Children are always on the go, and as much as we want them to eat healthy, sometimes it can be hard to keep up with them. Snacking is important for children because it provides them the energy that they need. Unhealthy eating can pave the way for bad eating habits later on. Parents then need to ascertain that kids get the needed nutrients, from the right food choices.

Some people may think that eating in between meals is bad. However, experts say that snacking is not harmful for as long as you choose the right foods. It also prevents kids from overeating during mealtimes. Research has also shown that snacking during the day can improve mood and motivation. Aside from that, it may also have good effects on concentration.

Kids will always have their preferences. Parents should try to evaluate whether the choices they make are healthy snack items. Try to pay attention to labels because even if they are marked as low fat or fat free, it can also be loaded with calories. Other food items can also be high in fat and sugar, even if it is advertised as cholesterol free. Good choices include those that contain more grains. Choose whole grain pretzels, crackers and cereals. These are healthy food choices because they not only provide the necessary nutrients, but they also stay in the stomach longer.

It is also important to implement a no snack zone at home especially in front of the television. Children can play and munch on food items mindlessly, and end up consuming more calories than needed. Be firm in setting the kitchen as the only place in the house for snacking. It is also best to always have healthy snack items stocked up on the refrigerator. Cut up fresh fruits and vegetables that can be readily eaten, and store them in the fridge. Parents should also set a good example in terms of eating healthy. Children look up to their parents, and children need to see that you also eat these healthy snack items.

Children love their sweets and instead of stocking up on cookies and ice cream, you can offer frozen yogurt, fat free pudding or frozen fruit bars. You can also create healthier versions of your child’s favorite smoothies. Opt for healthier ingredients like skim milk, fat free yogurt and fresh fruit. You can even make your own fruit bars. You can puree bananas, berries and melon, and then add a few tablespoons of fruit juice. You can freeze the mixture in molds or even a paper cup.

Ice cream sandwiches are appealing to kids but they are high in calories and sugar. Parents can improvise by mixing mashed bananas with peanut butter as a spread for graham crackers. After freezing, children can easily mistake this healthy snack alternative for ice cream sandwiches.

Parents should also allow children to indulge once in awhile. It may not be wise to strictly have your child avoid unhealthy snack items completely. This will only make them go out of their way, to eat the unhealthy stuff. Allow them to eat the foods that they want in small portions, a couple of times in a week.

Time spent in the kitchen can also be bonding time with the kids. You can have your child mix batter for a healthier cookie recipe. Make food preparation fun and allow them to participate. Although healthy snacking can mean a longer time in the kitchen, sometimes it is a wise investment in terms of making sure that you are not setting your kids to unhealthy eating habits later in life.