We spoke with Adina Fradkin, MS, RD, LDN, our nutrition consultant, who shared some light into the importance of introducing nutritious snacks and ingredients into kids meals. Here’s her food for thought.
Why are healthy snacks so important for kids?
“Healthy snacks are so important for kids because introducing them to nutritious snacks and normalizing these foods set up healthy eating habits for the future. When children are accustomed to being served healthy snacks, these are the foods that they will choose over and over again, even without an adult telling them to.”
“There are more snack choices than ever for kids these days, but having nutritious snack staples at home or on the go establishes a routine for children. Snacks are also a great opportunity to include foods that children might not typically eat during a meal. For example, adding Soom Tahini to dip carrot or apple sticks into is a great way to introduce kids to tahini, even if that isn’t a food that they are used to eating with meals.”
“Parents should encourage snacks that include fiber and a balance of different nutrients. Fiber is found in fruits [like dates], vegetables, whole grains, and beans (just to name a few sources), and many children do not eat nearly as much fiber as is recommended. Offering snacks that include fruits and vegetables is a fantastic way to increase a child’s fiber intake.”
“Dips like tahini, hummus, and salad dressing are tasty additions to many snacking vegetables like carrots, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes, and nut butters and tahini go great with fruits like apples, pears, and bananas. These snacks also check the box of providing a good balance of nutrients – the fruits and vegetables provide carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals, while the different types of dips provide some protein and healthy fats.”
Should I only feed my children healthy snacks and ingredients?
“A common misconception about healthy snacks is the idea that every snack needs to be super nutritious or natural. While it’s wonderful and important to introduce kids to healthy foods, I also believe it’s incredibly impactful to allow them to eat treats sometimes! This helps children view food less through a polarizing good versus bad food lens, which can be a precursor for disordered eating and eating disorders, but understand that all types of food are allowed and can be enjoyed in moderation.” We like to think that Chocolate Soom makes for a great treat, while still providing nutritional benefits. That’s why we call it our guiltless indulgence. Read this blog post to learn why it makes for a more nutritious option than other chocolate spreads on the market, like Nutella.
What types of nutritious snacks should I feed my kids at home?
There are an array of nutritious and delicious snacks to feed your children. “One great homemade healthy snack is homemade granola bars. Not only are these so much cheaper to make than buying wrapped granola bars at the grocery store, but you can adjust the ingredients based on what your child likes. Consider ingredients like oats, dried fruit, shredded coconut, nuts, chocolate chips, and nut butters or tahini. If you have a child who is interested in cooking, homemade granola bars are a super simple and kid-friendly snack for them to help prepare! This snack will provide fiber from the oats, vitamins and minerals from dried fruits and nuts, and healthy fats from nut butters or tahini, and you can adjust the sugar that you add to them, if any at all.”
Another great option for a “…healthy homemade snack is a yogurt parfait [or yogurt bowl]! Plain yogurt, which is high in calcium and protein, can be naturally sweetened or flavored with all sorts of foods – from fresh or dried fruit, to seeds and nuts, to drizzles of tahini or nut butters. This can be a wonderfully balanced snack as well, and one where kids can have input into personalizing it just how they like it.”