Nurturing your kid’s hunger can be challenging given the many factors a parent must consider, such as nutrition, health benefits, and so on. Although it is one of the most important areas for parents to focus on during their children’s developing stages, a child’s fussy eating habits can be incredibly difficult. While children grow quickly, they require a lot of nutrition during their growing years to keep them energetic and moving throughout the day. To ensure that kids obtain their optimum nutritional value and energy from the snacks they consume, we must observe their eating patterns and look at alternative snacking options. Dr Ganesh Kadhe, Director, Medical and Scientific Affairs, Abbott’s Nutrition business offers some advice for parents that will help them choose snacks for their children.
Set a mealtime – While bouts of hunger can be satiated with snacks, it’s important that parents set fixed mealtime for their kids. Kid’s snacks preferably should be scheduled in between meals. Eating too much too close to a meal may cause them to lose their appetite; waiting too long to eat can lead to overeating.
Prioritise Protein – During the early years, children develop bone and muscle. It is thus advisable to include protein-rich food in their snacks. Protein helps to quench hunger for a longer time compared to high-sugar snacks such as chocolate. For instances, eggs, cheese, or nuts are a good source of protein that will give them the energy that they need throughout the day.
Taste – Children may enjoy eating sweets over vegetables leading them to refusing healthier food options and become a picky eater. Repeatedly exposing children to a new food item, within a positive social environment, and from an early age is effective in increasing children’s willingness to try it.
Appetite – Snacking near a mealtime may reduce children’s desire to eat the meal. Additionally, while it is essential to structure mealtimes and snacks, it is also essential to remove distractions (for eg: screens) as that may stop them from being aware of the body’s cues that influence appetite. This can lead them to overeat when they grow up or simply not eat enough. The fundamentals of lifelong physical and mental health are laid in early childhood. Building healthy habits and routines can help promote optimal growth and enhance children’s overall health.
Keeping these things in mind, below are five savvy yet healthy snacking options for your kid:
Hard Boiled Eggs and cheese cubes
Set yourself up for your kids’ snacking success by preparing a batch of hard-boiled eggs at the beginning of the week. Large eggs have 6 grams of protein a piece, and they pair perfectly with cheese cubes which are a great hit amongst kids. With 5 to 7 grams of protein and only 80 calories, cheese cubes are a great on-the-go snack option that can also go along with fresh veggies.
D.I.Y. Snack Mix
Why spend money on readymade snack mixes when you can make your own at home and with healthier ingredients? For a little snack that’s packed with flavor, combine unsalted almonds, walnuts, and unsweetened dried fruit with extras like unsweetened coconut flakes, raisins, dates, and seeds.
Poha is made with flattened rice, you can cook this with chopped onions, spices, herbs, lemon juice and peanuts. This is a refreshing, lemony dish and can be topped with some crunchy sev, fresh-cut onions, or grated coconut to make it look more appetizing to kids. This is also a great tiffin snack for kids.
Pancakes can be an easy to make and fun snack option for your kids. Adding some chocolate flavoured PediaSure powder to your mix will elevate the taste and increase the nutritional value of the snack. It is a complete and balanced nutrition solution with 37 nutrients, scientifically tested to help improve immunity and supports visible growth to children in 90 days.
Dhoklas and Idlis
Because they are low in fat and high in protein, they make excellent evening snacks. Steaming your dhoklas and avoiding topping them with sweet chutney will help you cut calories. Preparing idlis with oats will add extra boost of energy and protein to this dish.