SALT LAKE CITY — More often than not, kids are grazing on unhealthy, processed foods like chips and cookies throughout the day. Active, growing kids may need a snack between meals, but this should be planned and scheduled, like you do for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Kids also should eat snacks in a designated space – away from a screen – to prevent overeating and potential health problems later in life.
Tara Finnerty, Pediatric Dietitian for Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital shares how to plan healthy snacks for kids at any age:
Watch out for “sneaky snacks.” These are snacks that are disguised as “healthy” when in fact they can be the opposite:
· Fruit snacks
· Juice/smoothies/sports drinks
· Granola bars
· Protein bars
· Drinkable or squeeze-yogurt pouches
· Chips made from vegetables/rice cakes/pretzels
· Fat-free foods, which typically have added sugars
· Dried fruit
Instead of less healthy grab-and-go snacks for kids, take time to plan your own.
· Stock up on fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables.
· Aim for minimally processed foods. Tip: Look for labels with fewer than 3 ingredients.
· Avoid packaged foods with a long shelf-life.
· Avoid anything with added sugar. Check nutrition labels, which now are required to list “added sugar.”
· Pair snacks with a healthy fat or protein, such as cheese, yogurt, avocado, nuts, meat, egg, or olives.
· Limit starchy, refined grains, and sugars.
Here are some healthy snacks you can buy or package yourself as a healthy, fresh grab-and-go snack for kids:
· Hummus fondue
· Celery with cream cheese or peanut butter
· Yogurts with no added sugar
· Sliced fruit with ricotta cheese
· Hard boiled eggs or deviled eggs
· Turkey and avocado roll-up
· Fruit Kabobs
Quick snack options:
· Cheese wheels or string cheese
· Snack olives/nuts
· Snack cream cheese and pre-cut veggies
· Cutie oranges