Do you and your child enjoy snacking in between meals? If done right, this can actually be good for your health! Here are a few great ways you can make the best out of snack time with your little ones
Does your child eat most or even all of his food during meal times, but then an hour later he's tugging at your shirt, giving you big doe-eyes and asking for a snack?
Do you find yourself stuffing little snack packs into your bag every time you go out because you know that pretty soon your little one will be rummaging through it like a ravenous raccoon looking for a tasty treat to satisfy his random hunger pangs?
Is your fridge and kitchen cupboard filled with all sorts of goodies on standby for when your kid just can't wait for lunch or dinner time to roll round and insists on having a small snack first?
Choosing the right kinds of food for snacking can be beneficial to your child's health and you can also use these snack attacks as an opportunity for some fun parent-child bonding, and even teaching (count the peas!) moments.
Ideas for healthy snacking
Don't worry about your child's snacking habits, because there are many healthy snack alternatives you can give him, which include:
Fruits and vegetables
Hold off on the sugary candy and grab some fresh fruit and vegetables for your child's snack time instead.
These tasty treats by mother nature are low in fat yet chock full of important vitamins and minerals such as potassium, dietary fibre, folate (folic acid), vitamin C and vitamin A.
Let your child "eat a rainbow" of fruits and vegetables by including all colours to get a complete range of health benefits.
Try blending some fruits with milk or yogurt to create a yummy smoothie to fill your kid's tummy until his next meal time.
Fun bonding moment: Teach your little one about different colours by pointing to the rainbow mix of cut fruit in his bowl such as red strawberries, purple grapes, green kiwi fruit, etc.
If your tot is old enough, then he can also have great fun helping you prepare a fruit salad by slicing up a banana, tossing in some blueberries and stirring it all together with a spoonful of greek yogurt!
If your little one does not have a nut allergy, instead of chocolate you can give him some nuts which are a great source of protein and is also good for his heart as they contain healthy substances such as:
- Unsaturated fats
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin E
Nuts will also keep your child fuller for longer and are convenient to bring out as a snack on the go when you're running errands or at the playground.
They can be eaten on their own or crushed/ sliced and added to salads, yogurt, cereal, fruit puree, and smoothies.
But do remember that whole nuts can be a possible choking hazard for young children, so make sure that your little one chews the nuts properly before swallowing, or offer small pieces of nuts that have been sliced or cut up instead.
Fun bonding moment: Choose nut butters for your kid to dip in his fruit slices (such as apples or bananas), or even his vegetable sticks (like celery or carrots). This helps to improve his developing motor skills.
Older kids can also work on their fine motor skills by cracking open their own peanuts and pistachios (under your careful supervision of course) to retrieve the delicious nut inside!
If your tiny tot enjoys chewy snacks but you're not keen on giving him artificially coloured gummy bears, you should opt for some healthy dried or dehydrated fruit instead.
Chewy choices are usually dried cherries, plum (prunes), apricots, grapes (raisins) or cranberries (craisins).
But watch out for the sugar content of some dried fruit though!
Fun bonding moment: Teach your tot how to count the number of pieces of dried/ dehydrated fruit on his plate. These are also great for your little kid to practice his fine motor skills as he picks them up with his tiny fingers to pop in his mouth.
Bigger kids can also use their fruit pieces as a fun way to learn about addition and subtraction.
What other nutritious and convenient snacks can you give your little one? Go to the next page to find out!