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Once the lockdown ends, your kids will be back to school and you will soon find yourself stressing over their homework, uniform, and lunches. While the super-mom in you can manage the rest, the dreaded question, “mom what’s for tiffin tomorrow?” can make you lose sleep. Been there, done that.
Well, kids can get really fussy when it comes to eating healthy, especially snacks. Making healthy food that your kid finds interesting may seem like an impossible target at first but once you have the basics down, you and your little one are both in the win-win situation.
Trust me, there’s a snack available even for the pickiest of kid out there and the good news is that most of them don’t require hours of preparation. Here’s rounding up for you the best school snacks for kids that your little munchkins will ask more of.
Before we jump into the snacking ideas, let’s understand the things you must keep in mind while choosing the right snacks for kids’ tiffin:
How to Choose Best School Snacks for Kids
School snacks for kids can be either store-bought or made at home. If you are buying from the store, keep the following things in mind:
- Added Sugar: Especially while buying energy bars make sure the product has minimum sugar. Ideally, 5-8 gm. sugar is enough for a kids’ energy bar.
- Check the Label: Anything that reads fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains can go directly into your shopping cart.
- Low Sodium Content: Be careful of the sneaky salt. Surprisingly, many snacks that claim to be healthy are loaded with salt.
- Check out The Protein Content: Understand the product’s nutrition label, choosing protein over trans-fat.
If you are planning to prepare the snack right at home, remember these rules:
- Be Creative and Add Fruits and Veggies: Preparing snacks at home gives you the freedom to use your own creativity. Use this smartly to increase your child’s fruit and vegetable intake. Pair them with dairy, lean protein, and whole grains to make them healthier and tastier.
- Stock up the Fridge with Some Healthy Foods: Make sure you never run out of healthy food items like fruits, veggies, nuts, and hummus. When these healthy foods items are available handy at your home it becomes easier to come up with a quick recipe.
- Think of the Rainbow: Kids love everything that is a treat to the eyes. While preparing snacks for them make it a point to include a rainbow of colours in the form of leafy greens, bell peppers, and other colourful veggies.
Healthy School Snacks for Kids
Snacks can be a crucial part of your child’s diet so they must be a healthy mix of fiber, protein, and some fat. Though quickly packing those sugar-laden cookies or caloric potato chips may seem an easier option but you don’t have to compromise on nutrition for convenience. The importance of snacking has been emphasized in a recent study that said snacks account for 40% of total added sugar and 29% of fats per day in kids.
Here are a few options for healthy snacks for kids at school:
Skip the microwaved popcorn and delight your kids with stove roasted makhanas. The crispy and crunchy snack is a powerhouse of protein, fiber, calcium, and iron. Makhanas are full of antioxidants, improve bone strength, and help build muscle mass, making them an ideal snacking option.
All you have to do is dry roast the makhanas in a tsp. of ghee for a couple of minutes and sprinkle some salt and black pepper on it. Many flavoured versions of makhanas are also available in the market that can easily become your kids’ favourite.
Recommended: Peri Peri Makhana (INR 150) from Sattvikko
Well, here’s the thing about cookies- they can be the unhealthiest thing in the world and the healthiest nibble depending on the ingredients used in their making. Oats, dried fruits, and nuts are things to look up to. Choose whole-wheat options or rolled oats to add more fiber to your kid’s diet.
Recommended: Apple and Blueberry Cookies (INR 160) from Timios.
The truth is that most energy bars in the market are loaded with sugar and calories. So carefully read the label before throwing the packs in your cart. Look for options that are packed with protein and fiber. Ideally, one bar for children shouldn’t have more than 200 calories. Also it should have two gm. each of protein and fiber at the minimum.
Recommended: Nutty Energy Bar (INR 140) from Timios.
Experts recommend kids need at least two-three servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Thinly sliced fruits like apples, oranges, banana and kiwi are healthy snack options to give your child in between meals. You may also include veggies like avocado, diced cucumbers, and carrot slices to make sure they get their daily dose of fruits and vegetable requirements.
You might like: 15 Quick and Healthy Indian Snacks
Dried fruits like raisins, apricots, cherries, apples and mangoes can be your go-to option when you are too tired to cook. A lot of dehydrated fruits are also available that melt easily in the mouth. So if your kid gets finicky about fruits, consider these as a substitute to give them the goodness of fruits.
Recommended: Strawberry and Banana Melties (INR 209) from The Mumum Co.
After-School Snacks for Kids
Kids have different energy requirements at different times of the day. After-school snacks should be healthy, easy, nutritious, and more grab-and-go. If your kids hate a certain type of food at mealtimes after school snack is the best way to up their daily intake of the produce.
These are the best after-school snacks for teens, preschoolers, and kindergartners:
Nut Butter with Fruits
Pair a fruit (that the kids wouldn’t eat otherwise) with nut butter. Try apples with peanut butter, bananas with almond butter, and strawberries with cashew butter. This not only increases the nutritional value of the fruit but also makes it more filling (not to mention tasty).
Recommended: Chocolate Peanut Butter (INR 180) from Alpino.
A blend of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, it can’t get healthier than this. Nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E, copper, manganese, and zinc and are a storehouse of protein and fiber. Make the kids assemble their own trail mix to make it a fun activity for them. Plus, they will also learn the names and benefits of different nuts and seeds.
Swap the sugary ice-cream for a healthier alternative like Greek yogurt. Frozen yogurt has all the delectable qualities of ice cream but with fewer calories. These are available in a number of flavours that means the little ones are also spoilt for choices. Since kids love everything that’s frozen and creamy, yogurt makes a better substitute for the good old ice cream.
Though there are plenty of snack options available in the market, most of them do little than contributing to childhood obesity and cavities. To ensure your kid is consuming an overall healthy diet, it is important for you to make smart snacking choices for them. However, planning occasional sweet treats (but in moderation) wouldn’t do much harm. After all, they deserve a small sugary surprise after a week of eating healthy.