Elizabeth S. Reames | 9/23/2005 3:16:25 AM
Healthy snacks are an important part of a child’s diet. Because their stomachs are small, youngsters may not eat enough food at meals to get all the nutrients they need in a day. Eating smaller portions more often will help to ensure adequate nutrient intake, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
Children may want to eat too much of one kind of food, like crackers or cookies, for snacks. Encourage healthy snacking by offering combination snacks, such as whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese or apple slices with peanut butter. Combination snacks will add more nutrients and help curb hunger until the next meal.
Reames says healthy snack combinations include low-fat yogurt with fruit, sandwiches made with meats or peanut butter on whole-grain bread, sliced tomato with mozzarella cheese, vegetable sticks with low-fat ranch dip, hard-boiled egg with a slice of whole-wheat bread, bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and banana slices with peanut butter.
The nutritionist notes that carbohydrates are part of a healthful diet. The food groups that provide carbohydrates – fruits, vegetables, grains and milk – are important sources of many nutrients. Foods with added sugars usually provide calories but few or no nutrients. Reames says it’s important to choose carbohydrates wisely.
Follow the Dietary Guidelines recommendations for choosing and preparing healthy snacks for your child: choose fruits, vegetables and whole-grains often; encourage children to consume whole-grain products often (at least half the grains should be whole grains); and choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners.
For information on related family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter homepage, at www.lsuagcenter.com.