Whether you child is busy and active or more relaxed and sedate, growing children need to snack during the day to get the energy they need. The snacks your child is offered should provide nutrients as well as energy. The amount of food a child consumes will vary according to their age, sex and activity level. Healthy snacking should come from a range of fresh foods, providing a variety of nutrients essential for good health.
In order to meet the Australian nutritional guidelines and recommendations it’s suggested snack ideas are based on foods that children need every day for good health. These foods include breads and cereals, vegetables, legumes and fruits, reduced fat dairy products, lean meats and eggs.
Snacks should be tasty, appealing and nutritious. Variety in colour, texture, flavour, smell and temperature can also spark interest in foods.
Avoid processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, potato crisps and confectionery and high sugar drinks as they are often high in sugar, fat and/or salt and are also energy dense (contribute lots of energy but they provide few nutrients) and are often consumed instead of more nutritious, necessary foods and drinks. These should be limited in the diet, as they do not provide a positive contribution to overall nutrient intake.
Healthy Snack Ideas:
- Fresh fruit – try cutting it up if you have a fussy eater or making a container of mixed fruits e.g. blueberries, strawberries and grapes.
- Dried fruit: sultanas, apricots, apples, pineapple, paw paw, dates.
- Vegetable sticks: carrots, celery, cucumber, green or red capsicum.
- Low fat yoghurt-frozen or from the fridge mashed with fresh or frozen fruit.
- Smoothies or Milkshakes (with fruit and/or yoghurt).
- Cheese sticks.
- Toasted sandwiches filled with tuna, salmon, tomato or cheese.
- Wholemeal biscuits or toasted fingers with vegemite or peanut butter.
- Cheese slices melted on wholemeal toast or crackers.
- Whole wheat breakfast cereal with low fat milk.
- Children also need to drink plenty of water each day. Limit the amount of fruit juice, cordial and soft drinks children have, as these drinks are high in sugar and kilojoules.
Source: Australian Government Department of Health