Healthy Snack and Juice Options for Kids
As parents and guardians, one of the biggest goals is to help our children grow up healthy. Unfortunately, with so many snack and juice options appealing to kids, it can be difficult to ensure they are consuming only nutritious items, especially when dealing with a picky eater. These days, however, there are many snack and juice options to choose from that are kid-friendly and healthy.
Why Proper Nutrition is Important
Obesity is a large problem in the United States, with roughly 1 in 3 children being classified as overweight or obese. Children who are obese are at higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, joint problems, and more, as well as anxiety and depression. Not only does proper nutrition help keep weight in check, it also aids in physical and mental development. Important growth is happening throughout childhood, and giving the body the right nutrition will help keep your child on track.
Healthy Snack and Juice Ideas
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Nutrients can be hidden in delicious foods that kids already enjoy, making it much easier than you think. Here are a few simple options for snacks and drinks to offer:
- Yogurt: Yogurt is a great way for kids to get protein and calcium. Choosing options with live bacteria will also help to keep their digestive systems happy. However, steer clear of most yogurts that are marketed towards children as they are high in sugar. To ensure it’s the healthiest, opt for plain, full-fat yogurt and add fresh fruit or, for those over a year old, a drizzle of honey.
- Popcorn: This popular movie snack is actually considered a nutritious whole grain. Just be careful not to smother it with toppings. A little butter and grated Parmesan cheese can elevate the taste without ruining the healthy qualities.
- Celery with Peanut Butter: For those without an allergy, peanut butter is often a delicious addition. Spreading some inside cut celery sticks adds great flavor to a sometimes bland vegetable. For a little extra fun, add some “ants on a log” by dotting a few raisins in the peanut butter. Together, this snack provides good carbs, protein, and fat.
- Trail Mix: This snack is perfect for on-the-go. Although your kids may say otherwise, try not to purchase the kind with chocolates and candy mixed in. Either find or make your own with mixed nuts, dried fruit, and whole-grain cereal.
- Cheese: Cheese is a great source of protein, fat, and calcium. This is an easy go-to snack thanks to items like cheese sticks, string cheese, and cheese cubes. Full-fat options are best as they are shown to contribute to their requirements for calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A and D.
- Hard-Boiled Egg: It’s easy to make this snack ahead of time and keep stocked in the fridge. Eggs provide high-quality protein combined with several essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12, riboflavin, and selenium, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin which benefit eye health.
- Water: Of course, the top option for a healthy drink is water. When your child is thirsty, this should always be the first choice as it is vital to the body. Because it doesn’t have liquid calories, it won’t make them feel full like other drinks so they will be less likely to refuse solid foods.
- Flavored Water: If your child needs a little something extra in the flavor department, spruce up plain water with fresh fruits and herbs, which also help provide a little extra nutrition. Try flavors like cucumber watermelon, blueberry, raspberry, strawberries and lemon, pineapple and mint, and more. Let them get creative by coming up with their own flavor combination and give it a try!
- Coconut Water: While there are calories and sugar, there are also great nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Because of the presence of electrolytes, it is a perfect substitute for sugary sports drinks. Look for coconut water without added sugars or artificial flavors.
- Fresh Smoothies: If you need a way to sneak in vegetables, smoothies are perfect. Make your own at home to avoid hidden added sugars. There are many kid-friendly combinations to create, but keep in mind that due to their higher calorie count, it is best to offer these as a snack as opposed to a drink to go along with something else.
Providing your children with a nutritious diet can be easier than you think. Try these options to get started and perhaps you can even come up with your own healthy combinations. Always remember to start with real, fresh ingredients for the best nutrition.
For more tips on helping your child be healthy, contact us today.