If the right foods are offered a the right times, snacks can play an important role in managing kid's hunger and boosting nutrition. A well- timed snack can even out spikes in hunger and provide a much needed energy boost between meals.
Snacks can keep younger children from getting so hungry that they become cranky, and they can keep older kids from overeating at larger meals. And for picky eaters of all ages, snacks can be added insurance that they 're getting the necessary nutrients.
This doesn't mean that giving your child a cupcake half an hour before dinners is suddenly a good idea. The best snacks are nutritious-low in sugar, fat and salt. Fresh fruits and vegetables and food that contain whole grains and protein are also good choices.
But it's not just about what you offer as a snack -its how much you serve and when. Pay attention to portion size and timing of snacks so they don't interfere with a child's appetite for the next scheduled meal. When you offer meals and snacks at the same times each day, your child can decide what they want to eat and how much.
Control is still a key issue at this age, so preschoolers also might enjoy the chance to choose their snack from options that you present. The desire for sweets can be quite strong at this age, but you can avoid the struggles.Don't offer candy and cookies at snack time. You can decide not to stock them at all or, if you do, to keep them out of sight.
Snacking can be a challenge, especially once kids are old enough to make independent food choices. So offering mostly nutritious choices at home and encouraging good alternatives when away- they're more likely to reach for something healthy when a hunger pang strikes..
Ms. Kathy - Teacher