All snacks are not created equal. It’s important for every parent to know the difference between a snack and a treat. Hint: snacks should be healthy.
What is a Snack?
First things first, kids need to have at least 2 SNACKS a day to keep their energy levels up. It’s always a good idea to pack a snack for a mid-morning meal – granola bars or peanut butter crackers work well, especially because both are easy to throw in a backpack. Another good time for a snack is after school. Snacks are meant to be eaten to bridge one meal to the next so we don’t have to listen to “I’m starving. When’s dinner?” We have control over snacks in the backpack, but not sneaky hands at home. I don’t know about you, but I have caught my kids’ hands in the cookie jar more than once.
Here are some ideas of healthy, good for you and tastes good too, snacks that will give your kids energy and the nutrients they need: fruit, nuts, yogurt, cut up veggies with hummus (great source of fiber), popcorn, string cheese, celery or apple slices with peanut butter, bananas blended with low fat milk and low fat yogurt. It’s a good idea to consider these items staples and keep them in the fridge at all times. Keep this in mind: an orange will give you quick energy now and Vitamin C later. A handful of potato chips contains a lot of calories and fat, which kids don’t need, and only leads to another handful of potato chips.
What is a Treat?
Now, what is a TREAT? A treat is given when kids are good, they need to be bribed or you just can’t help giving them sugar because you love them so much. In fact, when you give your kids treats (usually high sugar foods) at snack-time, all you are giving them is empty calories, or high energy foods with poor nutritional value. Instead, consider offering your kid healthier options like foods that contain whole grains, which will keep them feeling full longer.