Snacking is good for your children. It is an eating event that is more than just an extra treat in a toddler’s life – snacking is as important as a meal. Snacks help your kids stay focused at school and give them essential nutrients. It is a very rare sight to see a child finishing his or her entire meal. That is why all mums should consider providing snacks along with meals.
Kids’ energy needs are constant, so they require more than three traditional meals a day. A child needs to take about 20% of his or her energy and nutrients from snacks. To keep your kid’s energy levels going, it is important to steer clear of foods with lots of added sugars and high fat content. Mums should think of snacks as a mini-meal and opt for those healthy snacks for toddlers and preschoolers that are filling, sustaining and add to the quality of their diet. Look for protein-rich snacks such as peanut butter or low-fat yogurt or cheese.
Snack time is a great time to feed your kids with foods they are not getting at their regular meals. Well-timed and healthy snacks for kids can help to boost their nutrition levels, and most importantly, keep the hunger monster at bay. Most toddlers do well with three traditional meals plus two or three snacks a day at mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and maybe after dinner.
To most kids, a snack is a bag of chips, some cookies or colorful candies. But as a smart snacker mum, break away from the usual snack packs and offer your kids some healthy munchies instead. Here is a guideline to help you get started:
Smaller children may need more but smaller portions of snacks than older kids because little ones have little tummies that hold less.
Add meals and snacks at predictable times into their daily routine.
Eating-on-the-run can be a choking hazard. Expect your children to eat their snacks without the distraction of the television or video games.
Avoid serving anything that is hard or difficult to chew.
Offer nutrient-dense snacks that are otherwise lacking in their daily diet.
If you are going to the park, the mall or an amusement park, have some handy snackswith you to avoid stopping for fast food or other less nutritious snacks.
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