NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Snacks for Healthy Kids

Snacks for Healthy Kids


          It’s summer! School is out!  The kids are alone with the refrigerator!   Anyone else notice that kids snack more during the summer?  Summer schedules are often more relaxed than during the school year and often kids are left with instructions of – “grab something out of the frig”  as parents dash off to work. The University of Nevada Extension Service recently developed some guidelines for kids that encourage healthy eating and exercise habits for life.

          One important point for anytime of the year with children is teaching children to listen to their bodies and learn the difference between being hungry and being full as a way to help them regulate their food intake.

          When your child says ―”I’m full” listen and allow your child to stop eating. It is not necessary or healthy to always eat all of the food on the plate.  Teach your child ―Eat when you’re hungry and Stop when you’re full.

          Children who learn to make healthy choices at a young age are more likely to continue these habits throughout their lives but children need help in learning which foods are healthy for their bodies.  Many children identify foods by taste. According to a child’s viewpoint, if a food tastes good it must

be good for you.  However, we adults know all too well that some foods that taste good are not very healthy for our bodies.  So choose foods that taste good and are also good for you!

          Children are often reluctant to try new foods. A food may need to be introduced several times before a child will eat it. Do not be discouraged —

keep trying.

           Children need smaller portions. Start with a few apple slices rather than the whole apple.  Allow children to serve themselves as children will often naturally serve themselves smaller portions.

          Take children shopping and let them help pick out healthy foods for the family.  Help children select healthy snacks by teaching them about ―”Go”, “Slow” and “Whoa”  foods.  Go snacks include fruits and vegetables, milk, string cheese and whole grain crackers.   Slow snacks are one that can be eaten sometimes. Slow snacks include raisins, sweetened cereals and ice cream.   Whoa snacks include cookies, candies, cake, pies, chips and French fries.

          Here are nine simple summer snacks that offer good nutrition for the calories:


          - Any frozen treat less than 150 calories per serving, such as fudge bars, fruit bars, "light" and "slow-churned" ice creams and sherbet (you can also freeze yogurt sold in tubes).

          - Homemade frozen fruit pops made with 100% fruit juice and frozen berries.

          - Fruit and yogurt parfaits: Layer low-fat vanilla yogurt with fresh fruit.

          - Frozen fruit, such as chunks of watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew with low-fat fruit yogurt for dipping.

          - Homemade smoothie made with milk, fresh fruit, and crushed ice.

          - Homemade trail mix: Mix single-serve low-fat microwave popcorn with nuts and dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries.

          - Mini whole-wheat bagels spread with peanut butter.

          - Sliced red and green bell peppers, baby carrots with low-fat ranch dressing dipping.


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