Kids love snacking. If you feel like your kid wants to nosh nonstop, you’re not alone. In fact, research suggests that children consume about one-quarter (around 27%) of their total daily calories from between-meal snacks.
However, snacks aren’t inherently bad. And, actually, snacking can be good. Yup, I said it. Snacking can be good for our kiddos. So, you know when they come home ravenous after school (no matter what you pack for lunch)? The good news is that famished children make snack time a prime opportunity to sneak in beneficial nutrients… and to offer foods that kids might not be as willing to try at mealtime.
MAKING SNACKS HEALTHY
In celebration of Kids Eat Right Month, let’s dish about how to make sure you’re getting some good stuff into your kid’s snack time? It’s as simple as keeping these TWO factors in mind when planning snacks.
PROTEIN + FIBER — Like meals, snacks should consist of a complex or fiber-rich carbohydrate + heart-healthy protein. Think: fruit, vegetable or whole grain PLUS low-fat dairy, eggs, fish, beans, nuts or seeds. Carbohydrates provide the fuel. Protein provides the satisfaction and staying power to tide us over to mealtime.
PORTION SIZES — Just remember… a snack is a snack, not a meal. The goal is to keep little tummies powered for sports training, band practice or that homework marathon without ruining their next meal. Aim for snacks that provide about 100-150 calories for younger children, and a little more for children playing sports or older kids (200-250 calories).
ONE OF MY KIDS’ FAVE SNACKS + PRODUCT REVIEW
One snack my kids always love is a good applesauce pouch. Maybe because it’s portable? Or because it’s easy for them to grab? Their favorite pouch brand is GoGo Squeez… plain applesauce, cinnamon applesauce, berry-flavored applesauce. Doesn’t matter… they’re in. To add in some protein, I have them pair the pouch with a cheese stick or handful of almonds.
So, when GoGoSqueez sent me some samples of their new pouch varieties, my kids were ecstatic!
There are now lots of new flavors and variations: GoGo Squeez Fruit & Veggiez, Happy Tummiez (fruit and veggie with added prebiotic fiber for gut health), Yogurtz and Almond Blend Pudding pouches. While my kids love the new Yogurtz and Pudding pouches because of taste, I appreciate that they contain 4 and 5 grams of protein, respectively. With these pouches, it’s one and done for snacktime.
Oh, and here’s a soccer mom-dietitian tip: These pouches make great post-soccer game snacks!
DISCLAIMER: I did receive samples from GoGoSqueez to try. However, I did not receive any monetary compensation for trying or mentioning their product. All ideas and opinions expressed in this blog post are strictly my own.
MORE HEALTHY + EASY SNACK IDEAS!
If you’re looking for more kid-friendly snack ideas, check out my FREE10 Healthy + Easy Snacks for Kids recipe book. All of these kid-approved recipes include fiber + protein and are easy-to-whip together in 15 minutes or less!
And in the spirit of #TBT, I just came across this pic of me doing a #KidsEatRight segment on “Power-Packed Back-to-School Snacks” with the anchors from the News8 in Washington, DC… you know, back when we could actually do media segments in person. Ah, I miss those days…
PLEASE SHARE: What are your favorite after-school snacks? Please share. I’d love to hear from you!