When it comes to raising healthy, happy children, nutrition is a big part of the equation. You want your kids to have the right fuel to power them as they learn and explore their world. Unfortunately, for parents, it can be a lot of work to plan not just nutritious meals but also snacks. Our kids can also have a different idea of what they’d like to eat, as opposed to what we prefer as parents.
One way to make your life easier and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing your child is getting the nutrients they need to thrive is to use a kid’s meal delivery service. With options like gluten-free chicken nuggets, you can find a happy middle ground for yourself and your kids.
What about that time between meals, however? Even with the best meal planning and healthy meals for picking eaters, you also want to provide snacks that are similarly going to provide your kids with nourishment.
Whether it’s a mid-morning snack or items that are healthy foods for kids’ lunchboxes, the following are things to keep in mind when it comes to kids' snacks between meals or food they have at school.
Keep Snacks Structured
A lot of what’s important when it comes to planning snacks isn’t just the food itself, but how you teach children about snacking.
Snacks can be beneficial for kids of all ages, and they can fill in some of the nutritional gaps they might experience if they don’t eat a lot at mealtime.
However, just like a structure for mealtime is important for kids, it’s also a good idea to keep snack times structured.
Schedule snacks around things like when your next meal will be, or for younger kids, perhaps when their naptime is. This will help avoid overeating too close to a meal. When you schedule snacks, it can also prevent eating from becoming a mindless habit or something done out of boredom.
Make It Convenient
Too often, it’s easier to reach for something unhealthy to give your kids as a snack, but there are ways you can keep it convenient for yourself.
For example, “snack prep” at the start of each week. Buy healthy items and separate them into individual containers or bags so they’re ready to go when your child wants a snack. You can also use these items for lunchboxes.
Keep Snack Time at the Table
Again, you never want snacking to becoming mindless. Eating should be something that your child learns from an early age is mindful. As part of that, even when your child is having a quick snack, require that they sit at the table or somewhere else where you can avoid a mess. Don’t have kids wander aimlessly with their snacks or sit in front of the TV. This creates bad habits that can contribute to overeating later on.
Fill Nutritional Gaps
Just like you want your children to be mindful eaters, you can also be mindful and purposeful in how you plan their snacks.
Think about the items they’re not getting during their regular mealtime and try to fill nutritional gaps with their snacks. For example, consider fruits and veggies perhaps cut into fun shapes or with the addition of peanut butter or yogurt dips. Snacks should be nutrient-dense, rather than empty calories.
Snacks that are a combination of protein and fiber are also filling and will provide them with a steady stream of healthy energy. Specific snack ideas include trail mix, cheese and apple slices, Greek yogurt, or celery sticks with peanut butter. Hardboiled eggs, oatmeal with fruit, fruit with cottage cheese, and different types of nuts are good snacks. Fruit smoothies can be a good option for snacks at home, and you may be able to sneak in some veggies as well.
Keep Snacks at Kid's Eye Level
Finally, kids like to feel independent and like they’re making their own choices. With that in mind, keep a healthy selection of snacks within reach for them or at eye-level. For example, maybe you have a dedicated shelf in your pantry or refrigerator stocked with nutritious snacks.