How to Develop Healthy Snacking Habits in Kids | Well Begun is Half Done
Going crazy, trying to steer your kids towards healthy snacking habits? Well, join the bandwagon!
Have you been trying to coax your little one into eating certain fruits and vegetables that he/she wouldn’t generally touch? Are you worried about your kid’s daily nutritional intake? Are you grappling with the fact that your child has become a picky eater?
Most importantly, how do you plan on getting your child to adopt healthy snacking habits early on in life?
Well Begun is Half Done
Building a positive relationship with meaningful eating is of the utmost importance.
An adage by the famous philosopher Aristotle, “well begun is half done”, is apt for this situation.
Inculcating healthy eating habits in kids early on in life forms the foundation of their adult lives.
Using inventive, fun and delicious ways to include fruits and vegetables in the kids’ diet is a great way to encourage healthy eating habits in them.
Healthy snacking habits foster a positive relationship with food, culling out any negative messaging in the form of scolding or shaming the child, which only leads to bigger problems.
So, apart from encouraging a healthy and happy outlook towards fruits and vegetables, how can healthy snacking habits be inculcated in kids, you ask? Read on.
Ways to Encourage Healthy Snacking Habits in Kids
1. Reduce Sugar Intake
|An average child gets 16% of his/her total calories from added sugar. A massive 10 teaspoons a day!|
We need to keep this number between 0-5%!
Juvenile diabetes is a reality! Extensive research establishes that added sugar is linked to childhood obesity, chronic diseases, behavioural issues, and more.
So, how do we ensure the kids’ sweet tooth stays happy while also ensuring they don’t binge on sweet ‘nothings’?
Reduce kids' intake of added sugar. Don’t add sugar in milk, right from when they are babies. It will help develop their taste buds accordingly. Don’t serve them sugar-laden snacks, instead, go for desserts made from the natural sugar - use dates, honey, fig etc.
Introduce fruits - in raw form, in healthy desserts and snacks, as they are a fabulous source of natural sugar. They are full of all essential nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fibre, folate etc. and build immunity and fight against infections and diseases.
The catch here is to make these enjoyable. Kids like variety, they like some fun, colour. Regular bores them. Mango or strawberry-chocolate mousse, fruit popsicles, fruit salsa, are a few interesting options.
One such inventive form is FRU2go. A 100% pure fruit snack full of the goodness of fruits and packing a healthy punch.
Attractively packaged, it contains no preservatives or added flavours and colours and is available in four delicious flavours to delight kids and adults alike.
One can enjoy strawberry, banana, mango and apple all year round, without losing on their nutritional value. In short, energy-on-the-go!
2. Increase Protein Intake
Proteins are vital for the proper physical and mental development of a growing child.
Tofu, pulses, cottage cheese, soya, cereals, peas, nuts, dairy, seeds, beans etc. are all great sources of protein and can be easily included in a child’s diet.
3. Choose Whole Grains
By whole grains, we don’t mean, stuff the kids’ tiffin with bread! Instead, other appealing alternatives that can be used as healthy snacks for kids, including millet, barley, brown rice, quinoa, etc.
4. Regulate Eating
Give kids 4-5 small meals per day. Children who snack all day, do not have the appetite or desire to try new foods.
It’s ALRIGHT for children to be hungry, and even encouraged! They are less likely to be picky when the mealtime does come making healthy food taste better.
5. Lesser Salt, Lesser Sodium
|Kids should consume less than 1500mg of sodium per day. This means a little over 1/2 a teaspoon.|
Too much sodium puts kids at high risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and even kidney disease.
Being vigilant and checking labels and avoiding added salt wherever possible are easy ways to stay below the recommended limit.
6. Reduce Intake of Fatty & Fried Products
Allowing your child free-flowing access to fried, fatty, sugary and salt-laden products, is a sure-shot way of burying any hope you might have that they will develop healthy snacking habits.
As parents, we must teach them the art of moderation. Indulge occasionally, but don’t be driven by it.
7. Increase the Water Intake, Go Easy of Sweetened Drinks
Water is vital for children. It is crucial to keep them hydrated and keep their system running smoothly.
However, the kids tend to choose sugar-laden drinks in the name of water. We must put a stop to it. These drinks are at the root of many health problems plaguing children today, including childhood obesity. These beverages sometimes even end up replacing food, that has actual nutrients and fibre, which are vital for a child’s balanced growth.
Make sure they spend all their energy on the playground and get the appropriate amounts of sleep. When kids spend are active outdoors, rather than in front of a screen, they sleep better, have fewer behaviour problems and are happier and healthier.