Choosing healthy snacks and drinks for your children can be hard. There are many options.
Fruits and vegetables are good choices for healthy snacks. They are full of vitamins and low in calories and fat. Some types of crackers and cheeses also make good snacks. Other healthy snack choices include:
- Apples (dried or cut into wedges)
- Fruit leather (dried fruit puree)
- Carrots (regular carrots cut into strips so they are easy to chew, or baby carrots)
- Snap peas (the pods are edible)
- Nuts (if your child is not allergic)
- Dry cereal (if sugar is not listed as one of the first 2 ingredients)
- String cheese
Put snacks in small plastic bags so they are easy to carry in a pocket or backpack. Use small bags to give your child the right size portions.
Avoid junk food snacks like chips, candy, cake, cookies, and ice cream. It is easier to keep kids away from these foods if you do not have them in your house.
It is OK to let your child have an unhealthy snack once in a while. Children may try to sneak unhealthy food if they are never allowed to have these foods. The key is balance.
Other things you can do include:
- Replace your candy dish with a fruit bowl.
- If you have foods like cookies, chips, or ice cream in your house, store them where they are hard to see or reach. Move healthier foods to the front of the pantry and refrigerator, at eye level.
- If your family snacks while watching TV, put a portion of the food in a bowl or on a plate for each person. It is easy to overeat straight from the package.
If you are not sure if a snack is healthy, read the Nutrition Facts label.
- If the calories from fat are more than half of the total calories, the snack is not a healthy choice.
- Look closely at the portion size on the label. It is easy to eat more than this amount.
- Avoid snacks that list sugar as one of the first ingredients.