Your kiddos are growing like weeds, and keeping them well-fed with nutritious meals and snacks is of the highest importance. There are hundreds of pre-packaged snack options on the market, and while this might seem like a convenient option, in truth, these snacks could be harmful to your child’s health. While you might spend a lot of time making delicious and nutritious meals for them, the same emphasis should be put on the snacks in between, too! In this article, we’ll explore the importance of healthy snacks.
At Smart Start Child Care in Bowling Green, Kentucky, we are a daycare provider that offers whole-child infant and toddler programs, after school child care, and summer daycare for kids. To learn more, browse our website, and give us a call to schedule a tour. We are enrolling in three locations—contact us now to get started!
Learn more about the importance of healthy snacks here.
Look for Snacks That Are High in Protein
So many of the snacks out there are filled with sugar, complex carbohydrates, and other ingredients that might taste good, but they are likely to cause an energy crash not long afterward. Not only that, but the sugars and processed carbohydrates can cause a spike in blood sugar, which can lead to health issues down the road. Your best bet is to look for foods that are high in protein, dense in nutrients, and that provide long-lasting fuel for the day to come. Nuts, for example, are very high in fiber and protein, as well as vitamins and minerals that keep the body nourished. The antioxidants they contain can help fight off infections (very important at this young age, especially!). More than that, they can reduce hunger, which is great when your kiddos need a snack that can tide them over until dinner!
Set a Routine for All Meals
At Smart Start, we believe that routines are critical to a child’s success now and throughout their lives. The same goes for the times that children eat! Instead of letting them graze throughout the day, set times for all meals and snacks so they don’t engage in mindless eating. If they have eaten their snack and are feeling hungry before dinner, it could be that they’re actually thirsty or that they’re bored. Try to avoid letting them fill up on treats before meals.
Don’t Use Food as a Reward
When you reward your child for good deeds with a sweet treat like ice cream, cake, or other sugary foods, you’re teaching them that these foods are more important than the rest. In truth, they should be taught to seek out foods that are dense in nutrients such as nuts, fruits, and vegetables. When you do want to reward your kiddo for a job well done, opt for small rewards such as a trip to the park, a small toy, or something else that will be seen as special. Also be sure to separate meal times from time in front of the TV so they are eating mindfully and better able to determine when they’re full.
Healthy Snacks to Try
We’ve already mentioned how healthy nuts are, and the wonderful nutritious benefits they bring! In addition to almonds, here are some other snacks that are rich in vitamins and minerals and that aren’t just empty calories:
- Slices of cheese or string cheese
- Applesauce (watch the added sugar content!)
- Low-sugar yogurt (if it has artificial colors, it’s likely to have a lot of sugar in it, too)
- Sliced veggies such as broccoli, avocado, carrots, etc.
- Fruit and veggie smoothies with no added sugar
- Trail mix (avoid the kinds with candy added)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Veggies dipped in hummus
- Fruits dipped in sugar-free yogurt
We hope that this article has helped you learn more about the importance of healthy snacks! When you’re in need of infant and toddler programs, summer daycare, or after school care for your little one, come to Smart Start! We are a Bowling Green daycare with three convenient locations, and we look forward to seeing you. Contact us now to get started!