Quick Snacks for Kids
What's Wrong with Snacking?
People get hungry and have the munchies. They need something to sustain them until their next meal – nothing wrong with that. Nothing is wrong with snacking as long as you snack on the right kind of food and at the right time of day. Otherwise, a person eventually gets a succession of health issues such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Anyone involved in competitive sports knows the value of snacking healthy if the players are not heading home for fulfilling lunch or a hearty dinner right after the game. Though, some players need that extra push in the middle of a game or meet.
Snacking is a habit for kids on the go or not on the go. Every parent knows what happens to their kids if they skip something to eat – meltdown or one grumpy kid.
The puzzle is that kids are not aware of how much they eat compared to when they sit down for lunch or dinner. They don’t think about compensating a snack for a meal or how many calories they consumed when they drank a box of juice or can of sugary soda. Most often they eat more calories than their daily requirement, and the snacks are not healthy such as an apple, orange, or low-sugar power bar.
Yale Reports on Snacking Habits
Yale School of Medicine reports:
- High-calorie snacking is a major cause of childhood obesity;
- Children are getting 27% of their daily calories from snacks;
- Most snack calories are not healthy choices, but sugary dessert, drinks, and salty chips.
Some adults set a poor example because they snack without forethought and eat in boredom while watching television.
Snacks Prevent Low Blood Sugar
Being around a child or an adult who is hungry is not pleasant. They are grumpy and unnerving. Knowing what kind of snack to have and when to have it is crucial.
Some people suffer from health problems such as low blood sugar or low iron levels. A snack prevents them from experiencing light-headiness or nausea.
Top Snacking Habits to Avoid
- Mindless Self Indulgence — You eat a bag of chips or candy while watching a movie is dangerous. You munch away without noticing the bag dwindling down nothing. Be aware and use a small serving bowl, put away the rest for another day.
- Eating Your Feelings — Bad days happen, you’ve all experienced it but eating ice cream or cookies all the time leads to obesity and more health problems.
- Snacking at Night — Night time is the worse time to eat, so respect the cut off time. Not only is it not necessary it interferes with sleep. Your body needs rest while it is sleeping not digesting your food all night.
- Snacks are Not Meals — Snacks are small and healthy, not eating all day long. Eat an apple, an orange or a banana, rice cake with almond or peanut butter but small portions.
- Eat at Mealtimes — Eating a snack to replace a meal is not healthy. Your body needs a routine, so eat when it is breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Snacks tend to be less healthy than meals. Meals are better for you. You can skip snacks, but not meals. Don’t make it a habit.
Snack Time Between Meals
Most people know if they need a snack during the day for their wellbeing and mood. The best time to snack in between meals such as 10:30 AM or 3:30 PM. These times won’t interfere with your meals but keeps your energy level up. Don’t snack for snack sake. Snack if you are hungry.
Be smart and plan snacks around unexpected or expected shifts in your schedule. If you have a meeting at 11:30 and know it will run through lunch, eat an apple with almond butter as a snack. That way, your energy levels will sustain you, and you avoid the embarrassment of your stomach growling.
Regular exercising means snacks are a good idea. Eating before your workout ensures you have enough energy throughout your workout. A healthy snack like an orange or an apple after your workout is just as important. Make sure it’s a snack on a meal. At lunch or dinner, you can replace the nutrients your body requires to function well.
What to Snack On?
At snack time, you concentrate on eating protein and fiber-rich foods like unsweetened yogurt, almonds, pears, blueberries, raspberries, or apples. All of these foods are rich in nutrients with vitamins and minerals.
When you are away from home, bring your snacks with you such as:
- A small bag of raw nuts contains protein.
- A small piece of cheese or low-fat yogurt is just the right amount.
- Hummus with carrot sticks or celery is good for the heart.
- Easy to eat fruit like berries, apples, oranges, and bananas are ideal.
- Wholesome crackers, pretzels, or trail mix are fun and tasty.
Snacks at Home
Snack time at home is a fun option because you have the freedom of many choices. Don't go hog wild. Keep the portions small. Some good choices are:
- Kale, pineapple, berry smoothies with coconut milk or water.
- Cream cheese on a piece of toast with fresh berries.
- Banana with Nut Butter
What Do You Like to Snack On?
Creating snacks that are yummy requires bright ideas. I whip up hummus and fresh cut vegetables as a snack during the day. We get busy, and in a rush, so hummus and veggies take the edge off the day as a perfect fast snack. Hummus is a recipe that is easy to make. It consists of chickpeas, tahini, oil, and lemon. Whipping these ingredients together makes an excellent source of energy. The veggies I use are carrots, celery, cucumber slices, and beets.
You don't have time to make hummus. Reach for a banana and head out the door. Bananas are fantastic as a "pick me up fruit" because they are a great source of energy. They contain carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamin B6. All are energy boosters for the body and keep you going and avoiding the afternoon slumps.
High Energy Balls
High Energy Balls are perfect for anyone who gets tired of nuts, dried fruit or fresh fruit as snacks during the day. The balls are easy to make. You combine equal amounts of toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds, toasted chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped apricots or mangoes, and raisins. Using a medium-size bowl combine the ingredients with a wooden spoon.
Then, add enough almond butter to make the ingredients to stick together. The ratio should be 2 cups of nuts and dried fruit to 1 1/2 cups of almond butter.
Then, add honey and sea salt to taste with zest of one orange.
Mix the ingredients, roll 1-inch balls, and roll them in shredded coconut. Store the High Energy Balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
I substitute ingredients based on what I have in my kitchen. I add herbs and flax seed or chia seeds.
Snack Love Notes
It’s best to consider snacks a special treat and fun pick me up in the middle of the day. Preparing your snack with forethought makes the whole process more real and not spontaneous or mindless. The whole idea is to get creative and enjoy taking care of yourself.
Yale School of Medicine
- Study finds snacking is a major cause of child obesity | Yale School of Medicine
A new study has found that high-calorie snacking is proving to be a major cause of childhood obesity.
© 2019 Kenna McHugh