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Make Every Bite, Including Snacks, Count

Snack time is an important part of everyone’s day, especially children’s. Incorporate these food breaks into a child’s routine to sustain all the energy they are using. We are advised to “make every bite count” throughout life.

Although they’re convenient and easy to find, many store-bought snacks are high in calories, added sugars and saturated fats. Creating your own snacks from fruits and vegetables is a great way to introduce them to a child’s diet. Providing nutrient-rich snacks fills nutrition gaps, promotes creativity and sets the groundwork for a healthful lifestyle.

The new national guidance (The Dietary Guidelines for Americans) recommends no added sugar for children under the age of 2 and only breastmilk through the age of 6 months. The guidance also suggests introducing potentially allergenic foods with other solid foods after age 6 months to reduce the risk of food allergies developing later. Check out the new Nutrition Facts labels on most food packages in the store.

Childhood obesity is a problem that has not gone unnoticed in the U.S. High-sugar foods and drinks are a large contributor to this issue. Although they are advertised as “healthy,” most fruit snacks marketed toward children can have 10 grams or more of added sugar in one pouch or serving.

Consuming an excessive amount of added sugar on a regular basis during childhood can lead to a higher body mass index (BMI) during adulthood. A higher BMI is associated with chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Engage children in the kitchen with hands-on activities, such as making snacks with fresh fruits and vegetables. This teaches them not only the importance of healthful eating, but also reduces their risk of diet-related conditions later in life.

Try these creative recipes for children or adults:
“Bugs on a Log” Snack
Cereal Snack Mix
Glitter Grapes
Yogurt Pops

 

Madisen Patten, NDSU Extension Community Nutrition Intern
Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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