(StatePoint) Snack-times are as important as mealtimes to children’s overall nutrition. You don’t want your kids trading away healthy snacks for cupcakes every day of the week.
One out of every three children in America is overweight or at risk of becoming overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s almost 25 million kids with a risk of developing such ailments as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and more. It’s time for parents to take charge and make changes.
“Unfortunately many snack foods that are marketed to kids are high in saturated fats, sugar, salt and preservatives,” says Edmond Sanctis, co-founder of Sahale Snacks, a producer of healthy, all-natural snack foods. “It’s all about making healthy snacks fun and available,” says Sanctis.
Set a Good Example
What you, as role models, eat really matters. If kids see you enjoying fruit, nuts, veggies and other healthful treats, they are more apt to follow your lead.
The night before you go to work, let your kids see you packing a smart snack, such as dried fruit or nuts. Fill your water bottle, and then fill theirs in front of them before leaving in the morning for work or school.
Clean out the Cupboards
Keep your pantries and cupboards clear of sticky snacks loaded with bad saturated fats, processed sugars, preservatives and high sodium counts. Remember, if you don’t buy something it can’t make its way into your children’s stomachs as an after-school snack! Take charge!
Load-Up on Good Stuff
Keep a bowl of fresh fruits and nuts on the counter at home. Refrigerate cut fruits and vegetables in small bags for easy snacks or opt for pre-packaged healthful snacks. But take heed: healthful shouldn’t mean boring.
Go beyond simple trail mixes by trying the more interesting fruit-and-nut blends available today. Sahale Snacks, for example, offers appealing all-natural combinations, such as cashews with pomegranate and vanilla, or a tasty blend of almonds with a dash of honey and sea salt. These healthful snacks are available in Wal-Mart, as well as many supermarkets and club stores.
Always read labels carefully before purchasing. How much is a serving and how many are in each package? Is it high in calories or sugar? How much fat is in each serving? Ingredients like organic evaporated cane juice make great alternatives to highly-processed sweeteners and chemicals.
It may take several attempts before children will sample or develop a taste for some foods, especially healthful ones they may have heard other kids denigrating. Don’t give up. And encourage family and friends to make fruits, nuts and vegetables available to your kids as snacks.
For more healthy snack ideas, visit www.sahalesnacks.com.
“Remember to mix things up by packing different fun, healthy snacks for your kids each day,” says Sanctis.
PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Monkey Business – Fotolia.com
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