Snacks Are Important
It's hard for young children to go for long periods of time without
feeling hungry. This is because their stomachs are small and can't hold
much food at one sitting. Small meals, usually called snacks, can help
pease the hungry child. When snacks are chosen from a wide variety of
nutritious foods, they can contribute important nutrients to your child's
Today, more than ever before, it's easy to have a poor diet, partly
because of all the choices we have to choose from. Making wise choices
regarding the food we eat requires an understanding of the facts. Selection
of snacks should be based on more than taste and appearance. Nutritional
value related to calories is an important indication of whether you're
getting real food value in snacks.
Here are some characteristics to consider when choosing snacks:
- Judge the actual nutritional contribution it makes to the diet. A
nutritious snack should supply nutrients like vitamins, calcium and
iron. Using the new Food Guide Pyramid is a good way to provide nutrients.
- Plan the snacks around regular meal schedules. Snacks need not and
should not interfere with or dull the appetite. Unfortunately, we do
find that snacking and skipping meals are problems of many youngsters
- Consider the number of calories a snack provides in the daily total.
Snack foods should not be high in sugar or fat. Children enjoy sweet
foods but too much sugar can cause cavities in their teeth. Too many
foods high in sugar and fat can help cause children to become overweight.
Try to set limits on the amount of sweet and fatty foods eaten.
- Make the snack easy to obtain. Snacks prepared ahead of time for children
can provide important nutrients while being a neat treat.
- Choose foods that appeal in taste and appearance. If the snack does
not look good, it is likely not to be eaten. Lot of this depends on
YOU! Children will mimic you (act as you act) so be careful with words
and facial expressions.
Here are some simple, nutritious snacks to make:
- Ants On A Log --- celery sticks filled with peanut butter and
topped with raisins.
- Bunny Food --- combine grated carrots with raisins and a bit
of honey and serve on crackers.
- Fancy Sandwiches --- cut bread into shapes with cookie cutters
and spread with favorite toppings (meat, cheese, peanut butter, etc.)
- Orange Delight --- Mix in blender: 1/3 c. orange juice concentrate,
1/4 c. powdered milk, 1/2 banana or other fruit, 3/4 c. water, honey
to taste, ice. (The more ice you add the slushier the drink becomes.)
- Party Mix --- Mix 2 cups dry cereal and 1 cup small pretzel
sticks. Place on cookie sheet, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and 1/3
cup melted margarine. Bake at 250 degrees F for 30 minutes, stirring
- Roll-Up Salad --- Spread a cabbage or lettuce leaf with peanut
butter. Place a celery or carrot stick in the middle and roll up the
Prepared by Beverly Combs, Extension
Educator, Nutrition & Wellness