Snacking – the term has gotten quite a bad rap lately. Snacks can actually help contribute to your child's daily food intake. Since it is difficult for most children to acquire all of the nutrients they need for proper growth and development on three meals a day, snacking can be used to help fulfill their nutritional needs.
Getting your little one to eat healthy snacks is another matter, however. Few children easily accept a plate of vegetable sticks as a snack. Here are some ways to make sure the snacks your child eats satisfy not only his hunger, but his nutritional needs as well.
- Let him help prepare the snack. He may be more willing to eat it if he has helped prepare the food.
- Instead of plain vegetables or fruit slices, offer a small side of low-fat dip or creamy peanut butter to go with them. Cut the fruit or vegetables into tiny pieces so that they are not a choking hazard to your child.
- Make sure that nutritious snacks are readily available to your child, and keep a minimal amount of cookies and candy on hand.
- Make the snack fun, but nutritious. Create ants on a log by spreading some peanut butter inside of a stalk of celery and placing raisins along it.
- Crush up some fresh strawberries or blueberries and mix with a little water. Pour the mixture into Popsicle molds and freeze. Keep these on hand for cool treats during the warm weather months.
- Be a good role model and eat your fruits and vegetables too!
Look for other creative ways to get your little one to eat healthier snacks. The more fun and interesting you can make it, the more he may want to eat it. If at first you don't win him over, keep trying new things. With any luck, he'll be asking for ants on a log instead of candy and cookies in no time at all!