Did you know that healthy snacks for kids may not only be a body and brain booster – but that it also may have huge impact on your child’s mood? Well, everyone is familiar with the saying “you are what you eat”, yet I bet many, like myself, think this refers to a person’s body shape – as oppose to anything else.
However, as part of my mission to ensure I was offering my kid nutritious healthy diet and as I researched different types of kid’s snacks, I found that what an individual eats can also affect their mood – and that this is especially the case with children.
When You’re Smiling … Healthy Foods and Good Moods Are More Closely Connected Than You Might Think
Children who are particularly sensitive to certain food preservatives and additives are often affected the most.
It is also thought that the symptoms of ADHD and other behavioral disorders can be magnified when the child has a poor diet, says the University of Tennessee.
Therefore, when preparing kids snacks and even food in general, parents should make themselves aware of bad mood and good mood foods.
However, before going more in-dept with research that makes a strong connection between healthy foods and good moods – here are some tips to make healthy snacks for kids.
List of Appealing Happy Snacks for Kids
While parents making themselves aware of Good Mood Food is relatively straight forward, getting your child to eat these snacks is quite another.
After all, children tend to find any type of food that is good for them very boring indeed.
Below are several healthy snacks for kids that should be good for their health and their mood – AND should be delicious enough to find its way into your child’s mouth 😉
Simple Shrimp and Pasta Delight – Great Example of an Easy Snack Recipe
Simply cook your shrimp in a tablespoon of orange juice and half a cup of chopped tomatoes, before adding to precooked pasta.
Not only does this healthy snack make an excellent mid-afternoon snack, it is high in Omega-3 and carbohydrates to help lift your kid’s post-school mood.
Top Tip – I usually serve this dish in a cup in order to make it snack size. However, increasing the ingredient portions means you can easily make this tasty snack a main meal too.
Cool Chicken Wrap – Also Works Wonders as Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids
Simply place chicken pieces, cucumber, bell pepper, and tomatoes into a wholegrain wrap with cream cheese for an easy to make, tasty twist on the average chicken salad sandwich. If your kids like a bit of spice, fry the chicken in crushed garlic with a bit of soy sauce and a tea spoon of peanut butter.
This tasty snack is a definite bad-mood blaster by containing Omega-3 and Vitamin B6 among others.
Yummy Yoghurt and Oatmeal Snack Mix Recipe – Also Great as a Breakfast Snack
Simply mix one carton of plain yogurt with some oatmeal and add some fruit pieces of your choice – in our house my kid loves apricots and strawberries with this tasty treat.
One of the healthiest snacks for kids listed, it also contains a good amount of folic acid and vitamin B-12.
Because these nutrients boost your child’s energy, as well as their mood it makes for an excellent mid-morning snack.
The Food Pyramid For Kids
The American Obesity Treatment Association recently revealed that as many as 69-percent of children are more likely to suffer from obesity as an adult.
The Association believes that educating children on healthy eating and the importance of following a healthy lifestyle is one way to ensure this figure decreases.
The United States Department of Agriculture have therefore produced a special, designed-for-children pyramid that outlines and explains all the different food groups that go towards making a healthy diet.
The main focus of the pyramid is to make learning about healthy foods and snacks for kids fun and interesting for children and parents.
Inside the Food Pyramid
As well as children, parents can also use the pyramid information on the United States Department of Agriculture website, customizing it to their child’s specific needs by inputting their child’s weight, age and estimated level of activity.
The website then advises how much of each food group they recommend for the child.
The pyramid recommends she eats one cup of both fruits and vegetables, two cups of milk and three ounces of beans.
The pyramid also allows for snacks for kids that may not fall into any of the food groups and also recommend how many of the child’s daily calorie allowance goes on these snacks.
Does the Food Pyramid for Kids Really Work?
There is much criticism surrounding the pyramid with many experts believing that the pyramid does not account for children who have special dietary needs.
For example, if your child has diabetes, celiac disease, food allergies or any other food-related issue, the only way to find out what will suit their specific dietary needs is to consult with a dietician or doctor.
The most common criticism however, is the fact the pyramid does not point out what foods parents should be avoiding giving their children.
For example, trans fats offer no nutritional value to a child and only serve to add to weight gain. There are also no specific snacks for kids that involve the food groups mentioned.
Despite these criticisms, the United States Department of Agriculture believes the advantages surrounding the pyramid far outweigh the negatives.
Pyramid Friendly Snacks for Kids
While the official website may not suggest any specific snacks for kids that include the food groups the pyramid illustrates, below are some of the healthy snacks I have researched myself and tried and tested on my own child first.
Scrambled Egg and Apple – Simple and Delicious
A small portion of scrambled egg topped with thinly slice apple pieces packs a real nutritional punch. I added a bit of soy sauce to the eggs to give a bit saltiness. Also some non-salty wholegrain crackers with creme cheese.
Not only does this easy dish contain Vitamins C and A, it also contains various antioxidants and fiber, all of which help aid your child’s digestive system.
Of all the snacks for kids I have tried on my son, the veggie rainbow is one of his favorites.
Simply create a rainbow using various pieces of raw vegetables.
Also most kids also love something to dip their snacks in. Simply dilute some peanut butter (getting some healthy protein with all those vegetables) with water or milk so you get a nice dip consistency.
Not only is this dish nice to eat, you can also test your child’s color knowledge by asking them to pick certain colors for you.
Pecan Yoghurt with Funny Honey Trail
Mix pecan nuts in a pot of yogurt for an energy-boosting snack your kids will love. Add a fun trail of honey for a bit of healthy sweetness.
Whoever said the simple things in life are often the best was right, this easy snacks for kids recipe takes next to no time to create and tastes absolutely heavenly.
Fun Snack Mix Recipe on the Go
Fill a sandwich bag with almond and pecan nuts, mixed together with cereal and oatmeal for a quick snack mix recipe your child can eat on the move.
This recipe also contains two of the five food groups depicted in the food pyramid for kids.
List of Foods Ideal for Low Calorie Snacks for Kids
If you are worried about your child’s weight, then it may be an idea to keep an eye on how many calories they are consuming in a day.
A healthy diet and low calorie snacks for kids should make a difference to your child’s weight over time.
The following foods are ideal for low calorie snacks:
- Yoghurt – The Mayo Clinic recommends reduced sugar or reduced fat yogurts for children who may be struggling with excess weight. Snacking on low calorie yogurt will also ensure your child gets their recommended daily allowance of dairy, as outlined in the food pyramid for kids.
You easily make them into delicious icecream by freezing the yoghurt and putting in a stick
- Popcorn – All kids like popcorn right? And because popcorn is made from whole grain, it makes for ideal low calorie snacks for kids. Grains are also depicted in the United States Department for Agriculture ‘s food pyramid.
However, avoid popcorn covered in sugar, butter or oil and don’t buy flavored popcorn unless you are sure it is low calorie and sugar free.
- Fruit and Veg – Non-starchy vegetables and most fruits are low in calories. As well as being ideal for low calorie snacks for kids, certain fruit and veg provides important fiber and other nutrients.
According to the Food Pyramid, children should aim to have at least two to three cups of veg and one to two cups of fruit a day.
- Cereal – Whole wheat flakes and oatmeal are both ideal for quick, tasty snacks that won’t endanger your child’s calories for the day.
Avoid gimmicky breakfast cereals that appear to be designed especially for children, these are often full of food colorings and sugar and therefore are high in calories.
Making your own healthy snacks is always recommended, however it isn’t wrong to give your child shop bought snacks if that is what your child likes.
Of course, it is recommended that you always check the label, keeping an eye out for calorie count, fat content and food coloring.
Avoid pre-packaged baked goods, as these tend to be high in sugar and food colorings and shop bought crackers do not make the best healthy snacks for kids as they usually contain high levels of salt.
Good Mood Foods: Dopamine Releasing Foods
If your child is generally in good spirits and appears, for the most part, to be content there is a good chance they are receiving a nutritious diet.
Certain complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, oatmeal and brown rice can help maintain your child’s good mood as they help to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Snacks for kids that include chicken, bananas, leafy green vegetables and even dark chocolate will all improve a child’s mood.
This is because these foods release a brain chemical called dopamine, which induces feelings of contentment and happiness, according to the University of Tennessee.
Doctors in America have even been known to recommend a diet containing salmon, sunflower seeds, tuna and spinach for children suffering with depression.
This is thought to be because these types of foods contain Omega-3 acid, selenium and folic acid – all of which help prevent feelings of depression.
Grumpy Food Groups: Unhealthy Foods Can Cause Depressive Symptoms in Children
Sugar, fat and salt are the main culprits when it comes to ingredients in food that is most likely to cause poor or bad moods in children.
However, according to Dr Sears, specific foods that cause low mood will vary from child to child, as some children are more sensitive to certain ingredients than others.
Dr Sears goes on to recommend that, parents who wish to see an improvement in their child’s mood should avoid making snacks for kids that involve chips, cookies and candy.
It is also thought that most microwave meals, junk food and soda will also cause depressive symptoms in children.
Bad mood foods usually contain something known as refined carbohydrates, which are known for releasing the particular stress hormones linked to mood disruption in both children and adults.
If, like me, you have often found your children to be moody for no apparent reason, then looking closely at their diet may well be the way forward.
It is important parents pay attention to their children’s diet because children who continually eat bad snacks for kids may suffer from severe mood alteration. This can lead to future problems with behaviour and learning.
Where Would You Like to Go Now?
Easy After School Snacks Your Kids Will Love– Encourage Healthy Eating for Kids in the Busy Everyday Life
Simple Healthy Recipes for Kids and Easy Snacks the Whole Family Will Enjoy
Lovely Delicious Healthy Snack Ideas: Quick Brain Boosting Food for Kids
A Wonderful List of Healthy Kids Snacks – Easy to Do, Fun to Eat
Healthy Eating for Kids – Tasty and Easy Snack Recipes
Easy Low Fat Snacks for Kids – Delicious and Simple
Tasty Diabetic Snacks for Kids – Recipes and Ideas
Fun and Easy Halloween Snacks for Kids on the Spookiest Day in the Year
Go to the top of this article about Snacks for Kids
Go to the homepage Healthy Kids Snacks