Healthy Snacks for Kids
The foods that our kids eat for snacks is a real concern for moms – we want our kids to be healthy and there are so many choices in supermarkets these days. The problem is that many store bought snacks are packaged and processed foods, high in sugar, salt, preservatives and artificial colours, and of course, these are the snacks that our kids want to eat. Giving into the sugary Batman gummies (or other well marketed sugary treat) means feeding our children less than nutritious, expensive food that sends their blood sugar skyrocketing and causes brain misfiring and meltdowns.
Sugary snacks are a huge problem for our brain chemistry, and many snacks that are marketed for children really aren’t that healthy. Granola bars are packed full of sugar. Juice is full of it, too. It is hard to make the healthy choices for our kids.
Why is sugar so bad?
Well, when you eat something full of sugar (and just so that you know, our bodies convert all carbohydrates into sugar immediately after we eat them – foods like bagels, breads, cereal, cookies and crackers are all converted into sugar right away after we eat them). Our bodies then get to work to lower the excess blood sugar by producing insulin, which takes the sugar out of the blood and stores it in our bodies as fat. Insulin usually overshoots, which causes too much blood sugar to be taken from the blood stream. The blood sugar levels usually dip about an hour after eating sugar, which causes us to become hungry again, and we go hunting for more snacks. Or we start whining and ask mom for more snacks….
So what can a parent do?
Protein rich snacks are the key to success, especially if you choose ones with low sugar or carbohydrate contents. Protein provides energy, and helps decrease hunger levels at the same time. The best snacks are ones that you prepare, because you know what you put in them.
Make your snacks ahead of time
If you can find one hour in your weekend to make your week easier, prepare your snacks ahead of time. If you can, make double batch of your favourite healthy muffin recipe and add a couple of scoops of hemp protein powder or hemp seeds to the mixture (hemp is a great dairy free source of protein). The added protein won’t be noticed at all by your kids and it will provide lots of energy for the rest of their day. Freeze the muffins individually in ziplock bags and then add them to your child’s lunch or have them handy for after school snacking.
Choose water over than juice. Water hydrates your child and it keeps your child’s blood sugar levels even. Juice is full of sugar, which causes your child’s blood sugars to spike very quickly, same as we have already mentioned.
If your child will eat raw vegetables, send them with broccoli, celery, cauliflower and peppers rather than carrots. Carrots are a very carbohydrate rich vegetable. Guacamole dip is a great choice – avocado provides a very healthy fat source.
Try These Ideas
- Whole grain crackers with hummus
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Ants on a log – celery sticks filled with peanut butter with raisins on top
- Raw unsalted nuts, especially mixed with dried fruit
- Walnuts and almonds
- Unsweetened yogurt and fresh fruit
- Hard boiled eggs
- Tuna sandwiches
- Scrambled egg burritos
- Cubed ham and cheddar cheese
- Leftovers from supper reheated
The overall message is that if you plan for protein rich snacks, your kids will be happier and so will you. If you have these foods handy when the munchies hit, you can improve your child’s energy levels without the crazy up and down blood sugar crashes. Your child will have more energy and less mood swings, which is a great benefit to everyone!