I was 9 years old when me and my sister were looking all over the house, desperate to find the secret key to open the cupboard, hearts pounding with excitement. A cupboard that opens the door to snack heaven. Triple chocolate chunk biscuits, cheetos and cheese ramitas (my favourites) were waiting for us there. If we didn’t succeed (which happened most of the time!) we had to have be content with a yogurt or fruit instead. Unless, my dad was at home since he would give us some coins to get our way at the local shop.
Kids love snacking. Their vibrant lifestyle and small stomachs often cause them to rummage through the fridge or the kitchen cabinets for a treat. According to nutritionists, kids need to eat every three to four hours to meet their nutritional needs. Nowadays, most kids in western countries, dive into junk food to satisfy their hunger. These foods are high in added sugars that can cause dental issues as well as other health problems!
Timing of snacks
As part of a healthy meal routine, toddlers should be offered 2-3 healthy snacks across the day. One mid-morning (between breakfast and lunch), one mid- afternoon (between lunch and tea) and an optional evening snack. This helps children to maintain their energy levels and provide important nutrients to support growth, development and learning.
Snacks to Stock
Here are some kid-friendly and tooth-friendly snacks to stock up on:
- Fresh fruits that are high in fibre like raspberries, mango, persimmon and apples.
- ice cubes made from fruit smoothies, great in the summer!
- Raw vegetables or whole-grain bread sticks with hummus or other dips
- Trail mix: nuts, dried fruit without added sugars, whole-grain pretzels and low-sugar dry cereal
- Plain/greek yoghurt, or mixed with unsweetened fruit puree/dried fruit or chopped fruit.
- Starchy Foods- pitta bread, bread fingers, chapatti, tortilla wraps, plain popcorn, rice cakes, low salt breadsticks, crackers, crumpet, bagel slices, sliced sweet potato.
- Cream cheese with mini-breadsticks
- Fruit smoothie – you can sneak in a few vegetables into the blender without them knowing since the sweetness of the fruit is so overpowering. That way, they get all the nutrients they need in one delicious treat.
Snacks to Avoid
Protect your child from dental illnesses and other chronic disorders by avoiding the following list of snacks:
- Cereals high in added sugars (check the label behind!)
- Candy bars, chocolate, caramel toffees.
- Doughnuts, cakes, tarts, pies, and other sweet pastries
- Fruit Roll-ups
- Soft drinks
The Role of Calcium and Vitamin D
Dairy products are a great source of calcium and can help build strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium from your diet. You can also include eggs, salmon, sardines, and mackerel in your child’s diet to get the most of Vitamin D.
Give your child 45 minutes of play time in the sun every day to boost Vitamin D absorption in the body ( this can be a bit trickier in the UK though I’m afraid!)
- Eat oranges! One of the more calcium-rich fruits
- Some varieties of cheese like feta, cheddar, Parmesan, Emmental and Gruyere.
- Canned sardines
- Salmon (with bones)
- Lactose-free milk
- Nuts, unroasted almonds, pistachios, and walnuts
- Vegetable milk (oat, almond, hazelnut) fortified with calcium
- Homemade granola bars
- Banana oatmeal pancakes
Just before bringing the curtain down..
If you do have your own cool and favourite recipe(s), please do share it with us! we want to spread healthy smiles all over 😉
Maybe we could sleep in
Make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it’s the weekend now.