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Healthy Snacking

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

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Snacking is important for children and adolescents to meet their energy and nutritional needs for growth and development. But snacking the wrong way can undermine the quality of a child’s diet and lead to weight problems.

“Snacking is very important. It gives their growing bodies the added fuel they need in between meals. Snacks contribute to 20% of the daily energy intake in children and adolescents,” says The Kid’s Doctor, pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard.

Dr. Hubbard emphasizes that after school children need to eat something before moving on to other activities like sports practice, dance or even homework. The problem is, she says, is that many children are eating sugary items or fatty snacks and not just healthy items. And, she advises that snack time should be a set time.

“You don’t want to have unrestricted access to snacks, which is called ‘grazing’ and you want to plan several hours before the next meal. So snack time should be an allocated time period.”

Dr. Hubbard says some healthy choices for snacks include:

  • Cheese
  • Fruit
  • Peanut Butter
  • Popcorn
  • Granola
  • Veggies and dip

“You can give your child choices, but they need to be healthy choices,” she says. But Dr. Hubbard also says it’s okay for parents to “give in” every once and a while and let your child have cookies or ice cream. As for beverages, Dr. Hubbard says milk is the best choice.

>Her final piece of advice to parents: “As a parent, when shopping, make healthy choices so junk isn’t even an option in the pantry at home.”

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