Go Back To School With These Healthy Snacks For Kids
Back to school time seems to arrive faster and faster every year and, with it comes more required planning and preparation. We return to the routine of shoelaces, lunchboxes and afternoon snacks. In the peak period of busyness, it’s important that we don’t fall back on unhealthy habits - the beginning of the year creates the opportunity for improved rituals, positivity and, importantly, new snacks!
With the guidance of nutritionally-led Juiced Life, we’ve compiled a list of healthy snacks and top tips for making the daily lunchbox simple and delicious.
Healthy Snacks For Kids
Why Kids Need To Snack
As adults, we lose the timed snacking periods - we’re lucky if we break away for lunch. For children, these breaks are an important way to keep them energised and focused, particularly during school or when completing homework. As a rough guideline, most children need a boost every three to four hours. Younger children require two snacks per day (outside of main meals), while those who are older may drop down to one, pending their activity levels and growth spurts. Keep in mind that children and teenagers require almost as many calories as adults, depending on age and size.
Steer away from the habit of constant grazing, which interferes with your child’s appetite, especially around main meals. It’s important for children to learn to identify hunger and fullness naturally. Note that snack times should be kept away from the main meals and try to adhere to predictable timings.
Scheduled snacking is also an opportune time to inject some extra nutrients and assist their growing bodies. Boost fibre and protein intake, include fruits and vegetables and choose foods that offer prolonged sustenance.
Healthy Snack Ideas
Add extra fruits and vegetables into your child’s diet
One of the easiest ways to increase your child’s consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables is through a cold-pressed juice shot. These small bottles pack a punch and easily fit inside the lunchbox. Full of vitamins, minerals and extra hydration, they also offer a welcome pop of colour - vibrant orange, yellow or green.
Smoothies are also incredibly convenient to whiz up and use lingering produce, particularly if your child dislikes eating whole fruit or vegetables. Use the produce you have on hand (avocado is a great add-in for extra creaminess), add nut butter, a date and the milk of your choice.
For a fun (and healthy) summer afternoon treat, consider using a juice shot as the basis of an icy pole. Simply freeze your juice of choice in silicone moulds. Add fresh berries to the mix for added visual appeal and texture.
Boost healthy proteins and fats
While fruits and vegetables are vital for overall health, protein and fats are also necessary for brain health, immunity and physical energy. Offer your child morsels these snack choices as a starting point, and make it finger-food friendly:
- Hard-boiled eggs (pre-peeled for easy consumption)
- Sliced cheese
- Sliced avocado with a little lemon juice or olive oil
- Pulled chicken
Take a look through the fridge and reconsider your leftovers: can they be revitalised as a healthy snack? Often, yesterday’s dinner can easily (and deliciously) become today’s ideal snack. You might include a slice of a veg-filled tray bake or a little spaghetti with bolognese sauce.
Even if you are short on time, experiment with your pantry basics: turn granola or muesli into homemade balls or bars. Add a little honey and tahini, and set in the fridge for a simple no-bake option. Alternatively, purchased protein balls and snack bars are a great booster - just keep an eye on the sugar content and look for as many natural ingredients as possible.
Make The Lunchbox Fun
To enhance snacktime joy - especially at school - play around with different themes and colours. Ask your child about colour-coded days: orange foods on Monday, red on Tuesday, etc. Try to address all the senses by offering foods that are visually appealing, include various textures, and are easy to handle with their hands.
Lastly, for older kids, snacking can become a chance to learn and integrate healthy eating skills. Include simple post-it notes in their lunchbox highlighting the benefits of particular elements, like “Brain Food,” as they start to understand the connection between food and overall health.
Ultimately, snacking should be enjoyable and offer extra health benefits. Find what works for your child and have fun with it!
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