School holidays are just around the corner and if your children are anything like mine one of the biggest challenges you will face is the need for a never-ending supply of snacks.

I’m hungry

I have four kids under the age of eight and they’re growing fast! They all have healthy appetites and some days it seems that we no sooner finish a meal then one (or all of them) are looking for something to nibble on. The question is how much should a healthy child be eating and if a snack is needed what are the best options?

Choose wisely

It’s well documented that childhood obesity is on the rise around the world. In light of this fact, dietary experts suggest that smaller children should be limited to two snacks a day. Older kids only need one snack in addition to their three normal meals unless they’re experiencing a growth spurt, in which case two snacks should cover the resulting munchies. It’s not enough though just to limit the amount of food given between meals, it has to be the right kind of food. Here are a few options for healthy, nutritious snack foods so you aren’t at a loss the next time you hear the words, ‘I’m hungry’!

  • Apple or banana pieces (you can always add a little peanut butter for a special treat)
  • Actually any kind of fruit, fresh or dried, is a good option for snackable food. Mango, pineapple, grapes or orange.
  • Raw veggies like carrot, bell peppers, cucumber fingers or celery. Combine these with a dip made from beans or chickpeas or mayonnaise.
  • Peanuts, cashews and almonds are all good nut options. If you want to add a little sweetness try mixing in dried fruit, like raisins.
  • Whole grain crackers, plain rice cakes or whole grain toast.
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Cheese slices
  • A tub of yoghurt. Try getting plain yoghurt and adding honey for sweetness
  • Cold meat like ham slices or left over chicken if you have.
  • Banana bread is a special treat in our house for snacking or banana muffins.

Raise up a child

The formative years in a child’s life are when we are able to help create the habits that they will take into adulthood. Being able to teach your child that it’s ok to be hungry and to wait until mealtime is a good lesson to learn. Similarly to be in control of the need to snack and make good choices when it comes to choosing what they put into their body is a vital tool. Modelling good eating habits yourself will also go a long way to encouraging good health in your children.

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