By Amanda C. (Contributor)
Edited by Ali Reza
When your kids are active and on the go, you want to make sure that they are eating the right foods to keep their energy up and not crash later. Processed snacks and junk food can give them a quick sugar buzz but it will soon wear off and can leave them dragging. Instead, you want to make sure that your kids have healthy options that will provide them with the vitamins and nutrients they need. A healthy snack can also help carry them through until mealtime.
Here are some ideas for easy snacks that you can take on the go and that are packed with nutrients:
Whole grain cereal: Who says cereal is only for breakfast? It can be a good pick-me-up in the afternoon and the whole grains leave your kids feeling fuller for longer. Keep a small bag or container of cereal in the car, your child’s backpack, or another travel bag so that you have it on hand when hunger strikes. You can even mix a few cereals together for variation.
Fresh fruits and vegetables: This is always a good option. They contain natural sugars but are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients. Prepare produce ahead of time so that when your kids want a snack, it is ready to go. They can grab a handful of grapes or other berries, orange slices, carrot sticks, an apple, or other seasonal produce. To give it an extra kick, offer hummus, peanut butter, yogurt, or ranch dressing as a dip.
Kale or sweet potato chips: If your kids are looking for something crunchy, you can make your own chips from kale or sweet potatoes. They are a healthier option than store-bought chips and taste great. You can season kale with a little sea salt or garlic or try other spices you enjoy. Cinnamon, honey, or brown sugar can add extra flavor to sweet potatoes.
Snack mix: Let your kids help put together a snack mix of their favorite healthy foods. Combine whole grain cereal, dried fruits, nuts, popcorn, pretzels, or other small items. They’ll have fun mixing it up and it offers a variety of different foods in one bag. If you store it in an airtight container, it will last longer and be ready to go when you need it.
Yogurt: Low-fat or non-fat yogurt can be a great option too. Add some fresh fruit such as strawberries or blueberries for additional nutrients. You can also top it with granola. Pour yogurt into popsicle molds and freeze for a healthy alternative to ice cream. You can also freeze containers of yogurt and put them in your child’s lunch box; by the time lunch rolls around, they’ll be defrosted yet still cold.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal can be eaten in many ways. Your kids could have a hot bowl topped with fruit or a little milk as a snack, or you can also use oatmeal in muffins, bars, or cookies. Making them from scratch puts you in more control of what ingredients are used and you can add fresh or dried fruits to change the flavor and increase nutritional value.
These are just a few options for keeping your children’s hunger at bay while boosting their energy. Encourage them to make healthy choices and have a variety of foods available. Limit the amount of junk food that you keep in the house and only eat it as a treat now and then. Look for foods that have protein and whole grains that take longer for the body to break down. This will keep your kids feeling fuller and can help maintain a more stable blood sugar.
Let your kids get involved in making their own snacks and picking out foods they enjoy. Try heading to the farmers market for fresh produce and allowing your children to select new foods they want to try. Eating healthy can be fun and creates lasting habits that your kids can carry with them as they get older.