The back to school season is here and it’s time to start thinking about packing lunch boxes again. Snacking can sometimes get a bad rap, but nutrient-dense snacks are the perfect way to keep your child’s energy up during the school day and to avoid getting hungry between meals.
The grocery store aisles would have you think it’s best to pack crackers, cookies, chips, and juice in your kid’s lunch boxes, but we recommend choosing snacks that help your kid feel full for longer.
Carbohydrate-based processed snacks are easy to over-consume because they are low in fiber (and oftentimes high in sugar and/or salt). In fact, you might notice your child feeling quite hungry soon after eating a “carb-y” snack or meal (like cereal or goldfish crackers, for example). Even “snack sized” bags can be high in calories compared to kid’s actual caloric needs.
Choosing snacks with fiber (like fruit, veggies, and whole grains), protein, or healthy fats, will provide energy and satiety without having too many calories.
With a little planning, healthy snacks can be prepared so they are easy to grab-and-go. For example, you can pre-cut and wash fruits and veggies, or divide snacks like popcorn, nuts, or whole grain crackers into baggies ahead of time. Fruits like bananas, apples, and clementine oranges don’t need any prep at all! Some families find it helpful to make a batch of boiled eggs or homemade bars (like these from Chop Chop Magazine) at the beginning of the week so they are ready to go.
Here are seven healthy snack ideas that are lunch-box friendly:
- Apple or celery with peanut butter
- Raw veggies with hummus
- String cheese and grapes
- Boiled egg and fruit
- Nuts + dried fruit
- Plain popcorn
- Celery sticks, carrots, and broccoli with ranch (or make your own ranch with plain Greek yogurt for added protein)
If your kids are hesitant to give up their favorite crackers, stick with a portion size and include some fruit or veggie slices to add some extra fiber. Some parents also find their kids are more likely to try new foods when they include the kids in the meal planning and shopping.
For more tips on becoming a healthy and fit family, join us for Walk with a Doc every Tuesday at 4pm at Stagecoach Park in Carlsbad only minutes from our Carlsbad/La Costa CPCMG location. Walk with a Doc is free for the whole family, and a healthy snack is always provided.
The post Healthy Snacking Tips<br>& 7 Healthy Snack Ideas appeared first on San Diego Pediatricians | Children's Primary Care Medical Group.