Healthy Snacks For Children
It is best to keep snacks healthy for children....
Why do children need snacks?....
Children are constantly burning energy, whether they are studying hard at school, taking part in sports or simply playing in the garden, they are using up their energy stores. It is important for children to replace the energy they are using to be able to sustain their energy levels, if they don't, you could find yourself with a very grumpy and irritable child on your hands. Children will get grumpy and irritable when they get hungry and their blood sugar drops, just like us adults do!!
The easiest way to increase their blood sugar levels again is by giving them a healthy snack, that will give their energy levels a boost when they come in from school or from whatever they have been doing. Don't let them eat snacks to close to meals though, because it could ruin their appetite!!
Choosing the right types of snacks....
When left to their own devices children will probably choose a highly sugared snack to eat as their bodies will subconsciously be wanting sugar. The fact that they children doesn't help them to make healthy snack choices either.
By giving our children healthy snacks that also taste good, we will be teaching our children to make healthier choices when it comes to them choosing their own snacks....Well, in an ideal world they would and we can only try our best!!
A few healthy snack ideas....
A few healthy snack ideas....
Juice And Wholegrain Crackers
A fresh glass of orange juice with a couple of wholegrain rye crackers topped with cheese or peanut butter and a high fruit content jam.
The orange juice is a good source of vitamin C which is vital for our bodies immune system and for the growth and repair of our bodies.
Whole grains are full of antioxidants which help to protect our bodies against diseases, they are also rich in B vitamins which are important for a balanced nervous system. Fibre is vital for 'sweeping' our bodies out. Iron and magnesium both of which are important for healthy growth.
Cheese is full of calcium which is vital for healthy teeth and bones. Peanut butter is high in protein which helps muscle growth and also a number of vitamins and minerals, which all go towards keeping your child fit and healthy.
Juice, Banana And Dark Chocolate
A glass of fresh orange juice, a few slices of banana and some dark chocolate, preferably with over 75% cocoa.
Eating just twenty five grammes of dark chocolate a day can benefit our health in a number of ways as it is packed full of antioxidants. It helps prevent heart disease and to keep blood pressure at a healthy level, it also helps to keep cholesterol levels down and it is also thought to reduce the chances of skin cancer.
Dark chocolate is an acquired taste for children but if you start by giving them a small amount they will get used to the slightly bitter taste and will grow to enjoy it. You could start by giving them a dark chocolate with a lower cocoa content and gradually increase the cocoa content as they get used to it.
Bananas contain natural sugars and are high in fibre. The sugars help to boost energy whilst high fibre foods help to in effect 'sweep' out our systems. They are also an excellent source of B vitamins and potassium. Potassium helps our bodies to regulate our heartbeat and can be depleted from working up a sweat by being physically active. B vitamins are essential for a healthy nervous system.
Making popcorn in a saucepan....
Not many people realise that popcorn is in fact a wholegrain, so it is definitely classed a healthy snack. Whole grains are full of antioxidants which protect our bodies against diseases and also contain B vitamins which are vital for our nervous systems. Iron and magnesium are important for growth and fibre helps to sweep our bodies out.
You can sprinkle the popcorn with cheese and some dried herbs or for a sweeter popcorn drizzle with honey and sprinkle cinnamon. The cheese is a good source of calcium which is vital for healthy bones. Honey is an amazing natural sweetener, why do you think bees produce it to feed to their baby bees? It is an antioxidant and also contains antibacterial properties and will give your child a good natural energy boost.
Many households have popcorn machines for popping their own popcorn in. You can get air popping machines that work by blowing very hot air on to the corn kernels and as they pop they come out through a spout in the machine or another style machine rotates the corn kernels on a hot plate until they are all popped, in this machine you can add oil if you wish. If you don't have a machine, you can easily pop your own in a saucepan. (See video clip)
You can also buy popcorn to pop in the microwave in a special bag, it is usually high in sugar and salt so it best to keep it last on the list.
Milk, Sultanas, Raisins And Nuts
A nice cold glass of milk and a handful of mixed dried sultanas, raisins, dried apricot pieces, cranberries, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds the list is almost endless, but I'm sure you get my drift!! This type of mix is easy to make up yourself and contains a really healthy balance of nutrients for your child.
Milk is full of goodness too and whilst full fat milk is fine for your child to drink, semi skimmed is actually better for them as it has a higher calcium content. Calcium is important for strong teeth and bones. Milk is also high in protein for muscle growth and development, vitamin A is essential for healthy eyesight and some B vitamins, which are good for the nervous system.
Dried fruits and nuts are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals and children enjoy the sweet taste of dried fruit. For a more specific guide on the health benefits of different dried fruits and nuts click on the link.
Juice Or Milk And Flapjacks
A glass of fresh orange juice or a cold glass of milk are both packed with vitamins and minerals, the milk is high in protein for muscle growth and vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps our bodies to heal and repair and also strengthens our immune systems
Homemade flapjacks can be a really good source of goodness for your child. They are really easy to make and you can alter the recipe to add dried fruits and nuts of your choice.
The honey in them is full of antioxidants and is anti bacterial. It will also give your child a natural energy boost.
Flapjacks are made with oats that are a wholegrain and are bursting with B vitamins for the nervous system, iron that is important for a number of bodily functions, it keeps our blood healthy and it aids with concentration (what child doesn't need help in that area?), it is also important for our immune systems and oats are also high in fibre.
I put coconut in my flapjacks as this gives them a nice and chewy texture, but you could put in a handful of hazelnuts or dried fruits if you wish, making them super healthy.
Click on the link for a slightly chewy oat and coconut flapjack recipe.
Milk and fruit
A cold glass of milk served with a plate of chopped apple and banana drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon.
Milk is high in protein for healthy muscle development, vitamin A for healthy eyesight and some B vitamins which are good for the nervous system.
Bananas are high in natural sugars and fibre. The sugars give a natural energy boost and the fibre helps to 'sweep' the body out. They also contain potassium which helps to regulate the heartbeat and is easily depleted through exercise and sweating.
The humble apple is probably the most under estimated fruit there is, they are packed full of vitamins and minerals. B vitamins keep our nervous systems healthy, vitamin A is important to maintain good eyesight and vitamin C helps the body heal and repair, to name but a few. When giving apples to your children, do keep the skin on, as a lot of the vitamins and minerals are lost when the skins is removed.
Honey is full of antioxidants and has antibacterial properties will give children a natural energy boost.
Cinnamon can help keep blood sugars stable and is beneficial to our stomachs and digestive systems.
Plain Old Bread And Jam
I remember being given bread and jam as a child and I still have it occasionally. Use wholegrain bread, sunflower margarine with a high fruit content jam and serve with a glass of milk or juice making it a nutritious sweet snack.
Wholegrain being full of antioxidants helps our bodies fight diseases, they are also high in fibre so help to 'sweep' out our systems and B vitamins for a healthy nervous system.
Using a margarine made from a healthy plant oil is a good idea, Sunflower oil is known to be an antioxidant and is also thought to lower the risk of heart disease by keeping bad blood cholesterol low.
A high fruit content jam is better than a low fruit content jam, it contains sugar which will boost energy and tastes good too.
You could use honey if you prefer.
The end of what feels like a very long hub.... My typing skills leave a lot to be desired!!!....
We can give our children healthy snacks that taste good too.
I hope the above hub gives some basic ideas for you to create your own healthy snacks for your children.
This hub was created in response to a question asked by the hubber KrystalD.
Copyright © 2012 Debbie Roberts
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