Snack Time - A Bridge Between Meals

Snacks are an important part of your child's daily diet. Children need healthy snacks between meals to give them energy and nutrients. A good snack includes: at least one fruit or vegetable AND one whole grain or protein. Here are some tips for when your child says:

"I'm Hungry!"

  • Homemade snack packs! Rather than buying more expensive and less healthy prepackaged snacks, assemble snacks at home in small baggies. Mix together nuts and seeds, whole grain cereal, and dried fruit.
  • Be prepared. Have a supply of washed, cut up fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. Store them in clear containers at eye level so kids can see them.
  • Cut out the trans fat! Partially hydrogenated oils are often hidden in packaged foods like cookies and crackers as well as some popcorn and peanut butter.
  • Try naturally sweet. Replace high-sugar options with snacks that don't have added sugar. Use fresh, frozen, or dried fruit in yogurt or to make smoothies!
  • Serve cereal? A cup of whole grain cereal with less than 5 grams of sugar + low fat/skim milk + fruit (like cut up strawberries or bananas) = a great snack!
  • Try something new! Bored with the same old thing? Wander the grocery aisles and check nutrition labels.
  • Don't forget the fun. Try recipes that engage your child. See the recipe packet for fun and healthy snacks like Bugs on a Log, Tasty Bug, and Butterfly Bites.

"I'm Thirsty!"

  • Serve water or milk. For added fun try:
    • Adding fruit or frozen 100% fruit juice ice cubes to water.
    • Making juice "spritzers"- Mix a splash of 100% juice with sodium-free seltzer water.
    • Making "sun tea" by placing teabags or fresh mint leaves in a pitcher of water and leaving it out in the sun for several hours.
  • Do not buy drinks with added sugars. Remember that sugar is sometimes listed as sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, or dextrose. Don't be fooled, it's all just sugar!
  • Set limits. Limit soda and other sugary drinks (sweetened ice teas, fruit punch, etc.) to one 8-ounce serving per week.
  • Skip the sports drinks. Water is the best drink for active kids.
  • Avoid "diet" drinks with sugar substitutes like saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, or Splenda.
  • Limit 100% juice to 4 ounces per day (juice box size).

Helpful Hints for Healthy Choices

If your kids snack on:

Consider these snacks instead:

Pop Tarts® Granola bars*
Potato chips Whole grain crackers with hummus
Ritz Bitz® crackers Air-popped popcorn, whole-wheat crackers and cheese
Packaged muffins Homemade muffins with carrots, zucchini or oat bran
Ice cream Yogurt popsicles (see recipe pack)
Fruit snacks Dried berries, raisins, pineapples, mangos or banana chips
Popsicles 100% fruit juice pops or frozen bananas
Whole milk Low fat or skim milk
Soda Plain seltzer with a splash of fruit juice
White bread 100% whole wheat bread with peanut butter
French fries Baked Carrot Fries (see recipe pack)

*Health Valley?, Trader Joe's?, Nature's Valley? and Nature's Promise? brand granola bars contain no partially hydrogenated oils, and therefore no unhealthy trans fat