Teach your kids what a healthy snack looks like with these 15 snack ideas
It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, they never stop asking for snacks! I can’t count how many times a day my kids come up to me and ask for a snack. Most of the time I don’t mind getting one for them, but there are a lot of times when I want them to learn how to choose and prepare a snack for themselves. Which means, I need to teach them what a healthy snack looks like!
The first thing we need to determine is what kind of snack do kids need? As you know, different foods should be used in different situations. If your kids are sitting and watching TV, then they don’t need a sugary or carb-heavy snack. However, if your kids are about to go to soccer practice then they do need carbs and sugars to have the energy to play. If you can help your kids understand how food works, you can help them pick the right snack for their activity level.
Let’s break this down by macros so you can help your kids reach for the right food for their nutritional needs.
Carbohydrate snacks: For energy
Carbohydrates play a very important role in our bodies. Carbs are used as our first form of fuel. They also play an important role in cognitive function and mental clarity. The problem is that we usually eat more carbs than our bodies need, so we end up storing the extra carbs as fat. We should make sure that we give our kids carbs because they are usually very active, but we want to make healthy carb choices and eat carbs at optimal times.
I always make sure my kids have carbs during school hours because they need those carbs to process everything they’re learning and to keep them alert. I also give my kids carbs before I send them to soccer or baseball practice. I want them to have that quick burst of energy so that they can perform at the highest level.
That being said, I like to pair those carbs with fats because fats burn at a slower rate and will give my kids a second wind once they burn through the carbs.
Here are a few of my favorite carb-based snacks:
Bananas with peanut butter and mini chocolate chips
Popcorn - it’s best not from a bag, but do what you can mama!
No-bake energy balls - make these up ahead of time and keep them in the fridge or freezer for a quick snack!
Toast - make sure you’re picking a healthy bread to start with I love Dave’s Killer Bread, they even have a delicious white bread that kids will like! Top with peanut butter, cream cheese or avocados
Hummus with pretzel thins or veggies!
Protein snacks: For recovery & growth
Next up is protein! Protein helps repair and build muscle and tissues. It is vital for healthy hair, skin and nails. Protein even supports the immune systems and wards off illness. Long story short, our kids need protein!
Studies have shown that 1 in 7 school-aged children aren’t getting enough protein in their diets. It’s vital that we give our kids protein-based snacks so that they can grow healthy and strong in these critical years.
My favorite go-to protein-based snacks
Yogurt - Greek yogurts provide the most protein!
Deli meats - roll them up with cheese or veggies for an extra punch!
Fat snacks: For growing bodies
Fats are another important factor in helping our little ones grow up strong. Fats are key in developing the eyes, brains and cell membranes; they also help with the absorption of vitamins. Please, don’t restrict healthy, unsaturated fats from your kids’ diets. Fats play such an important role in growing bodies that we can seriously hurt our kids if we don’t allow them to eat fats.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we should be teaching our kids the difference in healthy and unhealthy fats. Deep-fried foods will be dripping in fats, but they aren’t going to give our kids the nutrition they need. Encourage your kids to get fats from whole foods. Make sure that the oils you cook with also come from whole foods: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and grapeseed oil are just a few examples.
Fat-based snacks can include:
Seeds - Sunflower seeds are great, or you can add chia seeds in their yogurts or smoothies
Avocados - either on their own or on toast!
Olives - these are fun for little kids and you can practice counting with them!
Cheeses - Baby Bell cheese is great because it’s portioned out for you!
Dark chocolate - get them used to the taste now so that they have a healthy snack for life!
When you teach your kids what the purpose of their food is and how to make smart choices, they’ll be able to reach higher levels and you’ll set them up for success later in life.
If you need to learn more about nutrition and macros so that you can pass that knowledge down to your kids, then let’s chat! Hop on a free discovery call with me and we can work together to provide you with the knowledge to change your family’s future.