Making Snacktime Healthier for Children
By Donna Stark
There may be nothing more comforting than that afternoon snack you serve your children the second they walk into the door after school, but comfort shouldn't be the only thing you shoot for. Making sure the food your children eat is healthy and packed with nutrition is just as important, if not more! And that includes what they choose for snacks. So, put down those cookies and ice cream bars and start a new trend. It's time for healthier eating in your home.
Don't worry! Healthier snacking doesn't mean you have to offer lima beans or plain rice cakes to your children. It just means there are ways to make their tried and true favorites better for them. Check out the following suggestions.
- Applesauce - We all love the ease and convenience of those single-serve applesauce pouches, but be careful! Many brands are loaded with sugar. Sugar-free versions or the applesauce that you make yourself is better, but if you want to make sure that your children are consuming enough fiber in their day, why not just give them an apple on its own, skin and all?
- Yogurt - The same thing that is said about applesauce can be said for yogurt. If you aren't careful, you may as well just feed your children spoonfuls of sugar, especially if you serve them yogurt that has candy bits to sprinkle on top. If your child loves yogurt, buy some Greek yogurt instead and top with fresh fruit.
- Energy or protein bars - It seems like they have healthy ingredients and appear to be good for you, but energy bars often have as much sugar as your standard candy bar. If protein is what you are looking for, try spreading some organic nut butter on celery sticks, apple slices, or whole-grain toast.
- Cereal - If the cereal shelf in your pantry is the first place your children run to, fill it with boxes of organic, whole grain options. Most of the sugary cereals that line your grocer's shelves will only fill your children up with empty calories and tons of sugar and preservatives. And if your children like a touch of sweetness with their healthier cereal, top it with some freshly cut fruit.
Don't worry about compromising the comfort your children seek after a long day at school. You can still give them what they need by offering healthy, nutrient-dense foods. And go ahead ... help yourself to some snacks too! There couldn't be a better time in the day to truly bond with your children.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Hoboken, N.J.