“Don’t eat that, you will spoil your appetite!” If only you had a dollar for every time you heard that growing up.
However, if the right foods are offered at the right time, snacks can play an important role in boosting your child’s nutrition and managing hunger. A well-timed snack can provide an energy boost between meals.
Snacks can prevent younger children from getting so hungry that they become cranky, and it can prevent older children from overeating at meals. For picky eaters, snacks can be added to be sure they are getting the necessary nutrients.
This doesn’t mean that giving your child a cupcake before dinner is a good idea. The best snacks are nutritious, low in sugar, fat, and salt. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein are the best choices for snacks.
But it isn’t just about what you offer for a snack, it’s how much you serve and when. Pay attention to portion sizes and timing. You don’t want to interfere with your child’s appetite for the next scheduled meal.
Children who ‘graze’ all day long often have a hard time figuring out when they are hungry. A structured meal and snack schedule is a great solution. You offer the meals and snacks at the same time each day, and your child can decide what they want to eat and how much.
Click HERE for some ideas for kid-friendly snacks!