We all love them but kids really NEED them!
A snack for an adult is often a treat. But a snack for a young child is important because children don’t eat much at meals. They need snacks to go and grow.
Don’t run to the kitchen every half-hour
- Most mothers find it easier to have a regular snack time in the middle of the morning and afternoon. It saves a lot of trips to the kitchen.
- Snacks are best about one to two hours before the next meal. If you give a snack or drink less than an hour before a meal, it can cut your child’s appetite.
- Sometimes you may have to give a snack close to mealtime because your child is too hungry to wait. Try giving some part of the meal such as milk, bread or a salad.
- Sometimes your child may just be thirsty — offer water.
Snacks “last” longer with some protein in them.
- A snack with some protein in it will keep your child from getting hungry again soon. Protein foods are foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, chicken, peanut butter and eggs.
Think of snacks as small meals between bigger meals.
- Give your child the same kinds of foods you would give at mealtime.
- Leftovers also make great snacks.
What Foods Make Good Snacks?
- Fruits! Bananas, watermelon, cantaloupe, apples, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes and carrots.
- Sandwiches! You can make so many kinds of sandwiches. Try something new like peanut butter and banana. How about a tomato sandwich or grilled cheese sandwich? Or try making a sandwich on an English muffin or a bagel.
- Try yogurt with fruit or make some pudding with milk.
- Cheese toast! Just melt some cheese on a piece of toast.
- Cereals, with or without milk.
- Crisp vegetables if your child can eat them. Or even cold, leftover vegetables they can eat with their fingers.
- Leftovers make great snacks! In fact, any food from the food groups of the Food Guide Pyramid makes a healthy snack.
Do Other People Spoil Your Child With Sweets and Junk Foods?
Try sharing this page with them. Let them know how much they can help you and your child by giving healthier snacks. Suggest specific snacks to give or take a favorite healthy snack for a grandmother or an aunt to feed your child at snack time. Encourage others to “treat” your child by doing things you might not have time for, like games, reading to them and art projects. This is much better for your child than candy and TV.
This page last updated on 3/04/08.