Saturday, December 24, 2011

Healthy Snacks for Kids and Teens

As soon as your kids and teens get home from school, the first thing they want is a quick snack. Their bodies are running low on energy after a long day in school. They want a boost of energy right away. However, what you give them will mean the difference between a healthy snack and junk food.

Like many parents, you may feed your children snacks such as cookies and processed foods. While these give a quick burst of energy, they’re not the best choice for your child or teenager. Instead of high calorie, high fat treats you need to focus on foods that will provide good nutrition for their growing bodies.

Here are some healthy alternatives for snacks:

Fruits: These are great after school snacks for kids and teens. Keep apples, pears, strawberries, peaches, and plums stocked in your refrigerator to give them choices for eating healthy snacks. To give your children easy access, wash your fruits right after you get home from the store and put them in a bowl for an attractive display.

Veggies: Keep a stock of bite-sized vegetables in your refrigerator. Try cutting up carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and celery and keeping them in the refrigerator. Also keep a vegetable dip handy to add some extra flavor if your children are fussy about eating raw vegetables.

Natural Snacks: The healthiest snacks are those that are found in nature and not processed. You can give your kids and teens nuts, popcorn, dried fruit, string cheese, yogurt, and milk as a snack.

Avoid any snack that has added sugar and saturated fat. You may also want to limit foods that are high in preservatives and have extra coloring.

Dipping fruits or vegetables in peanut butter is a great way to help your children enjoy their flavor without adding unhealthy calories.

Unfortunately, many snacks that are marketed for children aren’t the healthiest for them. As a parent, you’ll have to be diligent in making sure your children are eating healthy snacks.

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