August 31, 2016

Get a Knack for Healthy Snacks for Kids

Most kids, from toddlers to tweens and teens, need to snack between meals for two key reasons: One, and particularly true for younger children, is their stomachs are small and they’re typically not able to consume enough food at three meals to get the energy (calories) they need. Two, snacks provide the opportunity to offer children healthy foods that complement the foods they eat at meals and complete their nutrition requirements. I get into the details in my latest Splenda Living blog.

“Generally, toddlers and preschoolers need two to three snacks per day. Young school-aged kids and teens need one to two snacks per day, with the caveat that as they get older and their portions get bigger, they need fewer snacks. An exception is child and teen athletes who practice more than an hour a day who may need an additional snack or more food in their snacks,” says Jill Castle, MS, RDN, CDN, Childhood Nutrition & Feeding Expert and co-author of Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School.

But research shows kids are snacking too often and the foods they choose are too often salty snacks, candy, sweets and sweetened beverages, foods with too many calories and not enough nutrients. Pair this with the knowledge that children need to eat more fruit, vegetables, legumes, low fat dairy foods, and substitute whole grains for refined grains. Unfortunately too much snacking and too many calories from less-than-healthy snacks is one reason that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese.

It’s time to get a knack for healthy snacks. Read more for healthy snacking for kids, smart snack ideas and recipes to whet your kids’ appetites. Read more ...