Thursday, November 21st, 2013
If your kids are constantly snacking, you can feel a little better about their eating habits if you know that what they’re munching on is wholesome and tasty. I recently met with Kate Geagan, RDN, and Earth’s Best spokesperson, to discuss some smart new snacking options for kids.
Snacking has its unhealthy connotations, but if you branch out beyond the processed stuff, you can introduce your child to more mom-approved snacks you’ll both enjoy. “Snacks are comprising a larger portion of our calories than ever before, which means that nutrient-rich snacks are more important than ever before,” Geagan says. The fix? A range of delicious and beneficial superfoods.
Superfoods have been big in the news lately, with their potential for immunity-boosting and age-defying properties. If you’re skeptical about the powers of superfoods, take solace in knowing that the core of the buzzword is based in real science. The nutritional values of foods like beets, quinoa and blueberries are common knowledge, and since you already know they’re good for you, their booming popularity is worth taking advantage of.
When stocking your kitchen with superfoods, the darker and more vibrant the better. Opt for deep green produce like kale, beets and sweet potatoes that are versatile enough to be blended in a smoothie or tossed in a salad. Pump up foods lacking in nutrients like white potatoes with darker, richer superfoods for a more balanced dish.
For on-the-go snacks, kids can pop dark chocolate-covered seeds or fruit for the antioxidants, or even make their own creations. Lay out a do-it-yourself granola assortment with coconut, cranberries and sunflower seeds, or arrange a fruit salad bar with superfood stone fruits like plums and cherries. Many superfoods are also available in portable snack packs for nutrition on the run, like Earth’s Best line of fruit and yogurt smoothies or infant puree pouches.
Most children have grown up with the a few tried-and-true favorite fruits and vegetables in their lunchboxes, but offering a treat from a completely different part of the world can open your little one up to more sophisticated snacking. “Expose your children to a greater variety,” Geagan encourages. With more choices, your child is sure to find something she likes and won’t grow tired of the same snacks day after day.
Geagan also suggests taking your child to the grocery store to choose unusual dried fruits, nuts and grains from the bulk section and explaining the foods’ countries of origin. Teach your child about acai berries from Central and South America or purple sweet potatoes popular in Japan.
The goal is to raise a healthy eater for life, Geagan says. Being more adventurous is just a bonus.
Put these super snacks on your shopping list the next time you go to the grocery store:
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