Is snacking good for children?
Written by: Kyra More (Nutrition Student, University of Western Ontario) and Lisa Mina, RD
Snacking plays a large role in a child’s daily nutrition and good health. The type of snack and timing is important in helping children grow and develop.
Nutritious or ‘smart’ snacks can help children think and play. Look for snacks with higher amounts of protein, such as nuts, seeds, eggs and milk. As well, packing snacks with whole grains and fibre can help the body feel full longer and cut down on swings in energy level. Pair these snacks with a fruit or vegetable and you’ve got a smart snack.
Timing of snacks is also key. Enjoying nutrient-packed snacks between meals gives young bodies with small tummies a constant flow of energy. This helps to prevent feelings of drowsiness. Space out snacks so your kids will be hungry for meals.
Food habits created at an early age are most likely to continue into adulthood, so having a positive approach to food and eating is critical. For example, while it’s a parents role to decide on what to snack on, it’s okay to let kids choose between a couple of options. And while choosing nutritious snacks is important, they should not be forced.
So, have fun and be creative with snack time. Try new foods that are wholesome and nutritious whenever you can. That’s smart snacking!
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- Hess, JM., et al. What Is a Snack, Why Do We Snack, and How Can We Choose Better Snacks? A Review of the Definitions of Snacking, Motivations to Snack, Contributions to Dietary Intake, and Recommendations for Improvement, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 7, Issue 3, 1 May 2016, https://doi.org/10.3945/an.115.009571
- Hutchinson, J. M., et al. (2018). Snacking patterns of preschool-aged children: Opportunity for improvement. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 79(1), 2-5. doi:10.3148/cjdpr-2017-022
- Mintel Group. (2018). UK kid’s snacking market report. Retrieved from Mintel: https://store.mintel.com/uk-kids-snacking-market-report