The top 10 snacks to offer your children!
I hate offering my children snacks that are loaded with sugar and caffine! This is my list of the top ten snacks I offer my children.
Good ole' plain water!
Water has no sugar and no caffine. It is the absolute best drink for your children! You can live weeks without food but you can make it more than a few days without water. Your body needs water to do it's job. Water helps maintain the volume of blood in the body, and it lubricates joints and body tissues. Everyone should drink about six to eight cups of water a day. Children are more active than many adults and should replenish thier water often, usually a cup every twenty to thirty minutes or so.
When giving your children juice, you need to make sure that the juice is 100% juice. Whether you make it at home yourself with a juicer or buy it at the store. Your children do not need added sugars or preservatives. You should limit how much juice your child has though. Children who are aged one year up to six years old should only have about four to six ounces of juice a day and older children shouldn't receive more than eight to twelve ounces a day. Juice should be a special drink that your child may receive once a day. Drinking juice, even 100% juice, can lead to obesity and cavities!
Vegetables should be offered to your children before fruits, simply because they are not sweet. Once your child develops a sweet tooth it is hard to get them to eat items that are not sweet. Younger children should be getting three servings of vegetables a day and children over six should get between three and five servings a day. When looking for a healthy snack, offer your children a few baby carrots or a slice up cucumber. In the long run, your children will benefit from you offering them these items instead of those processed, sugary snacks!
Fruit is like fruit juice and should not be offered as much as veggies! Fruit has natural sugar in it and can help your child develop a sweet tooth, but it still a better alternative than candy or cookies. Young children should get two servings of fruit a day and older children should get between two and four servings a day. The old addage is that an apple a day, keeps the doctor away! My children will go to the fridge and pick fruits over the processed sweets in the fridge! I can never have enough bananas in the house. EVER!
Hummus is simple to make and yet very enjoyable! You simply ground up some chickpeas and add what you want to them. My children love sea salt and sun dried tomatoes in their hummus. I serve them hummus with a whole grain cracker or pita chip. Hummus is an item that there is no set way to make. You can make it however you want to and if you make it yourself, you know what's in it! No hidden ingredients and no surprises!
I have a hard time keeping my children hydrated during the summer months. I think my kids would live outside if I let them. This is why i decided to start making them homemade popsiciles! It's super easy and the kids love them. All you need is an ice tray, some aluminum foil, a few toothpicks, and your child's favorite drink. This is where the 100% juice comes into play with my children. I just fill an ice tray with their favorite juice, cover it with aluminum foil and stick a toothpick in the foil! The kids love them because they are made with their favorite juice and Mom loves them too because they are cheap and have no added sugars!
Cheese and crackers!
If I let my daughter, I'm sure she could live off of cheese. Cheese is an awesome snack. It comes in a variety of flavors and just about everyone has their favorite type of cheese. Be sure when giving your children cheese, you give them real cheese, not cheese from a can or jar or any type of fake cheese. Offer different types of crackers as well, not just a plain old saltine. My children love cheese served with whole wheat tortillas. Try different things to activate your child's palate. They will appreciate you opening doors for them in the long run!
Yogurt comes in a ton of different flavors. Now my kids do love the fruit yogurts, but I try to give them plain yogurt as much as I can. You can do the same. Offer it with granola or their favorite multi-grain or low sugar dry cereal. It's a completely healthy snack that your kids will love. If you do have to get the fruit flavored ones, get the light options. The key here is to read the label and know what you are putting into your child. You could even use a few yogurt cups to fill your ice trays to make the homemade popsiciles mentioned earlier!
I can not tell you how awesome sweet potatoes are. You can do so much with them. Sweet potato fries. Sweet potato chips. My kids favorite is sweet potato dunkers. I take a sweet potato. Cut into strips and bake them. I then sprinkle cinnamon and a little bit of brown sugar on top. Then my kids dunk them into plain or vanilla yogurt. Even mom endulges in this one and I can tell you, they are yummy!!!!
Let your kids pick!!!
Yes, let them pick every once in a while. If they want a little candy, let them have it, but remember to read the labels. There are some candies out there that are good for them. Give them dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Give them whole fruit gummy candies instead of loaded with sugar gummy bears. This will make your children feel as though they get to decide what they want. You still maintain the authority in giving them healthy foods, but they get to spurlge a little bit. No one says you have to be a drill sargeant just because you want healthy children!!!
The best think to offer your children is the healthiest option. You know your children better than anyone and you should be the one that decides the best path for your children. Don't listen to anyone who trys to tell you any different!!