6. Sweeten it up
Healthy snacks for kids don't have to be bland. To satisfy your child's sweet tooth, offer lower fat puddings and frozen yogurt or frozen fruit bars. Make smoothies 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. Make 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 different types of 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 marketed as low-fat or fat-free can still be high in calories and sodium. Likewise, foods touted as cholesterol-free can still be high in fat, saturated fat and sugar. Check nutrition labels to find out the whole story.
10. Designate a snacking zone
Restrict snacking to certain areas, such as the kitchen, and avoid connecting eating with screen time. You'll save your child countless calories from mindless munching. If your child needs to snack on the go, offer a banana, string cheese, yogurt sticks, cereal bars, carrot sticks or other drip-free items.
Teaching your child to make healthy snack choices now will help set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating. Start today!
Apr. 12, 2014
See more In-depth
- What's to eat? Healthy foods for hungry children. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://patiented.aap.org/content.aspx?aid=5733. Accessed Nov. 20, 2013.
- 25 healthy snacks for kids. American Dietetic Association. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=206. Accessed Nov. 20, 2013.
- Shop smart — Get the facts on food labels. American Dietetic Association. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=206. Accessed Nov. 20, 2013.
- 20 ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables. American Dietetic Association. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=206. Accessed Nov. 20, 2013.
- Jordan AB, et al. Reducing children's television-viewing time: A qualitative study of parents and their children. Pediatrics. 2006;118:e1303.
- Shelov SP, et al. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. 5th ed. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books; 2009:305.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed Dec. 18, 2013.