Children have little stomachs. By spreading their food out across the day, we can help give them the energy they need to grow. But don't offer them too many snacks or make the portions too big, because then they might not eat their main meal. We suggest a schedule of regular meal and snack times, so their hunger cues have time to develop.
Choosing Healthy snacks
Keep a variety of healthy snacks at home
- Vegetables sticks with healthy dips, such as hummus or guacamole
- Natural yoghurt and fruit
- Healthy homemade muffins
- Dried fruit
- Egg, avocado or cheese on crackers
- Peanut butter or vegemite on rice cakes
Avoid giving your child junk food, because it's a poor sources of nutrition and won't satisfy their hunger.
Check out the following websites for more snack ideas and recipes:
Fresh foods are a good choice because they don’t have added salt, sugar or preservatives. But we all know that sometimes it's just easier to use packaged foods. With so many different products available, however, it gets confusing. That's why it's important to know how to read the nutritional information on food labels. It helps you to make healthier choices.
Tips for reading labels:
- When you look at the nutritional information panel, compare foods using the 'per 100g' column.
- When working out how many kilojoules of a nutrient you get from a food, use the per serve column
- Check that your portion size is the same as the one they recommend, because it isn't always
- Use the label to compare similar products, rather than completely different items, like yoghurt and biscuits
- The first 3 ingredients listed are the major ingredients. If one or more of these is fat, sugar or salt, you should consider buying a different product
What to aim for:
When looking at the ingredients list, be aware that some go by other names:
- Sugar = dextrose, fructose, glucose, malt
- Salt = baking powder, MBS rock salt, sea salt, sodium bicarbonate
- Fat = milk solids, coconut oil/milk/cream, copha, cream, lard or shortening
REMEMBER: If a food is high in fat, sugar, or salt, it doesn’t mean you have to avoid it all together. You may choose an option that has lower amount OR you can limit how often you have this food. Just don’t have it too regularly.
For more information on label reading, see the Eat for Health website.
[Source: Raising Children Network; Baker IDI; NHMRC Dietary Guidelines]