What to do when it’s snack time?

Your child says, “I’m hungry,” but dinner isn’t for another 2 hours. Rather than have your child dig into the pantry or run for the cookie jar,  what can you do to help them fill that hungry void?

Snacks can be a positive or negative component of your child’s diet. Fruits and vegetables are good snacks to serve since most children do not eat the recommended 5 to 13 servings a day. Some popular fruits and vegetables like broccoli, baby carrots, snap peas, celery, blueberries, apricots, kiwi, pears, and peaches are great snacks that will help fill your child up between meals.

Some tips to get nutritious snacks, like fruits and vegetables, to your kids quickly include the following:

  • Chop your fruits and vegetables ahead of time and assemble them in easy grab-and-go areas of the refrigerator.
  • Set fruits out in bowls on the counter so they’re visible and accessible.

Low-fat dairy products are also great for snacking. Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, and dairy products can fill you up. Popular low-fat dairy foods like yogurt, low-fat cheese, and low-fat pudding or frozen yogurt (these are high in sugar, so use as occasional treats) are good grab-and-go choices.

Some tips for providing low-fat dairy products to your children include the following:

  • Purchase yogurt, pudding, and cheeses in individual servings and make them visible in the refrigerator.
  • Plan ahead for snacks throughout the week so they are fresh.

For more information, visit the Family Toolkits at www.5210.psu.edu and look under Healthy Kid Snacks and Healthy Eating in a Hurry.