Children are constantly growing and because of this, it is important they eat at the right times of the day and snack often to keep their metabolism going and body fueled throughout the day. Many parents fear that snacking takes away from actual meals but it is important think of snacks as part of a meal and monitor the nutrition children receive during that snack as if it were part of a meal. Scheduled snacking also promotes structured eating patterns and habits! I know our little guy LOVES snacking so reading this information made me feel a lot better about it! It also helps to get some ideas of what to give your toddler for snacks!
According to HealthyChildren.org, the typical child’s stomach is too small to handle large meals, which can lead to them being unable to get enough proteins, fats and carbohydrates each day. Healthy snacks provide extra energy and can also provide essential vitamins and nutrients to fuel the developing body. Most children need two to three healthy snacks each day in addition to three meals.(ii)
Check out “Healthy Snacking Throughout the Day” on the Earth’s Best websites for some great insight into the importance of snacking and visit the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion to view toddlers’ needs as outlined by the Food Pyramid. Earth’s Best and Sesame Street have also teamed up to develop nutritionally rich snacks that kids will choose on their own.
Some suggested products from Earth’s Best include:
- Earth’s Best Kidz Whole Grain Bars
- Cereal with fruit and milk
- Earth’s Best Sesame Street Elmo Mac ‘n Cheese with Carrots and Broccoli (or use an organic, whole-wheat boxed variety)
- Apple and banana slices spread with peanut butter
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Yogurt mixed with fresh fruit (LA LOVES this!)
- Peanut butter on graham crackers
- Soft cooked veggie finger foods, like carrot sticks or sweet potato sticks, or raw veggies for older snackers, served with a child friendly dip, such as peanut butter mixed with yogurt, or low fat ranch dip.
- Earth’s Best Organic Kidz Applesauce (another BIG hit in our house!)
(i) U.S. News: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/diet/articles/2011/09/30/greek-yogurt-vs-regular-yogurt-which-is-more-healthful
(ii) Livestrong.com: http://www.livestrong.com/article/374497-the-importance-of-healthy-snacks-for-kids/