How many times as a child when you were growing up were you told, “Don’t eat that or it will spoil your appetite.”
It has been shown that three meals a day might not be enough to provide all the nutrients that your child requires to sustain their busy bodies throughout the day. We all know, childhood is a time of both physical and mental development requiring a large amount of energy, therefore by providing them with healthy snacks throughout the day, you are refuelling them for all challenges along the way including developing, learning and playing. It can really important to offer the right snack foods at the right time and they will help to manage a child’s hunger and help to boost their nutritional intake. From your tiny preschooler with a smaller appetite, right through to your eating machine teenager, carefully planned snacks help towards filling those important nutritional gaps, sustaining them right through to their regular meal times.
It’s extremely helpful to plan your children’s snacks in advance if possible. By planning now you alleviate random snacking, preventing health issues now and later on in their lives. As parents, we all know every child loves a yummy snack, so when you are searching for snack ideas, it can be all about balance! You want to give them the right type of food and the right amount of food but your main goal is to encourage them to have a healthy appetite at regular main meal times, e.g. breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It is recommended children need to eat three meals and at least two snacks a day, usually one mid-morning and one after school (but it can depend on how physically active or if they are going through a growth spurt). Snacking can be a challenge, especially once your children are old enough to start making their own food choices, but if you give them guidance right from the start and encourage and offer nutritional choices along the way – they are more likely to eat something healthy when those hunger pangs hit!
Here are 4 yummy snack ideas from my Snack Attack chapter in 4 Ingredients Kids In Colour to help fill the nutritional gaps for busy growing bodies along the way…