Healthy Snacks—Healthy Kids By Sharen Crockett, MS, CFCS Beth Wilson, EdD, CFCS, CFLE
Snacking Patterns and Trends in Children in U.S. • Studies indicate: • that children snack more frequently today than in past decades. • 95% of children eat at least one snack per day, with many children eating two to three. • Nearly one-fourth of kids’ daily energy intake comes from food consumed between meals. • About 20% of child’s nutrients come from snacks. • Snacks were higher in calories and fat and lower in calcium than non-snack eating occasions.
Snacking Patterns and Trends in Children in U.S. • Over the past twenty years, the number of calories that children consumed from snacks increased by 120 calories per day. • Snacks most commonly eaten (according to recent survey): • Cookies (38%) • Ice Cream (33%) • Soda (31%) • Chips (26%) • Candy (18%) • Many of these foods are high in fat, sugar, and sodium. • More of the energy intake from snacks was consumed away from home in schools, at restaurants, and fast food outlets. Increased consumption of pizza, cheeseburgers, and salty snacks.
Benefits of Healthy Snacking • Satisfies between-meal hunger • Small stomach capacity may make it difficult to get enough food at meals • Meets high-energy needs
Benefits of Healthy Snacking • Meets on-the-go energy needs • Increases ability to maintain concentration • Can help children develop healthy eating habits and prevent diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity
Benefits of Healthy Snacking • Helps maintain blood glucose levels • Helps prevent nutrient deficiencies • Helps provide children with nutrients to support growth and learning • Healthy snacks: • Enhance kids’ academic and athletic performance • Provide an opportunity for nutrition education as well as integration of other subject matter into healthy eating
What is a snack? • A refreshment that can be eaten between meals • Something to eat or drink or both • Something young children need one or more of throughout the day
What is a healthy snack? • According to the Child and Adult Care Food Program: • Must meet the meal pattern requirements for a specific age group • Must include at least two different components of the following four: • A serving of fluid milk • A serving of a meat or meat alternate • A serving of vegetables) or fruits) or full-strength vegetable or fruit juice • A serving of whole grain or enriched bread and/or cereal
Tips for Snacking • Plan snacks as part of the daily food plan • Serve snacks and meals that satisfy a child’s need for extra nutrients and for different types of food—crunchy, soft, chewy, smooth, hot, cold, sweet, sour, bland, spicy
Tips for Snacking • Involve the children in the planning and preparation of the snacks • Provide snacks that are nutrient dense—each bite contributes to the child’s intake of nutrients: • Carbohydrates, protein, fats, minerals, vitamins and water
Tips for Snacking • Use foods on hand from all five food groups: • Meats, fish, poultry, nuts, and dried cooked beans • Protein and iron • Milk and dairy foods • Calcium, riboflavin, protein, and vitamins A and D • Vegetables: • Vitamins, carbohydrates and fiber • Fruits : • Vitamins, carbohydrates and fiber • Breads, cereals, and grains: • Carbohydrates, B vitamins and fiber
Tips for Snacking • Mix and match the nutrients at snack time—teach the children to choose snacks from at least two food groups • Avoid foods that are a choking hazard for children under three: • Raw vegetables • Popcorn • Nuts • Dried fruits, such as raisins • Hot dogs, should be quartered lengthwise and then cut into small pieces • Slice grapes in half
Tips for Snacking • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children drink no more than two 6-ounce servings of fruit juice per day • Consider fruit juices fortified with calcium • Avoid sugared products, especially gooey and sticky foods that contribute to tooth decay
Tips for Snacking • Offer similar choices, such as a choice between two fruits, not a choice between a cookie and a fruit • Provide variety—vary types of foods, colors, textures, taste, shapes • Provide for visual interest—be creative or let the children create interesting combinations, “edible art”
Tips for Snacking • Keep portions small • Space snacks far enough away from meals so appetites are not spoiled (generally at least two hours before the next scheduled meal)
Tips for Snacking • Offer snacks at regularly scheduled times and not while watching television or engaged in other activities • Never offer food as a reward for good behavior nor use food as a punishment for inappropriate behavior
Tips for Snacking • Snacks are a good way to introduce new foods—include a game or activity to learn about the new food • Serve snacks with fun plates, napkins, cups or straws or have a tasting party where children can vote for their favorite healthy snacks
Tips for Snacking • Most of the snacks should be fruits and vegetables since most children do not consume the recommended amounts of these foods • Try lots of different fruits and vegetables and prepare them in various ways to find out what your kids like best • Be a role model—eat the same snacks as the children with the children
Connecting Snacks to Learning • Language Development • Read books about foods • Storytelling • Showing pictures of foods and talk about the food, its color, etc. • Rhymes or rhythms about foods • Have children describe their favorite food or snack • Discovering letters and words
Connecting Snacks to Learning • Math • Counting • Sorting • Sizing • Measuring • More/less • Big/small • Shapes—triangles, squares, circles, etc.
Connecting Snacks to Learning • Science • Texture • Color and shapes • Predict changes, “what if” • Cooked/uncooked • Mixtures • How food grows
Connecting Snacks to Learning • Interpersonal (social) Skills • Manners • Cultural foods and traditions • Sharing • Tasting new foods
Connecting Snacks to Learning • Cultural Diversity • Snacks from other countries • Foods used for festivals, etc. • “Food fairs” • Customs, how to eat foods from different cultures, different eating utensils, etc.
Connecting Snacks to Learning • Motor Skills • Cutting • Chopping • Spreading • Pouring • Mixing
Connecting Snacks to Learning • Lifelong healthy habits • Foods from all food groups • Portion sizes • Relationship of healthy foods (snacks) to health. well-being, physical activity • Hand washing before preparing foods, eating foods, etc. • Making good choices, decisions (healthy vs unhealthy) • Foods and dental health, for example: • Sharky Saving Smiles Lessons • Midwest Dairy Council • www.mndental.org