Children keep growing and also have small stomachs, so they often feel hungry. As a result, they need snacks in between meals to keep hunger at bay. Also, as children are very active and thus spend a lot of energy, three meals a day are not enough to meet their nutrition and energy requirements. So, it is necessary to provide them with snacks to fill the nutritional gaps. But having unplanned and random snacks can create problems for children, especially with regard to weight. Also, excessive and irregular snacking habits can interfere with children’s appetite and disrupt their eating pattern.
Therefore, parents need to understand a few things about healthy snacking. When children feel hungry in between meals, most parents provide them with readily available food items such as chips, biscuits and chocolates that are high in sugar. Such food items are called treats. A snack is different from a treat. According to the article, ‘Snacking Dos and Don'ts’ in popsugar.com, ‘It is important to know the difference between a treat and a snack. Essentially, a treat is empty calories and a snack contains nutrients your body needs and should offer protein and/or fiber’.
Parents can make snacking healthy by choosing the right food to be served as snacks. An ideal snack should be seen as a mini-meal and should contain protein, carbohydrate, fat, fibre, etc. Sugary cereals, sweetened drinks, etc. should be avoided. It is also important to pay attention to the portion size when serving snacks to children. Also, dedicated snack and meal times are essential to prevent hunger meltdowns and limit grazing.
To learn more about hesalthy snacks, flip through the pages of this ClipBook.
Choose an item that gets no more than 35 percent of its calories from fat, no more than 10 percent of its calories from saturated fat, and is no more than 35 percent sugar by weight. Fruits, cheese, nuts, and seeds are exempt.
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