What Dietitian's Offer their Kids for Snacks
Updated: Apr 19, 2021
Everyone loves snacks! Snacks are great opportunities to fill in little tummies or growing teens until the next eating opportunity. I sometimes feel like my sole job as a parent is dealing with all.the.snacks all.the.time.
As a dietitian, it’s one of the things I get asked most.
-What can I give for an after school snack?
-Is a bedtime snack ok?
-All my kid will eat is snacks.
-Why do they want soooo many snacks?!?!
Here’s the basics and it even relates back to the Division of Responsibility in Feeding. Parents decide WHEN the snack is offered, usually at the midpoint between one meal and the next. Many parents I talk to find a posted snack schedule helpful, especially during these snack-demic pandemic times. This will help you know when to say 'yes' to snacks and when it's time to do something else until the next snack time arrives. Parents also decide WHAT food is offered for snacks. Sitting down at the table (or kitchen island) is the best place for a snack. It’s totally OK to give your kids a little choice here, choosing between 2 things keeps the choices from getting too overwhelming. Older kids may still need some help in this area, sometimes more than…”there’s food in the fridge, make yourself something!” Also mama, you need snacks and a break too. So sit, eat & ENJOY.
My basic formula for a snack is:
Serve at least 2 foods.
Let’s call them Snack Combos
Here are a couple snack combo ideas:
-fibre + protein:
veggies/fruit/whole grains + meat/egg/cheese/nut butter/bean dip/yogurt
-1 food kid wants + 1 food mom wants
-kids favourite food + new food
-have a theme:
“orange” fish crackers, “orange” slices OR
“square” turkey slices, “square” crackers, and “square” cheese
Some of these snacks may not be as filling as others. But that’s ok if your goals are trying to introduce a new food or to have some fun (food exposure) at snack time. We don’t have to be ‘perfectly balanced’ all the time.
Remember it’s the child jobs to decide IF or HOW MUCH they eat. So if they don't take the orange slices or broccoli this time around, it’s all good. If we don't at least offer new or non preferred foods, then they will never have the opportunity to try them. Start with small amounts of non preferred foods to prevent food waste.
My last tip is about packaging. If you have food that comes in a package: cookies, bars, crackers, yogurt & fruit pouches. I recommend taking it out of the package and putting it in something else. This can make it easier to make small changes in the future.
Here are some examples of "dietitian approved" snacks you can offer when you feel like taking your snack game to the next level.
Morning Snack. Ants on a Log 2.0
Flax, chia and hemp mixed into the peanut butter! With extra sprinkles if you have someone who loves to 'sprinkle'.
Also added is a potential non-preferred broccoli tree topper to explore. Maybe not to eat just yet - broccoli doesn't really taste good with peanut butter anyway 😜
Fun afternoon “orange themed” snack. A small amount of preferred crackers and some friendly looking orange slices that may create some new food curiosity.
Kids can be really hungry after school. Almost like the-4th-meal-of-the-day hungry. If we are able to provide them with a balanced & filling snack, the less likely they are to choose highly processed foods.
Bedtime snack. Layered Chia pudding - with a homemade berry sauce and frozen peaches. Loaded with fibre and plant based omega 3s for that extra long sleep 🤞🏼 Click here for recipe