Kids are experts at snacking
April 16, 2012 3:04PM
Updated: May 19, 2012 8:00AM
According to a United States Department of Agriculture study, after-school snacks provide about one-third of children’s calories. Because children have smaller stomachs, they need the energy and nutrients provided by these mini-meals. However, when high fat, high sugar snack foods are combined with screen time — either TV or computer — instead of active play time, children are likely to gain more weight than they should for optimum health.
Refusing to eat certain foods or demanding to eat others is one way children practice their growing independence. They test values and decide which ones to reject, modify, and adopt. Consequently, doing what everyone else is doing may become more tempting than doing what parents have taught.
The key for parents and caregivers is to strike a balance between providing good nutrition and letting children make independent decisions. One way to do this is by offering a wide variety of foods. Provide food choices that offer a range of taste experiences, such as crunchy, soft, chewy, smooth, hot, cold, sweet, sour, bland, and spicy.
Food should never be used as a reward for good behavior, or withheld as punishment for bad behavior.
All children benefit from physical activity — walking, riding bikes, or playing together is a great way to build family communication. If your child shows a tendency toward being overweight, encourage more physical activity and less screen time at the television or computer. Do not cut back drastically on food intake. Children need those nutrients for growth and development.
Choose more snacks that have:
■ 2 or more grams of fiber
■ 10 percent of the Daily Value for one of the following:
■ Vitamin A
■ Vitamin C
Choose fewer snacks that have:
■ 10 percent or more of the Daily Value for total fat
■ 10 percent or more of the Daily Value for sodium
■ More than 10 to 15 grams of sugar
■ Remember that every 4 grams equal 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Yield: 21/2-cup servings
1 small frozen banana, cut in chunks
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup orange juice
Put all ingredients in blender and whirl until smooth. These are fairly thick. Add more liquid if you want them thinner.
Per serving: 125 calories, 7 grams protein, 213 mg calcium, 10 mg vitamin C, 160 mg sodium.
4 whole wheat taco-size tortillas
1 medium apple, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon cinnamon/sugar mix (to taste)
¼ cup cheddar cheese,
Peel, core and thinly slice apple. Lay tortillas flat onto baking sheet. Place equal amounts of sliced apple onto one side of each tortilla (half of the tortilla will be used to cover the apple). Sprinkle apple slices with a dash of the cinnamon/sugar mix. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Fold the other half of the tortilla over the apple mixture. Bake at 350°F for 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cool slightly and eat. Turnovers can be cut in half for easier handling for small hands. Serves 4.