Choosing healthy snacks and drinks for your children can be hard. There are many options.
Fruits and vegetables are good choices for healthy snacks. They are full of vitamins and low in calories and fat. Some types of crackers and cheeses also make good snacks. Other healthy snack choices include:
Put snacks in small plastic bags so they are easy to carry in a pocket or backpack. Use small bags to give your child the right size portions.
Avoid junk food snacks like chips, candy, cake, cookies, and ice cream. It is easier to keep kids away from these foods if you do not have them in your house.
It's OK to let your child have an unhealthy snack once in a while. Children may try to sneak unhealthy food if they are never allowed to have these foods. The key is balance.
Other things you can do include:
If you are not sure if a snack is healthy, read the Nutrition Facts label.
Encourage children to drink a lot of water.
Avoid sodas, sport drinks, and flavored waters.
Even 100% juices can add weight. A child drinking a 12-ounce orange juice every day, in addition to other foods, can gain up to 15 pounds per year.
Children, ages 2 - 8, should drink about 2 cups of milk a day. Children older than 8 should have about 3 cups a day. It may be helpful to serve milk with meals and water between meals and with snacks.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pe diatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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