By: Nona Evans
Snacking is a major part of any kid's day – whether it’s a midday boost before soccer practice or a pre-dinner tide-me-over. In any scenario, snacking should help your child curb hunger, energize, and focus. Cookies, candy bars, and chips won’t accomplish any of these snack-time objectives and will instead leave your little one feeling sluggish. Nutritious snacking can make a huge difference in your health – regardless of your age.
Smart snacking stems from making smart choices. Whole Kids Foundation is dedicated to helping kids learn to eat better – and enjoy it! Whenever and wherever hunger strikes, there are many ways to teach your kids to make better choices and ways to substitute a whole foods option like fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, or seeds. Here are some tips to set your little one up for snacking success:
- Give your kids a role: Bring your kids along when you make a trip to the grocery store. Allow them to select the snacks you will stock in their lunchbox and in the pantry. When snack time comes along, they will be excited to eat the fresh veggies and colorful fruit they handpicked themselves!
- Try new things: I love bringing my son along to Whole Foods Market so we can both scope out new and delicious products. Encourage your kids to try one new healthy snack each week – cookies, cake, and chips will seem much less exciting!
- Go for grain: Snacks made with whole-grains, such as whole-grain pretzels or cereal, will provide tons of energy thanks for the fiber, protein, and essential vitamins. Spread almond butter on a piece of whole-grain toast and top with bananas for a sweet, filling snack.
- Get cooking: Have your kids join you in the kitchen to prep snacks for their school day. They can use their favorite cookie cutter shape to create bites out of low-fat cheese slices and whole-grain tortillas. Use chopsticks to make kebabs out of fruit slices and design fun and colorful towers that are packed with nutrients. Make your own veggie chips out of kale or sweet potatoes and bag them together for the next day.
- Expand the menu: Bring new items into the mix, such as mango, avocado, or zucchini. Have your kids choose a few foods and mix and match for new flavor combinations.
Whole Kids Foundation’s website has a wide variety of recipes to choose from so your child will never get bored at snack time. We also have collected some of our favorite recipes from around the country to help you with cooking after school. Some of these snacks and meals are so tasty no one will realize that they are healthy too! My favorites include Chocolate Avocado Pudding and Edamame Guacamole. Be sure to check back in from time to time as we add new recipes frequently!
Nona Evans, Whole Kids Foundation President & Executive Director Nona has a longstanding passion for improving the experience of children's education. She has married passion with the importance of nutrition and access to healthy food choices through Whole Kids Foundation, a philanthropic endeavor of Whole Foods Market. Driven by a belief that the best way to ensure a bright future is to inspire it in young people, Nona has spent the last chapter of her career focusing on innovative partnerships that improve education and support healthier foodservice programs in schools.