthy bedtime snack for little ones, especially during the winter when the cold really sets in.
The beauty of having the soup in a cup is it is a novelty for the kids and it controls the size of the portions nicely.
This is one of the more popular healthy snack ideas in my house and requires only a little peanut butter spread on two pieces of wholegrain bread filled with your child’s favorite fruit – in our case it is usually blueberries or strawberries.
Greek Cucumber Sandwich
If your child suffers from diabetes, the American Diabetes Association has a wonderful list of healthy snack ideas – which is where I got this recipe from.
Simply cut a few cucumber slices, top each slice with a little Greek yogurt and a small rice cracker. It may sound like a funny concoction but the taste and texture is beautiful, which is why the dish is a firm favorite in our house.
Don’t forget to encourage your child to clean their teeth before bed, healthy snacks or not children should still look after their pearly whites.
Frozen Healthy Snack Ideas – Too Cool For School
Who needs expensive frozen ice cream or yogurts from the shops, when it is just as easy to make your own frozen snacks.
My kid loves frozen snacks, especially in the summer months when everyone is complaining of the heat. Making your own frozen food for kids is simple, with your only limits being your own imagination.
Frozen Strawberry Yogurt with Real Strawberry Pieces Mixed in
Frozen Lollipop Snacks
Freeze organic juice and small pieces of fruit in lollipop stick holders and you have your own frozen fruit lollies. Here you can see that I have chosen orange juice with small apple pieces in.
You can also add gello to the juice so they turn to jelly when melting. Such lollies are especially good for frozen snacks on the move, because it doesn’t matter if they melt making them ideal for smaller kids.
Fruit Juice Cubes
Pour real fruit juice, I use pineapple or orange, into an ice cube maker and freeze until solid.
These are ideal to replace candy sucking sweets for kids.
If your child is following a strict diet, maybe due to certain intolerances or a need to follow a strict diet you may need to adjust some of the healthy snack ideas to suit their needs.
However, most of the ideas will be fine for children with special diets.
Top Tips of Making Healthy Food For Kids
When it comes to making healthy snack ideas for kids or even cooking for your children in general, you may find bearing the tips below in mind helpful – I know I did.
- Go Organic – Thankfully organic food is coming down in price and is now more affordable than ever.
Because organic vegetables and fruits are grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, they are often more nutritious and safer than the non-organic alternatives.
- Avoid Processed Food for Kids – Encouraging your child to eat healthy snacks for kids at regular intervals throughout the day will help them maintain their energy and develop properly.
Processed foods will not provide sufficient nutrients to keep your child going through the day therefore healthy snacks should consist of healthy options.
- Out With The Junk – One of the best ways to ensure your children don’t eat junk food, is to avoid bringing it into the house in the first place.
Don’t buy high-calorie foods such as, greasy chips, ice-cream, and candy. Of course, you should allow your child the occasional naughty treat but do not encourage it on a regular basis.
If you give them plenty of healthy options, they will find it easier to make healthy food choices outside of the home.
- Make your own healthy snack ideas – You may think that much of the food for kids needs to be bought from the store, this isn’t the case at all. Rather than waste your money on premade healthy snacks, come up with your own healthy snack ideas at home.
For example, a carton of plain yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and pear pieces mixed together in a blender makes a beautiful healthy smoothie that will rival any large chain coffee shops. 😉
- Size does matter – I have mentioned before about the importance of watching your child’s portion size. According to the Kid’s Health website, most children will eat a snack regardless of whether they feel hungry or not.
It is therefore important that you use your own common sense to judge how big a snack they may need and when – all the healthy snack ideas in the world will mean nothing if your child is constantly overeating.
- Get into Raw Snacks – If you mention raw snacks to your kids, you are guaranteed to get a nose in the air. However, giving them a selection of raw vegetables, along with fruits, nuts and other healthy foods will enable them to have a variety of healthy snacks that don’t take long to prepare.
The Mayo Clinic recommends combining raw snacks, such as carrot sticks with other food groups, such as cheese or nuts. This will ensure your child gets the full nutritional potential of each of the snacks (carrots for the carbs, cheese for the fat and nuts for the protein) and it should all taste good too.
Fat-free humus and ranch dressings are an ideal accompaniment to your children’s healthy snacks or you can stick to simple mayonnaise or ketchup.
Did you know it has only been against the law not to label food that contained genetically modified products for 12-months, according to the Massachusetts Department of Health.
That is food for thought isn’t it!
Where Would You Like to Go Now?
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