Fat free, organic, whole wheat. In my last report we debunked some common myths about what’s healthy and what’s not for our kids and how to best understand those complicated labels. In part two of our story we asked pediatrician and child obesity specialist Dr. Dyan Hes what some good healthy go-to foods are that parents should always have on hand.
So obviously fruits and vegetables are the best snacks, but if your kids won’t eat them, try dressing them up.
“Make it look attractive. Kids like things that are fun. So you can put grapes on toothpicks or open a Clementine and make little patterns with them or make a flower with a grape in the center. Put stuff on skewers for kids,” said Dr. Hes.
Speaking of fruit, she says fruit leathers are also a great snack. Look for the ones made from naturally pressed fruit or fruit products. Avoid those with sugar and artificial sweeteners. If your kids like chips, natural fruit crisps offer the crunch of a potato chip, but in a healthy way. Another good crunchy snack is a graham cracker.
“So, they don’t have too much sugar. Most of them are made with whole grains now you can find them in the super market and it’s a pretty big portion, two sheets of graham cracker is a serving, so kids feel like they have a really good snack,” said Dr. Hes.
And baked cheese crackers, most are made with whole grains and they do come in portion-controlled sizes. She also says most granola bars are good to have on hand, just read the labels. Look at the serving size and the sodium and sugar content.
And low-fat dairy products make a great snack too.
“Cheese sticks are very popular in my house, cheese wheels. I try to recommend getting low fat cheese sticks, not too much salt of course. But they are a great healthy snack for kids. They provide them with calcium, they are easy to carry in your bag and most kids enjoy the flavor,” said Dr. Hes.
And last, many parents offer raisins as a healthy snack, but instead she says go for dried apricots.
“A serving of raisins vs a serving of dried apricots, the raisins have double the amount of sugar and if kids are offered dried apricots they usually love them,” said Dr. Hes.
So just a few ideas to keep our kids healthy and happy at snack time.