Based on a research from University of North Carolina in 2010, it is found out that almost every children in the United States snack at least once a day. This comes as no surprise nearly one-third of children in the US is overweight or obese. Although parents may easily get sucked in the snacking trap, there are a few do’s and don’ts that will prevent unhealthy grazing.
Plan the snack time
It is recommended for every parent to schedule regular snack times, just like having the daily three meals a day. The best way to do so is to create a predictable structure so that your children know what and when to expect a snack. In general, school-age kids that are active can be offered an afternoon snack. It is advisable to practice mindful eating, so do offer snacks while you’re having a meal with them. Ensure that the snack time is planned in such a way that your children have room for the next meal.
Similar to a balanced meal, snacks would be better if it two to three groups are incorporated. If prepping a snack is too much of a hassle, do look for brands such as Nurture inc. that offers fruit and vegetable snacks that are organic. On the other hand, you can prep a healthy trail mix with whole grain cereals, nuts, and dried fruit which also makes the perfect snack on-the-go. Also, fruits make the best kinds of snacks as there is no need for any preparation and it can help your child from mindless grazing and eating out of boredom.
Snacking according to age
Your children need snacks at each stage and age of growing up. For pre-schoolers, their total calorie needs are comparable to an adult. However, young children’s stomachs are not large enough to get enough from only three meals per day. Thus, snacking is a way for them to refuel throughout the day.
As your child enters school (ages 5 to 12), they need to snack in order for them to grow and learn. School lunch hours that are earlier in the day could cause your child to run on empty till their next meal. Snacking can help them be more attentive in class, have fewer behavioural problems as well as make lesser mistakes during their tests.
Know your limit
When your children get older, do allow them to be involved in the decision-making when it comes snacking. Avoid trying to use dessert and fast-food as a bribe for your child to finish the meal or eat the vegetable they hate. Always serve healthy choices such as yoghurt and fruit.