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Choose satisfying combos. – “The
most important approach [to snack-
ing] is to combine protein and whole
grain carbohydrate,” says Taub-Dix.
Smart Snacks
For example, offer whole grain crack-
ers or toast, spread with nut butter. If a
child insists on something sweet, add
by elisa Bosley a little honey or cinnamon. For times
when the kids go straight from school
to an activity, “You can make them a
sandwich; it can be kept in their back-
packs,” advises Taub-Dix.
Think accessible and quick. – What’s
ready and in plain sight is what’s likely
to get eaten, so make wholesome
snacks easy to find at all times. Try
string cheese or yogurt for calcium and
protein; raw food fruit and nut bars
for fiber and vitamins; unsalted nuts,
trail mix with dried berries, and whole
grain granola or organic breakfast Os
The kids just walked in the door, ravenous, and headed
for antioxidants and good carbs.
straight for the fridge. They grab an apple or a few mini-carrots
Dip it. – Offer vegetables such as sugar
and a big glass of organic milk. Sound hard to believe? Why
snap peas, mini-carrots, sliced cu-
fuss if they go for cookies or chips instead?
cumber, red bell peppers or zucchini,
paired with hummus or a yogurt-based
dip. (Taub-Dix recommends Greek
Because, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture re-
yogurt, which tastes more like sour
cream.) If it has to be chips, buy variet-
search, snacking has increased fourfold in the past 25 years.
ies made with whole grains and baked.
Snacks now contribute 26 percent of total calories consumed
Go easy on the juice. – Although juice
by kids ages 2 and older—with sugar stealing the show from
can be a good source of vitamins, it
vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
also delivers concentrated calories.
Rather, focus on water or sparkling
water, livened up with a splash of
hese days, kids have 5,000 children imitate what they see, so we
activities that they are doing can’t expect our child to eat healthy
vitamin-rich lemon, cranberry, blue-
after school, on weekends snacks if we’re noshing on junk. Start
berry or pomegranate juice.
or before school, and they really need by eliminating unhealthy nibbles
to be fueled properly,” says Bonnie from the house. Instead, keep bowls
Teach youngsters to be label savvy. –
Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian and of grapes, cherries or plums out on
Just because something is labeled
mother of three from New York City, the counter, and be sure that the kids
“natural” doesn’t mean it’s the best
who has served as a national spokes- catch their parents eating them.
choice. “Take your kids to the market
woman for the American Dietetic As-
and look at the labels with them,” sug-
sociation. “It’s important that you think Give everyone a time out. – Offer food
gests Taub-Dix. “Compare two prod-
about what your kids are eating.” in a relaxed environment, away from the
ucts that are similar and ask, ‘Why is
Cookies, fish crackers and “juice” television. A 2006 study published in the
this one better than that one?’ Empha-
pouches, while easy to grab, lack the International Journal of Obesity found
size cause and effect: When you teach
good stuff a child’s body needs, she that increased TV time directly correlates
a child that calcium is going to make
says. The trick is to provide choices to increased intake of sugary drinks and
bones strong for doing all those fun
that are quick, irresistible and healthy. empty-calorie snacks, as well as lower
things that kids do, they understand
Here’s how to mind the munchkins’ vegetable intake. Have worthwhile bites
the ‘why’ of healthy eating.”
munchies with smart-snack strategies. ready and mindfully keep the to-do
Elisa Bosley is a freelance writer and
list from demanding attention while
a food editor who also develops and
Be a model. – As with all things, the family enjoys a snack together. tests recipes.
Pr i n t e d o n re c y c l e d Pa P e r t o Pr o t e c t t h e en v i r o n m e n t
August 2009 31
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