Snacks for Children

Snacking worries parents and they often try to prevent eating between meals. That isn’t necessary or even helpful.

 

Children’s energy needs are high, and they usually can’t eat a lot at any one time, so they need to eat about every 3 hours. What’s important is that you have control over the time of the snacks and the type of food. Timing of snacks

Offer snacks midway between meals. Give snacks long enough after the meal that your children know they’ll have to wait a while to eat again if they refuse the meal. That keeps children from refusing meals and then asking for food a short time later. It will be easier for you to refuse their begging if you know a snack is coming up.

If children have an early lunch and late dinner, they may need 2 snacks. Try having a snack with protein, fat, and carbohydrate in it 2 or 3 hours after lunch. Then offer a lighter carbohydrate snack, such as fruit juice or crackers, later in the afternoon.

Regulating snacks

Plan a reasonable snack time and get the food on the table. Then you will be in charge of the timing, location, and selection of food. If you wait for your children to request the snack, they may have made up their minds about what they want and you may have a struggle over food.

Selecting snacks

In general, snacks should be nutritious. Any food appropriate for a meal is okay for a snack. Snacks that you want to last a while should have some protein, fat, and carbohydrate, the same as a nutritious meal. Snacks should be big and substantial enough to be filling for a hungry child.

Nutritious snack ideas

Grain products

  • Bread products:
    Use whole-wheat products about half the time. Read the label to make sure the flour is enriched or is whole grain (the first listed ingredient should be whole wheat). Try a variety of yeast breads and quick breads, such as whole wheat, rye, oatmeal, mixed grains, and bran — plain or with dried fruit. Try rye crisps, whole-grain flat bread, and whole-grain crackers. Serve bread and crackers with cheese, peanut butter, or a glass of milk to give protein and fat.
  • Dry cereals:
    Choose varieties of cereals with less than 5 grams of sucrose or other sugar per serving. Serve with milk to give protein and fat. Add dried fruits, nuts, and seeds for variety and increased nutrients.
  • Popcorn:
    Try using grated cheese on the popcorn instead of salt and butter. Serve with milk or cocoa to give protein and fat. Be cautious offering popcorn to young children as they may choke on it.
  • Cookies:
    Bake your own cookies, substituting whole wheat flour for half of the white flour. Try oatmeal, peanut butter, or molasses cookies. Experiment with cutting down on sugar in recipes. Often you can decrease the amount of sugar by one third to one half. Serve cookies with milk to give protein.

Beverages

Use fruit juices and vegetable juices rather than powdered or canned fruit-flavoured drinks. Fruit drinks lack folate, fibre, and other nutrients provided by real juice.

Serve milk with bread, crackers, cereal, etc. Mix milk in a blender with a banana or other fruit or mix it with orange juice for a healthy milkshake. Try adding vanilla extract, honey, molasses, or even a little sugar. Use chocolate or strawberry flavourings for a treat sometimes.

Vegetable snacks
Cut up fresh raw vegetables. Be careful about serving broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower because young children could choke on them. Serve the vegetables with peanut butter, cheese, cottage cheese, or milk to provide protein and fat. (Use 2% or whole milk to give fat.) Add crackers or fruit juice for carbohydrates. Good vegetables include:

  • broccoli
  • green beans
  • carrots
  • green peas
  • cauliflower
  • turnip sticks
  • celery
  • zucchini
  • cucumber

Fresh fruit snacks
Slice the fruit or serve it whole. Serve it with peanut butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, ricotta cheese, or milk to give protein and fat. Good fruits include:

  • apples
  • grapefruit
  • oranges
  • apricots
  • grapes
  • peaches
  • bananas
  • melons
  • pears
  • berries
  • nectarines
  • pineapple

Dried fruit snacks, nuts, and seeds
Serve dried fruit with nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts) or seeds (pumpkin, squash, sunflower) to give protein and fat. Be very cautious about giving seeds and nuts to young children because they could choke on them. Nutritious dried fruits include:

  • apples
  • dates
  • pears
  • apricots
  • figs
  • prunes
  • bananas
  • peaches
  • raisins

Thank you to AboutKidsHealth.

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Jennifer McCallum

Thank you so much for stopping by this page to get to know a bit more about me and why I started Parent Guide Inc. My business story started a way back in 2001... …after the birth of my first daughter, I realized that an "all-in-one" resource guide for parents was needed, and fast! I designed the New Parent Resource Guide to fill a gap in the community for busy parents like myself. The New Parent Resource Guide offers an A-Z of key contacts for parents, caregivers, service providers, and health care professionals.  Working with key businesses and organizations in the community, we have also compiled much-needed articles, tips, and charts to answer all your parenting questions. The latest addition to our family is the School Age Resource Guide to serve parents of children, 3 to 18 years!  This guide answers questions about: nutrition, bullying, curriculum, building self-esteem, and much more, as well as offering a full directory of local and national resources. The Parentguide.ca website offers an “all-in-one” spot for parents to connect, add their own blog, and find needed resources in their community.  It is a site that educates and entertains and if you can't find somthing just ASK me. I am here to serve YOU!  My hope is that you connect with our members, find comfort in their words, and share your own story. My goal is to see what I can do to help make life a bit easier for you.   You are why I do what I do! I can’t wait to get to know you!  Comment below to tell me about yourself – then start blogging so we can find out what makes you get up in the morning!  Check out my blog too and I am sure you will be surprised what gets me out of bed each day!!! Jennifer -  Mom and Publisher

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