A recent article posted in Natural Solutions Magazine suggests that children are consuming foods that are dangerously increasing their intake of sodium and saturated fat. Toddlers and preschoolers are being affected by modern-day foods, with dairy foods and hot dogs being some of the main offenders. The focus is on snacks that are eaten away from home. It appears that young children consume about 50 calories in addition to their daily calorie intake by consuming sweet and salty to-go snacks. Being that the rate of obesity in children is rapidly growing, it is important to mindfully prepare a child’s dietary intake.
So what snacks should you avoid? Here is quick view of some healthy and unhealthy snacks for children.
Examples of unhealthy snacks:
- Baked goods
- Toaster pastries
- French fries
- Sugary cereal
- Anything you can buy in a vending machine
Most of these snacks are convenient and very satisfying, but they are loaded with sugar and salt. Another thing these items have in common is that they are processed and very difficult to digest! This could be very risky for the health of a growing child. There is absolutely no fiber or nutritional value in any of the snacks on this list.
Examples of healthy snacks:
- Cut up fruit and/or veggies
- Peanut butter (or other nut butters)
- Dried fruit/Fruit leather
- Sandwich cutouts
- Brown rice cakes
- Whole-grain crackers
- Banana sushi
These are examples healthy snack options that are both enjoyable and also provide some nutritional value. Get creative! Have your kids dip their apples in peanut butter, or dip their veggies in some hummus. After a while, you will see that your kids will favor these snacks and start to ask you for them.
A child’s first years of life are a critical period for instilling good eating habits. It can take time and patience to see what healthy options work for your children, but setting them up for success and a healthy lifestyle is a life-long reward.