Snacks: Helping or Hurting Your Child’s Diet?

healthy snacks for kidsThe typical American diet is too high in calories and too low in vitamins and minerals.

A University of Minnesota research team looked at 2-11 year old children’s diets focusing on between meal snacking. They founds that most kids are eating energy-rich (calorie-dense) foods that are low in nutrients, so their snacking is not contributing to their overall health – just adding unnecessary calories.

Snack time can be a great chance to supplement your child’s health – we just have to pick the right snacks!

The researchers above found than 2-5 year olds consume >12 tsp sugar per day, while the 6-11 year old group consume >18 tsp sugar everyday! The kids they surveyed were also not getting enough vitamin D, Calcium or potassium, and were getting too many calories, carbohydrates and sodium.

So what should our kids be snacking on?

Fresh fruits, vegetables and yogurt are good options. These choices will help your child meet their nutritional requirements much better than typical snack food such as chips and crackers.

I’ve found at our house it’s all about presentation. If I cut up a pear and put it in a dish it will get eaten. If I put out carrots and cucumbers on a tray with some dip – gone in 10 minutes. But if I don’t actually put the fruits and veggies out there the natural tendency is to migrate to the salty high calorie snack food which doesn’t help with nutrition.

So first tip is to try not to have the unhealthy, easy to snack on bad stuff in the house in the first place! And the second tip would be to present the good stuff in an appealing manner – or go with the idea that if they are truly hungry they will eat the healthy stuff offered, otherwise they can wait until meal time!

Schedule an appointment today with your Lone Tree pediatrician if you would like to discuss healthy diet issues and your child.

About Debra Berry

Dr. Debra Berry is a board-certified pediatrician in Lone Tree, Colorado providing comprehensive pediatric care at Lone Tree Pediatrics. Her primary goal as a physician is to help each of her patients live a healthy life and grow into a happy productive adult.