Finding healthy snacks for kids is a challenge that parents face almost every day. Pre-packaged snacks add a level of convenience that is much appreciated during hectic days. However, you sometimes might prefer to forego the pre-packaged options. Either way, whenever you need to select a snack, there are some helpful guidelines to consider to help you minimize sugar and maximize body-building nutrition.
Ingredients to look for or beware of:
Snacks that include such items as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables within the first three ingredients are typically healthier choices. The reason this top-three rule is important is that the first three ingredients are the ones that are most available within the snack.
As sodium is added to almost all of our food, it is important to remain vigilant regarding the amount of sodium kids are consuming. In fact, because most pre-packaged foods contain high amounts of sodium, it is recommended that you choose snacks that are labeled reduced sodium because they often limit sodium to 50mg or less.
When choosing a snack for kids, it is important to consider the sugar content. For instance, when you opt for a pre-packaged snack, you should be sure to check the label as it will display the total amount of sugar in each serving size. It is recommended that you choose a snack with lower amounts of sugar. Additionally, many labels now include information regarding added sugars. Added sugars refer to the sugar that is added to the food in addition to the sugar that naturally occurs within the food. When it comes to added sugars, it is recommended that you choose those snacks with approximately five to eight grams of sugar.
Protein and fat
Kids need snacks that contain healthy amounts of protein with a moderate amount of fat. These nutrients provide children with energy and help to keep them satiated for longer periods of time.
Although the thought of this particular snack often evokes images of the delicious yet decidedly unhealthy salt-and-butter-laden theater version, popcorn is comprised of whole grain, making it possible to enjoy as a nutritious snack. Additionally, air-popped popcorn is a great choice as you can forego sugary toppings as well as salt by adding just the right amount of butter. It is important to note that you should be very careful when providing popcorn to little ones as this delicious snack can pose a choking hazard.
Most people grasp that dried grapes are what raisins are made of. However, what many people do not know is that raisins are loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. Additionally, although this naturally sweet fruit is high in sugar, this snack can be very healthy for kids to enjoy in moderation.
For instance, raisins contain iron which many kids do not get enough of. This tasty treat also contains oleanolic acid. Oleanolic acid is a plant compound that has been shown to inhibit bacteria from sticking to teeth, which might help prevent the formation of cavities. Finally, raisins come in snack-sized packages, making this treat super convenient for families on the go.
Pickles are the result of a fermentation process in which cucumbers are placed in a solution of salted water for a specific period of time. Of course, if providing pickles as a snack is not on the top of your list, it is perfectly understandable. However, foregoing this tasty treat could be a mistake. For instance, pickles contain vitamin K, which contributes to overall bone and heart health.
Additionally, some pickles contain probiotic bacteria, which is important as probiotics play an integral part in maintaining the health of the gut. However, to reap this benefit, you should look for pickles that do not contain vinegar as this type of pickle does not contain probiotics. To enjoy pickles that contain probiotics, you can simply peruse the refrigerator section and choose pickles that contain live cultures.
Research has shown that including cheese in your diet is related to an overall higher-quality diet, and kids who eat cheese enjoy a decreased risk for developing cavities. The correlation between cheese and fewer rotted teeth is due to the surprising but pleasant fact that cheese is comprised mostly of fat, protein, and calcium.
These three powerhouse nutrients are all necessary for healthy development. In fact, the full-fat content of this food provides the nutrition kids require regarding magnesium, vitamins D and A, and calcium. This high-quality protein supports healthy growth and will keep hunger at bay between meals. Finally, cheese comes in sticks and rectangles, making this snack fun to eat.
5. Sweet potato fries
Packed with beta-carotene, a nutrient that contributes to the overall health of your skin and eyes, sweet potatoes are delicious and great for your child's body. Moreover, sweet potatoes in the form of fries can be a healthy and tasty snack alternative to the common French fry. For your kids to enjoy this snack, all you need is a sweet potato, some olive oil, and a dash of sea salt. You can simply combine the peeled and sliced potato with the salted oil. Next, you simply need to position each fry on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Hummus and any raw vegetable of your choosing
Hummus is made from the legume known as a chickpea. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and folate. Folate is a critical variation of vitamin B that plays an important role in supporting optimal health during periods of rapid growth. Chickpeas also contain antioxidants, which work to maintain healthy cells throughout the body. This creamy and delicious spread goes with just about any raw vegetable your kids enjoy. Additionally, this snack comes with the added fun of dipping, which is something all kids enjoy.
7. Peanut butter and apples
Another dipping delight, peanut butter and sliced apples can be gobbled up with or without the skin. However, peanut butter is thick, so you should consider mixing in some plain yogurt to make the peanut butter a bit creamier and more dip worthy.
8. Hard-boiled egg
This high-protein snack is a great option that you can keep on hand in the refrigerator whenever the need strikes. Additionally, this snack contains a variety of minerals as well as vitamins that are essential for kids’ healthy development. Furthermore, if you are looking for a snack that supports eye and brain health, you can stop looking. Eggs provide a good source of two carotenoids that support eye health. They also are soaked with choline, which facilitates healthy brain development.