Healthy snacking is as important as healthy eating for children to maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain illnesses and promote their overall well-being.
As a parent, you would do everything possible to provide your child with not just nourishing meals but also healthful snacks for other times of the day.
However, once children begin school, it becomes easier for them to get into unhealthy snacking and difficult for you to keep track of what they’re snacking on.
To help reduce the chances of your child getting tempted to snack on the unhealthy stuff, we have put together some quick tips.
Team up with the school
Engage with your child’s school to know their snack offerings and nutritional standards. Typically, any school’s snacking guidelines would promote consumption of fruits, vegetables, low dairy products and other foods low in calories and specifically good for dental and bone health.
In addition to adhering to school’s snacking standards, engage with other parents to encourage the school to raise their nutrition standards and promote a healthier snacking program.
Educate your child about healthy snacking
It’s not enough to simply offer your child wholesome foods but you need to go ahead and teach them why certain foods are healthier than others and what they are specifically good for.
This will help to not only encourage good knowledge of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle but also enable your child to make right food and snack choices when they are away from home.
- Get your child involved in grocery shopping and teach them how to read food levels and identify the good and the bad.
- Familiarise your child with different healthy food choices and get them involved when preparing meals.
Pack the good stuff for school
If you think your child is too young to be able to make the right choices when it comes to snacking at school, it is advisable to pack nutritional snacks for your child to snack on during recess or break time.
- Make sure the snacks you send are as appealing to your child as snack choices offered by the school.
- Disguise the taste of foods that are healthy but undesirable to your child. For example, offer a sweet dip with slices of fruits or cheese dip with baked vegetables.
- Children have a strong tendency to imitate their parents. Use this tendency as an opportunity to promote wholesome food choices and good eating habits.
- Keep healthy snacks like granola bites, healthy muesli bars, roasted chickpeas nuts, quinoa snack bars, frozen yoghurt etc. always on hand so that your child can avoid the temptation to grab whatever (soda, cookies or chips) is in their sight.
Besides, you can work with a professional nutritionist to know the best food and snack choices for your growing child and encourage healthy snacking while your child is at school.