Crisps, chocolate, biscuits and sweets are often the first things that come to mind when thinking about ‘snacking’. Although these choices are often ingrained as a force of habit, unhealthy choices do not have to take center stage as the parent’s primary snacking choice.
Snacks can play an important role in managing hunger throughout the day and providing a boost of energy between meals, so it is important to promote healthy snacking habits and incorporate nutrient-dense foods.
– Start at the supermarket. Plan out what snacks you intend buying for the week, omit any unhealthy choices and strictly follow your plan when shopping. If it is not in the cupboard, it will not be eaten.
– Make balanced snack choices. Snacks can make up around 20% of your child’s total daily calorie intake. According to the NHS, children should be allowed a maximum of two snacks per day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
– Allow your child to choose from a range of healthy snacks. This will make the process of transitioning to healthy snacks (which some children may find difficult) into something exciting, as they have been given an outlet to assert independence.
– When out and about with your child, keep healthy snacks at hand to deter the pressure of buying unhealthy food when your child starts to feel hungry.
Crisps -> Carrot and celery sticks, teamed up with a houmous dip
Sweets -> A handful of dried fruits and mixed seeds, or a small fruit salad
Biscuits -> Homemade flapjacks sweetened with dates instead of sugar and syrup, or apple slices topped with nut butter
Soft drinks -> Sparkling water with added fruit – our favourite combination is strawberry, lime, cucumber and mint