A well-known fact about having children is that you will soon learn when they need something to eat. Kids grow at a phenomenal rate, and it can often feel like they’re always hungry – even shortly after consuming a main meal like dinner. Snacks are essential for any household with young children because they help keep young bellies full and prevent meltdowns and hunger tantrums!
As you play a significant role in your child’s development, it makes sense to know the best practices for snacks – such as what to give them, how often, and so forth. With that in mind, take a look at the following six best practices that you need to know:
1. Keep Healthy Snacks Available
Firstly, always have some healthy food snacks available to give your child. Examples of healthy snacks include fruit like bananas, apples, oranges, capsicum and vegetables like carrots, celery, tomatoes, and cucumber. Healthy snacks are cheap to buy, and they promote healthy living. Avoid unhealthy snacks like candy, ready-cooked convenience foods, and chocolates where possible. It also helps to offer several wholesome snack choices so your child can choose their favorites.
2. Learn Quick And Easy Snack Recipes
Of course, snacks shouldn’t just be raw fruit and vegetables. Variety is essential to ensure your child remains engaged with the healthy food choices you offer as snacks. Otherwise, they’ll stubbornly refuse to eat any of them! Keep a mental list in mind of quick and easy snacks you can prepare at home that aren’t full of artificial preservatives or processed ingredients. For example, authentic arepas are delicious snacks and a fantastic alternative to traditional sandwiches.
3. Give Small Snack Portions
The idea of a snack is that it’s a small amount of food to stave off hunger until the next major meal. Snacks are not meal substitutes, meaning you should not offer your child large food portions as snacks. Childhood obesity is an ongoing problem in many parts of the world, and access to convenience foods is partly to blame. That’s why snack portions should be small, with the snacks consisting of healthy food.
4. Ensure You Have A Mealtime Routine
Did you know that one reason for kids snacking too much and too often is due to irregular mealtimes? You can avoid such issues by having your family meals at set times. A regular mealtime routine will mean your child knows when to expect breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Most kids will have breakfast and dinner at home and lunch at school. School lunch breaks often occur at set times, so follow the same practice for mealtimes at home as well. You should also try to stick to mealtime routines even when you’re on a family vacation together or on special dates like birthdays.
5. Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods contain a lot of salt, sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals to taste good and last for a long time. Unfortunately, they aren’t healthy foods to eat. Avoid offering your child processed snacks wherever possible.
6. Don’t Use Snacks As Rewards
Finally, never use snacks to reward good behavior or for achieving something, as kids can develop eating disorders as they get older. Instead, reinforce positive behavior in other ways, like going on field trips, spending time at your local park, or some other fun activity.