Kids may come home from school hungry and looking for something to snack on. It is important for them to eat something when they are hungry. However you want them to have room for that healthy dinner you’re preparing. You also want them to snack on healthy food as opposed to eating junk food that fills their stomach without giving them the necessary nutrients. It is often difficult to control what children eat especially when you’re not around but it’s not impossible. Here’s how you can ensure your kids have a healthy, satisfying snack that will still leave room for a healthy dinner.
Find out the timing of meals at school
Figure out when the children normally have lunch at school and whether they have mid morning snacks. Find out also what they have for lunch, whether they ever skip lunch and if the school program provides an after-school snack. This information will help you determine just how hungry the kids are likely to be when school is over consider the time when you’ll serve dinner as well.
Have a healthy snack list
Together with the kids, come up with a list of healthy snack options that the kids like. Make sure the list includes vegetables and fruits. If the kids want some cake or potato chips, don completely forbid it but don’t let it be a daily after-school snack. You should also not offer them sugary drinks. Instead, consider water or milk depending on the timing for dinner. Take them along for grocery shopping and let them help in choosing low-fat, low-sugar snacks.
Have the snacks ready
Leave the healthy snack option ready for eating on the counter or in the fridge. A hungry child is more likely to reach for what is readily available so don’t expect your hungry children to start cutting up veggie sticks when they get home. For older children who prefer making their own snack, make healthy ingredients available. If you are at home, make snacks such as egg boats for the young ones and a fruit smoothie for the older kids. Try involving them in the preparation. Doing so helps to get the children to eat healthy but some children also enjoy helping you prepare the snack.
You can give them a bit of salad if dinner is almost ready. This will stop the hunger as you cook dinner. However if dinner is hours away, a more filling snack such as half a sandwich might be better.
Pack your kids an after-school snack
Find out what snacks your kids have if they go for an after-school program or if they go to a caregiver’s place. If the choices available for them are not as healthy as you’d like, consider packing a snack for them or try suggesting alternative snacks that they can be given. Some of the healthy snack options that you can pack for them include nuts, trail mix, wholegrain cereal with low sugar content, whole grain crackers, fruits or cut-up veggies. The fruits don’t have to fresh. You can also pack dried fruits.