Guidelines for Choosing Healthy Snacks for Children

Guidelines for choosing healthy snacks for children.

To keep children healthy and help protect them from developing certain diseases later in life, it is recommended that children (and adults, for that matter!) consume at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day. To meet your goals, it's helpful to add fruit and vegetables to snacks.

Make sure that food contains more than calories. The snack should also provide such nutrients as fiber, vitamins or minerals. It should contain foods from more than one food group, if possible, and serve to complement or supplement the child's meals. For example, if the child does not eat fruit or vegetables at mealtime, provide these foods at snacktime.

As a child's care provider, set a good example on your child by eating healthy food yourself.

Children's diets can contain some foods that are higher in sugar and fat as long as the total diet is well balanced and the foods from all four food groups are consumed in the appropriate number of servings.

When involved in preparing the snack, the child is more likely to eat it.

Sweetened snack:

  1. For a dessert, use a blender or food processor to blend 1 cup of your child's favourite fresh or frozen fruit with 6 ounces of nonfat vanilla flavored or plain yogurt.
  2. Make a fruit juice fizz from a half-and-half mixture of fruit juice and mineral water or club soda.
  3. To make unsweetened cereal and milk even more nutritious as a snack, add sliced fresh or frozen fruit, such as berries, peaches or bananas.
  4. When you bake cookies or quick breads, substitute 1/2 of all the white flour with whole wheat flour; add 1/2 to 1 cup of oatmeal; decrease the sugar by 1/3 and add raisins, dates or coconut.
  5. Make breads that contain fruits or vegetables, such as banana, zucchini, carrot, pumpkin or apple bread.
  6. Make a peanut butter and fruit sandwich, substituting banana slices, raisins or chopped apple for the jelly.
  7. For variety, you can substitute a muffin or bagel for sliced bread.
  8. Cut fresh fruit and dip into lemon or other fruit flavoured nonfat or lowfat yogurt.