6. Sweeten it up
Satisfy your child's sweet tooth with low-fat puddings, frozen yogurt or frozen fruit bars. Serve smoothies made with milk, plain yogurt, and fresh or frozen fruit.
7. Have fun
Use a cookie cutter to make shapes out of low-fat cheese slices, whole-grain bread or whole-grain tortillas. Skewer fruit kebabs or show your child how to eat diced fruit with chopsticks. Make a tower out of whole-grain crackers, spell words with pretzel sticks, or make funny faces on a plate using fruit.
8. Promote independence
Keep a selection of ready-to-eat veggies in the refrigerator. Leave fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter. Store low-sugar, whole-grain cereal, and fruit canned or packaged in its own juice in an easily accessible cabinet.
9. Don't be fooled by labeling gimmicks
Foods labeled as low-fat or fat-free can pack plenty of calories and sodium. And foods touted as cholesterol-free can still be high in fat, sodium and sugar. Check nutrition labels to find out the whole story and make a smart snack choice.
10. Designate a snacking zone
Only allow snacking in certain areas, such as the kitchen, and avoid serving snacks during screen time. You'll save your child countless calories from mindless munching. For snacks on the go, offer a banana, string cheese, yogurt sticks, cereal bars, carrot sticks or other less messy foods.
Schedule snacks so that they don't interfere with a healthy meal. Skip snacks and juice within two hours of mealtime so that your child is hungry enough to eat with gusto a balanced, nutritious meal.
Teaching your child to make healthy snack choices now will help set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating. Start today!
March 04, 2017
See more In-depth
- What's to eat? Healthy foods for hungry children. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://patiented.solutions.aap.org/handout.aspx?gbosid=156587. Accessed Dec. 18, 2016.
- 25 healthy snacks for kids. American Dietetic Association. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=206. Accessed Dec. 18, 2016.
- Shop smart — Get the facts on food labels. American Dietetic Association. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=206. Accessed Dec. 18, 2016.
- 20 ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables. American Dietetic Association. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=206. Accessed Dec. 18, 2016.
- Chassiakos YR, et al. Children and adolescents and digital media. American Academy of Pediatrics. 2016;138:e20162593.
- Shelov SP, et al. Basic Care. In: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 6th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2014.
- 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Accessed Dec. 18, 2016.
- Hoecker J (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minn. Dec. 21, 2016.