My two kids are snackaholics! They eat a meal and ask for a snack about 45 minutes later. I used to get irritated with this but then realized that their little stomachs cannot hold a lot of food at once and that by snacking on healthy food throughout the day, that is really much healthier for them. I am not a fan at all when it comes to the typical grocery store snacks. If you walk down the snack aisle, you will find all kinds of junk that has unhealthy oils, crazy amounts of salt, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, sugar and more sugar, and preservatives galore!
I know, it is hard not to be attracted to this particular aisle at the grocery store because we see these snacks being advertised on tv, in magazines and on billboards. And, to make it even more confusing, many of these say “natural” to make you think you are eating well.
Well, let me tell you right now, this aisle can offer you nothing but unhealthy ingredients. This aisle is one of the reasons that Americans, both adults and children, are so overweight. Stay away from this aisle! I repeat, stay away from this aisle! It doesn’t seem like a big deal but over years and years of eating unhealthy snacks, your body is going to pay for it.
Some different snacks I have found that are healthy for you and your kids are nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews and pistachios. Avoid nuts that are packaged or roasted in oil. It is best to eat them raw. I usually buy nuts at a health food store.
Grabbing a piece of fruit is always a healthy snack. When you eat a piece of fruit, you are getting all of the vitamins and fiber that fruit has to offer. If your toddler doesn’t care much for fruit, like mine (except he will eat a cut up apple), try making a green smoothie with fruit and vegetables. Both of my kids love green smoothies and it is an excellent way to get both fruits and veggies into them.
Another snack that my kids enjoy are seeds. Pumpkin seeds are some of their favorites and we will sprinkle cranberries (without all the added sugar) in with the seeds. Such a delicious and healthy snack!
We also like Kind Bars in my house. These bars have healthy ingredients that I do not mind my children eating. When it comes to bars, I read the labels very carefully. Most of them have a ton of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients in them. We get Kind Bars from the health food area at Kroger.
My daughter is 6 now and we talk about nutrition all the time. She takes a mixture of almonds and pretzels, a Kind or Lara bar, organic baby carrots, green beans, fruit and Amy’s organic soup in her lunch. She loves it!
She comes home and tells me what the other kids are eating at school in their lunch or from the school cafeteria. I cringe when she talks about it. Even if she wants a snacky-type food in her lunch, I will not shop in the snack aisle at the grocery store. I will, however, go to the health food store and at least find something there that is a snack-type food but not unhealthy. We just found some fruit leathers from the health food store that are organic and both my kids love those.
I feel wholeheartedly that is it our job, as parents, to fortify our children with healthy food to help their little bodies grow. I feel it is our responsiblity to teach our kids about nutrition and how to properly fuel our bodies.
Don’t forget to read those labels!