Do your children only want to eat junk food after school? Filling up on empty calories can hurt your child’s health in many ways, including leaving him or her with no appetite for nutritional foods.
Start with keeping junk food out of the house and stocking your pantry and refrigerator with nutritious snacks. Sweets and junk food are likely your child’s first picks from the pantry, but they can’t eat it if it’s not there. Substitute the sweets with healthy snacks and they will get used to eating the alternative.
Also keep these other nine tips in mind when packing their lunch boxes or providing after school snacks.
- Keep fruit and vegetables washed and ready to eat in single-serving containers. Also, fruit packed in its own juices is a healthy option.
- Jell-O and fat free pudding cups are good snacks that appeal to most children.
- Cheese cubes or string cheese are good sources of protein.
- Peanut butter paired with whole grain crackers, mini waffles or pita bread is a good source of whole grains and protein.
- Make a snack mix with whole grain cereal and dried fruit.
- Low-fat yogurt and dairy products are wonderful sources of protein and calcium.
- Mini-wraps, made with low-fat cream cheese and low-fat ham or turkey, makes a tasty, healthy snack.
- Breakfast items, made with whole grains and low-fat milk or soy milk, can make a great snack any time of the day.
- Milk is a great alternative to soda and provides a good source of calcium for growing children.
Don’t forget to keep healthy foods convenient for your kids to pick out and ask them for healthy snack ideas. Keeping foods available makes it easier for your children to be independent on making healthier options.
Send us your health and nutrition questions, and our team of dietitians will answer them in an upcoming blog.