Snacking can be an important part of a healthy diet. Snacks help with hunger between meals and can also contribute important nutrients to your daily diet.
Does my child need more than one snack each day?
Snacking is especially important for children. When timed correctly, snacks can help kids get the energy they need. Most kids need to eat every 3-4 hours throughout the day.
Does it really matter what my child eats during snack?
Yes! Eating healthy snacks early in life is important because the foods that children choose now often set the stage for what they will choose to snack on later in life.
Can I really improve my health by eating a snack each day?
It is possible to improve your health with good-for-you snacks. It's a great way to fit in fruits and vegetables you may not usually have with breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Trading your orange flavored cupcake for a real orange will save calories and gain Vitamin C. Choosing a handful of carrots over a carrot snack cake can also help you save calories while reaching your daily recommended amount of Vitamin A.
What makes a healthy snack?
The goal of snacking is to eat just enough to control your hunger without feeling too full. A snack should have about 200 calories. Aim to eat from the major food groups when snacking. And remember, beverages count as well as food. Some healthy snack options include:
Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese
5 Ideas for Smart Snacking
With so many options available it can be hard to make healthy choices when snacking. Try these 5 ideas for Smart Snacking:
- Make healthy snack choices the easy choice. Keep snacks from the major food groups handy.
- Let snacks fill in the gaps. If you or your child misses fruit at breakfast, have fruit at snack time.
- Time snacks carefully. Snacks should be offered 1 to 2 hours before meals so you or your child will still be hungry for lunch or dinner.
- Keep snacks small. If your child is still hungry, he or she can ask for more. Let your child decide what’s enough.
- Go easy on sugary drinks. Offer fat-free or low-fat milk, 100% fruit juices or water as snack drinks. Sugar sweetened drinks can crowd out foods your child needs to grow and stay healthy.