Healthy Snacks for Kids – March 2012

Do you often find your children asking for snacks between meals?  This isn’t necessarily a bad
According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Milwaukee, Mequon, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “More and more research is revealing that
we may be better off eating smaller meals and allowing ourselves to have a healthy snack twice a day to better maintain our metabolism and energy levels.”

“For example, if you eat breakfast at 7 a.m., your body may experience a dip and need a healthy snack around 10 a.m. to keep you going until lunchtime at noon. Likewise, in the afternoon, you may need a
snack around 3 p.m. to keep you going until dinner at 6 p.m.”

So what would be considered a healthy snack for you and your children to eat in between meals? Here are some helpful ideas:

Fresh Fruits and Veggies
According to Anderson, “Seasonal fruits and veggies are a wonderful snack for children and adults.”

For example, a single pear can provide up to six grams of fiber which is 24 percent of the recommended daily fiber for adults. Apples, which are another great source of fiber, are nutritious snacks as well… especially when dipped into peanut butter which is high in protein.

Other great healthy fruit or veggie snack ideas include carrots dipped in hummus or low-fat ranch dressing, celery served with peanut butter and raisins, fresh fruit or veggie kabobs, and smoothies
made with blended fruits or vegetables.

According to Anderson, “Many people discount the idea of being able to have a healthy snack that is in the dairy category. However, most dairy products are high in calcium and protein and therefore an
important part of all of our diets. Healthy snack choices in this category include low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese and salt-free pretzel sticks speared into low-fat cheese.”

Anderson adds that grains also play an important role in proper nutrition. Homemade banana bread, zucchini muffins, and carrot bars as well as whole-grain cereals and granola bars all make good
healthy snacks.

“The key is to watch the fat and sugar levels in these foods and try to make or purchase them with whole grains, so they are higher in fiber and will leave you feeling full,” says Anderson.

“Even whole-grain waffles quartered and served with a little low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter and raisins would make a good healthy snack,” says Anderson. “The key is to think outside the box
and not take the easy way out by reaching for a bag of prepackaged snacks which are often high in calories, sodium, and fat and low in fiber.”

Ebenezer Child Care Centers will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night on “Healthy Kids Snacks” on Tuesday, March 20th, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at their Oak Creek Child Care Center located at 220 West
Forest Hill Avenue. Snacks are a bigger part of kids’ diets than in the past. Snacks can make positive or
negative contributions to kids’ diets – depending on the choices we offer. Come to this Family Fun Night for many suggestions for “Healthy Kids Snacks!” Activities will include creating a fruit and vegetable collage, serving up healthy meals in the dramatic play area, and making a healthy trail mix. In addition to these activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required. Please
call 414-643-5070 to register.