Q: I’m trying to have some healthy snacks available for my child. Can you give me some ideas?
A: If it’s a test day at school, you can boost the brain power with B vitamins and the amino acid choline. The vitamins can reduce stress and anxiety while the choline boosts alertness. Apple slices dipped in natural nut butter can serve the choline. Turkey and some low-fat Swiss cheese can supply everything you need. It’s also important for your child to be well hydrated.
If your child has a stack of homework looming on the table after school, consider omega-3 fats for calming the mind and improving focus. Flaxseeds are loaded with omega-3s. Flaxseed crackers drizzled with a little bit of honey or a hard-cooked egg can get your child ready to get the work done.
Many children have sporting events that occur close to dinner time. It’s important to keep your child hydrated with water or an electrolyte-containing beverage. Fruit can give an instant power boost as well as hydrate. A good pregame snack can include 8 ounces of a low sugar sports drink, a piece of string cheese and a few whole grain crackers. Orange slices make a great half time snack, along with grapes, watermelon or apples. And 8 ounces of fat-free chocolate milk (only 8 ounces, only after an intense period of activity) can help muscles recover.
And if you need some snacks for long trips, consider foods that take some time to eat, like sliced veggies. If your children are older (you don’t have to worry about choking) and don’t have allergies, pistachios, peanuts in the shell, edamame and clementines are all good choices.
If you need help with making your child’s diet healthier, please ask your child’s health care provider for tips and tricks.