By Shelly Stinson
Is your child constantly snacking? Although eating multiple small meals a day can be good, filling up on unhealthy snacks can be harmful. It is our job as parents to help our children learn healthy habits and the best way to do this is to make something that you can both enjoy together.
Kids learn a lot from watching their parents, mimicking their every action, for better or for worse. By sharing a healthy snack with your child it not only creates a positive association with food, but also encourages all family members to take on a healthy lifestyle together. Modelling good habits for your child when they are young will help them grow to appreciate the benefits of a healthy and well balanced diet as they get older.
The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that one out of every three kids is either overweight or obese. This raises concern as carrying excess weight increases children’s likelihood of major medical conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
The AHA also shares that being overweight may harm them psychologically, lowering their self-esteem and increasing their chance of depression. This makes finding ways to help our kids eat healthier critical to their wellness physically and mentally. By promoting healthy eating habits at a young age it encourages positive behavior that will stay with them their whole lives.
So what types of snacks are healthy and enjoyable for toddler and mom alike?
Baked Pita Chips and Hummus
What kid doesn’t like dipping foods? This enables them to show their independence as well as their ability to successfully get the dip from the bowl to their mouths. Adults like dips too. Between the crunch of the chip and the smoothness of the dip it can satisfy all your cravings. A healthy option is baked pita chips and hummus.
Hummus has a number of health benefits—North Dakota State University points out a couple of them as being lower risk of chronic disease and maintenance of a healthier body weight—thanks to its fiber, protein, and various nutrients. Baked pita chips are low in fat, giving you a healthy “chip experience”.
Greek Yogurt and Berries
The great thing about Greek yogurt and berries is that it’s like a dessert, but much healthier. For starters, the Greek yogurt supplies their young bodies with vitamin D, which is also good for moms. Harvard’s School of Public Health reports that approximately 1 billion people worldwide have a vitamin D deficiency. Add berries on top and now you’ve got some sweetness without added sugar, not to mention fibre and probiotics to help keep you both regular.
Although you can buy Greek yogurt with fruit already in it, kids often like to make their own. Try buying them separately and let them add the berries themselves. Giving your child a choice when it comes to food leads to a greater chance they will want to eat it!
A Big Glass of Fresh Juice
Children go through phases and unfortunately no matter how hard you try your child may not want to eat the foods you offer. That makes it difficult for you as a parent and can lead to negative feelings surrounding mealtime. So what do you do? Try a big glass of fresh juice full of healthy nutrients that also tastes great.
Involve your child in the process of choosing which fruits and veggies to add so they’re more likely to drink it. Juicing can benefit you too, providing you with the energy you need to keep up with your busy lifestyle.
It isn’t always easy to get kids to eat healthy, but these three options may make the process less of a struggle. For you and them. Try some of these today, comment below with your toddlers favorite food!
“Overweight in Children.” American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ChildhoodObesity/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp#.Vx91uI-cGUk. Updated August 17, 2015.
“The Many Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus.” North Dakota State University. https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food/pulse-crops/research/the-many-health-benefits-of-chickpeas-and-hummus.
“Vitamin D and Health.” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/.
http://intentblog.com/one-womans-path-to-wellness-through-integrative-medicine/. “One Woman’s Path to Wellness Through Integrative Nutrition.” Intent Blog.