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Healthy Snacking Tips

Who doesn't love a good snack? Most kids do, especially when they get home from school and need a little something to hold them over until dinner. Smart snacking provides kids with some energy to sustain their growing bodies and replenishes the vast amounts of energy they use throughout the day. Junk-food snacking, on the other hand, can be detrimental to your child's health and may even lead to obesity. The key is to know the difference between the two and opt for the first!

Healthy Snacking

The difference between healthy and unhealthy snacks is that healthy snacks provide some needed nutrition. Snacks that are not healthy are generally devoid of or have very little nutrition, and may set your child on the road to future health problems. Healthy snacks for tweens should consist of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The more natural, wholesome foods you can provide, the better! Some ideal healthy snacking options to keep on hand include:

  • Healthy spreads or dips, such as hummus, natural peanut butter, or salsa, which can be used with whole grain crackers and breads or for dipping vegetables. Healthy options include natural peanut butter with apple wedges, celery topped with peanut butter, or whole wheat pita triangles topped with hummus.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be the mainstay of any snacking family. Lots of fresh fruit, carrots, cucumber slices, etc. They provide fiber as well as plenty of nutrients.
  • Low-fat or soy yogurt topped with fresh fruit or granola, or graham crackers dipped in applesauce. Also, nuts, healthy cereal bars, popcorn, and fruit smoothies make ideal options.

To get your child to focus on healthy snacking, keep these tips in mind:

  • Discuss healthy snacking, why it is important, and get kids involved in choosing healthy snacks.
  • Keep healthy snack options in the house. Make unhealthy ones an occasional treat.
  • Keep kids on track with healthy snack options by setting up a behavior chart that uses positive reinforcement.
  • Be a good role model by engaging in smart snacking yourself. This will help increase the chances of your child doing the same.

Without a doubt, your child will encounter unhealthy snacks, whether at school or while visiting someone else's home. But if you take the time to teach your child about healthy snacking and get her used to eating them, you will be successful in creating a mostly smart snacker!