How many times a day do you hear this, “Mom/Dad, I’m hungry.” or “Can I have a snack?”. More times than you can count I’m sure. Kids are always busy running around and of course, they need snacks to fuel their activity. But what is a healthy snack?
What Makes a Healthy Snack?
There are so many options out there for snacks, it is hard to know what are good choices. When it comes to building a healthy snack, there are three main things to focus on:
The whole point of a snack is to keep you full and satisfied until your next meal. A good, healthy snack shouldn’t leave you hungry 10 minutes later.
Especially for active kids, a snack should provide some fuel to help them power through their day!
Is loaded with micronutrients
We all know we want to get lots of vitamins and minerals (the two types of micronutrients) in our meals, but why stop there? Get a boost by ensuring your kids get some with their snacks!
Something to Keep You Full!
As we already talked about above, is there really any point in having a snack if it doesn’t keep you satisfied? To build a snack that will keep the kiddos full until it is time for their next meal, you want to think about adding a source of protein and/or fat. These two macronutrients digest more slowly than carbohydrates and adding them into our snacks will give them more staying power. Here are some foods that are packed with healthy fats and/or protein to help you build a nutritious snack:
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut butter
Something to Give You Energy!
We already mentioned the other two macronutrients above, now time to add in the third! Carbohydrates often get a bad name but when we combine them with the other macronutrients they are part of a healthy snack. Plus they are our bodies’ main source of energy which busy kids need lots of! Try adding some of these nutritious options to your snacks:
- Whole wheat bread
- Fruit such as apples, banana, or pineapple
- Whole-grain crackers
Something for a Micronutrient Boost!
Some of the options above are already packed with micronutrients but there’s some ways we can boost this up even more! The best way to ensure your snack is going to provide some healthful micronutrients is by adding in some fruits and veggies. You can also add some extra bits like chia seeds, flax seeds, or hemp to get a boost of healthy fats and micronutrients.
Putting it All Together
Now that you know all of the components of a healthy snack it is time to put it to good use! Here are some delicious ideas to get you started.
- Apple (micronutrients and energy) and almond butter (keeps you full)
- Carrots and celery (micronutrients) and hummus (keeps you full and energy)
- Plain greek yogurt (keeps you full) and berries (energy and micronutrients)
- Chocolate banana (energy) avocado (keeps you full) mousse with hemp seeds on top (micronutrient)
For some more healthy snack recipes and ideas check out Canada’s Food Guide and to learn how to make some healthy snacks, check out some of our classes like Healthy Snacking for Teens or Cooking Lab: Healthy Snacking for Preteens.