The summer season has just arrived. It’s time to enjoy long days, fresh air and sunshine! However, it can be hard for kids to keep up their activity level when they are hungry. And if they are not getting the nourishment they need, it can create a downward spiral that leads to behavioral problems. Not to mention it will take their brainpower down too.
Why Do Kids Need Snacks?
Kids need snacks to fuel their bodies and brains. Snacks provide energy and nutrients that help kids grow and learn. When choosing snacks for kids, it is important to choose healthy options that will give them the energy they need to play and learn. It’s okay for them to have Cheetos and Capri Suns sometimes, but healthy foods are important to put into the mix.
Some good snack options for kids include fruits and vegetables, whole grain crackers or bread, yogurt, cheese, nuts, and seeds. These snacks are all packed with nutrients that help support growth and development. They are also quick and easy to eat on the go.
It is important to avoid over-eating sugary snacks such as candy, cookies, or cake. These foods can cause a quick spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a crash. This can leave kids feeling tired and cranky. Instead, opt for healthier snack options that will give kids sustained energy throughout the day.
Like we said, it’s okay to eat unhealthy snacks every once in a while, but these should not take up most the space in your child’s daily diet. Food fuels the body and brain, so it’s important to give them the right kind of fuel. It will maximize their energy, and keep them going until it’s time to sleep. A healthy diet can also help protect kids from getting sick.
5 Great Snack Ideas for Kids
- Fresh fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that are essential for good health. They are also a great source of energy. Try to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your child’s diet. You can make them fun by giving them dipping sauces, drawing faces on the fruit with nut butters, and having them help you make a fruit salad. You can also freeze fruit, and make popsicles out of the juice for a cool and refreshing snack.
- Whole grain breads and cereals: Whole grain breads and cereals are a good source of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates help to keep kids’ energy levels up. You can make these fun as well. We suggest letting kids put their own condiments on, or asking them to make shaped with the cereal. You can also add cereal to frozen fruit bars when you make them. It may not seem tasty, but give it a try. Your kids may love it!
- Lean proteins: Lean proteins such as chicken, fish, and beans are a good source of energy and nutrients. They can help to keep kids fuller for longer periods of time. It’s important for kids to get these in at breakfast if you have a long day, especially if your kids are active. They need all food groups to grow, but lean proteins will help build the muscles they use every day.
- Yogurts and cheese: Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are a good source of fats, calcium and other important nutrients. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth. Greek yogurt is a yummy source of dairy that is also high in protein. If your kids are dairy-free, you can substitute this group with non-dairy options.
- Water: Water is the best beverage for kids (and adults!). It helps to keep kids hydrated and it promotes the body’s toxin flushing functions. Dehydrated kids feel groggy, sick, and even pass out sometimes. We know you don’t want this for your kids. Keep them hydrated! While water is the most important form of hydration, you can also give your kids sports drinks after big activities. Keep a cooler with you at soccer games to keep them cold and enticing to your child.
Setting a Good Example
It’s important for parents to set a good example when it comes to healthy eating. If you’re constantly snacking on unhealthy junk food, your kids will likely do the same. Instead, try to have healthy snacks available that your kids can munch on, and show them that you like them too. Things like fruits, vegetables, whole grain crackers, and yogurt are all great options.
It’s also important to make sure your kids are staying hydrated. Water is essential for keeping the body and brain functioning properly. Encourage your kids to drink water throughout the day, especially during hot summer days. You can do this by modeling this behavior. Have a sip of water every time you tell your kid to drink some too. You can also pack healthy snacks and drinks in their lunchboxes or have them available as a post-activity snack.
With these fun and healthy snack ideas, you can help your kid fuel their body and brain all summer long! From frozen fruit kabobs to homemade trail mix, there are plenty of options to choose from. And with a little planning ahead, you can make sure that your kid always has a nutritious snack on hand to keep them moving all season long.