Healthy Snacks for Kids on the Go
Not only is it OK to eat between meals, snacking can actually be good for your child.
To control portions and help kids learn the value of doing so, Levine suggests keeping some zip-top bags on hand, and letting kids prepare their own portion-controlled servings.
"You can use their age as a guideline - for example, a 7-year-old child can be allowed seven M&M candies, or seven potato chips, seven animal crackers," says Levine. "It teaches them counting skills as well as portion control."
4. Make It Easy to Eat Well
Having trouble getting your kids to eat healthy snacks -- like fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain items? Make these foods easy to munch, and they will eat more of them, Livingston says.
"No matter what food it is you're trying to get your child to eat, if you make it accessible, if it's easy to eat, if it's there waiting for them in the fridge or on the counter, you will increase the likelihood that they will eat it," says Livingston.
But cutting up fruits and veggies into bite-sized pieces isn't quite enough. Snacks should also be packaged in a way that makes it easy for kids to "grab and go," Livingston says.
"The key is not only making snacks easy to eat, but also easy to share," Levine adds. "Kids love to share their snacks at school and if you help them do that, they are more likely to eat what you prepare, rather then trade up for something from a vending machine."
Snacks that are easy to portion out into plastic bags and take along include fruit and veggie chunks; a mixture of dry cereal and nuts, raisins, and a few chocolate chips; "sandwiches" of whole-wheat crackers with peanut or almond butter; fruit roll-ups cut into bite-sized portions; half an energy bar cut into bite-sized pieces; popcorn or cookies measured out into 100-calorie portions.
5. Make It Yourself
Some pre-packaged snacks are quite healthy. But when you make a healthy snack from scratch, it's easy to "hide" the healthy ingredients, and give your kids the taste they want along with the nutrition you want them to have, Livingston says.