Snacks are not only fun treats, they're also essential for a healthy lifestyle. Find out why your kids need to snack.
When we think of snacks, we typically think of highly-processed, salty, sugary stuff that comes in a bag. But doctors say snacks are actually really important for kids. They have smaller stomachs and high energy needs. Of course, too many calories can lead to obesity. Researchers say even an extra 165 calories a day, roughly the amount in a handful of chips, can make a big impact. But if you swap regular chips for baked chips or whole grain crackers, get a whole lot more nutritional bank for the buck, more fiber, less salt, and a third of the calories. Strive for nutrient-dense snacks that taste good so they'll actually eat it. Whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables can be a slam dunk especially if they're cut up in fun shapes. On the go, keep your child's backpack or your purse stocked with apple slices, sugar-free dried fruit or nuts and seeds so they have something to munch on when they need it. And talk to your child about how healthy foods fuel their bodies. One large apple and one kid-size handful of M&M's both have roughly 110 calories. Ask your child which one has the nutrients to help her run fast. Get her thinking about smarter snacking so she can make better choices.