Frequent nibbling on healthy foods boosts energy.
Whether you have a toddler running around at your feet, a preschooler who goes non-stop, a grade school student who comes home hungry every day or a teenager who eats constantly, snacking is and should be a very important part of their day.
Toddlers and preschoolers
Toddlers and preschoolers are busy little bodies who need a constant supply of food for both nourishment and energy. Because they have tiny stomachs, it’s very difficult for them to go from meal to meal without a snack in between. Little snacks will also help keep blood sugar levels stable. A day without snacks can lead to fussiness, irritability, crankiness and tantrums.
Here are some great ideas:
- fresh fruit – may need to be peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
- steamed veggies
- beans – chickpeas, kidney beans, etc. String beans are great too
- frozen blueberries – great finger food, but messy!
- half a banana sliced lengthwise, spread with nut or seed butter and sprinkled with chia seeds – a super food that pump ups the nutrition
- rice crackers with nut or seed butter and a sprinkle of hemp seeds, another food that adds nutrition
- rice crackers with hummus – kids love to dip
- brown rice cakes with nut or seed butter, jam and a sprinkle of hemp seeds
- dried fruits – apricots, dates, raisins, cranberries, goji berries, apples – choose sulphite free
- smoothies – I like to use blueberries, raspberries, bananas, spinach, water and ice cubes, plus flax oil or bee pollen
- crispy rice squares (recipe below)
School-age and teens
For school aged children and teens, snacks also help maintain energy levels and blood sugar levels and provide nourishment. And their brains need a constant supply of energy to maintain focus and concentration for schoolwork. School age children and teens are also often involved in extracurricular activities and snacking provides the much needed energy for them to perform at their best.
The key with snacks is to choose real food instead of processed, which lacks nutrients, and is full of salt and sugar. So, what real food snacks can you serve up to your older kids? Here are some ideas:
trail mix – get a variety of ingredients – nuts, seeds, dried fruits, pretzels, cereals – and let them create their own
- fresh fruit – chop up fruit and make fruit kabobs for more fun
- vegetables and dip – hummus makes a great protein-filled dip for vegetables
- granola bars
- nut butter crispy balls (recipe at left)
- crackers and dip
- crackers and nut or seed butter, sprinkled with hemp and/or chia seeds
- cheese and crackers
- homemade treats – cookies, muffins and squares, which allow you to use healthier ingredients and less sugar than store bought varieties