Growing kids have considerable caloric needs, especially if they are active. Many health-conscious parents seek out low-fat snacks for kids, but it is important to note that healthy fats can be potent sources of energy and nutrients. It is worthwhile to consider the calories in snack foods in addition to the types of fat, carbohydrates and sugars. Find afternoon snack inspiration to nourish your child’s mind and body, from elderberry immunity pops to fresh fruit and vegetable-based snacks and foods that are rich in antioxidants, complex carbohydrates and nutrients.
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Why Your Kids Should Have An Afternoon Snack
An afternoon snack can prevent kids’ blood sugar levels from plummeting in the afternoon. Most children and teens can be persuaded to eat breakfast followed by a mid-day lunch at school. Afternoon classes and any after school activities that follow leave most students feeling famished.
Children and teens can benefit from nutritious afternoon snacks. Based on the age of your child, you may prefer to prepare a healthful snack in advance or on request. You can also stock up on prepared snacks that contain safe preservatives. Minimal levels of these ingredients reduce risks of exposure to botulism and other foodborne pathogens when prepared foods are not properly packaged.
Savory Low-Fat Snacks
Savory afternoon snacks can satisfy a child’s hunger without indulging his or her sweet tooth. It is important to factor in age and avoid choking hazards. Consider serving pureed snacks with iron supplements for babies. Hummus made from chickpeas and sesame tahini is a vegan or vegetarian plant-based, protein-rich snack. This healthy dip can be served with sliced vegetables or other snacks for dipping.
Air-popped popcorn is one of the most popular savory low-fat snacks for older children and teens. Avoid microwave popcorn, which often contains a lot of oil and may also be a source of trans fats. Top air-popped corn with a little butter, nutritional yeast or shredded parmesan cheese, if your child can tolerate dairy.
Sweet Low-Fat Snacks
Sometimes only a sweet treat will satisfy a child. The best low-fat and relatively low-sugar snacks for children and teens include applesauce, bananas and trail mixes that include dried fruits or chocolate. Healthy cereals can also deliver sweetness without going overboard on fats or sugars.
Yogurt is another nourishing sweet snack that can be a good alternative to ice cream. Try to avoid flavored yogurts marketed to children, as these products often contain dyes and lots of sugar. Opt for plain yogurt and allow children to add a little sweetness with fresh or dried fruits and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
While dieticians generally discourage snacking between meals, children and teens have different caloric needs than adults. Children who get hungry in the mid-afternoon are better off eating healthy snacks than being made to wait until dinner. If your child has an active lifestyle and a busy schedule, you should try to plan ahead and prepare healthy snacks rather than frequently falling back on fast or processed food.