Too often kids are snacking on food high in complex carbohydrates and sugar. So why not teach your children from an early age that snacking is a great way to keep full but can also be good for you at the same time?
Young children have smaller stomachs than adults, so they need to eat every few hours to keep up their energy levels and get the right amount of nutrients.
Teens get particularly hungry during periods of fast development and snacks are important, particularly after school.
Snacks based on fruit and vegies, reduced fat dairy products and whole grains are the healthiest choices.
It is important to limit snacks that are high in sugar or saturated fats — such as chips, cakes and chocolate — which can cause children to put on excess weight. These ‘extra foods’ should only be offered occasionally. The simplest way to limit unhealthy snacks is to not buy them.
Ideas to help you ‘snack smart’
Stock the pantry, fruit bowl and fridge with healthy snacks, and include them in lunchboxes. Here are some simple ideas for healthy snacks that you can make at home or add to lunchboxes:
■ Fruit muffins or slices, baked using monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils and margarine instead of butter
■ Fresh, frozen, canned (in natural or unsweetened juice) or dried fruit
■ Raisin or fruit toast
■ Toasted English muffins, preferably wholemeal or wholegrain
■ Reduced fat custard with fruit
■ Rice crackers or corn cakes
■ Plain popcorn (unbuttered and without sugar coating)
■ Scones or pikelets (plain, fruit or savoury)
■ Plain breakfast cereals, such as wheat breakfast biscuits, topped with sliced banana with a drizzle of honey