What is a good snack?

A snack, by definition, is a small meal in between heavier meals. In order for it to be a good snack, it must pass the Quality/Quantity/Timing test.

Quality – Natural ingredients, no preservatives or sugar added
Quantity – Small amount
Timing – Only once per day

For children and even adults, the best time of day for a snack is after school. Make the after-school snacks count by planning and preparing them at home.

Fresh Fruit Cocktail Try a fresh fruit cocktail! 

Now that the weather’s getting warmer, this fresh fruit cocktail will be the perfect cool-down snack for your child’s after school treat! Look around your kitchen or pantry for a variety of fresh fruits (apples, pears, grapes, strawberries … any fruit is good), chop it up into small, bite-size pieces, and add the juice of one orange to avoid oxidation. Thats it!

Nutritional benefits: 

All types of fruit provide a significant amount of the vitamins and nutrients needed to keep your child growing strong.

Eat This, Not That:

Try a fresh fruit cocktail instead of a packet of processed “fruit” snacks from the grocery store. One brand of fruit snack, Welch’s Berries and Cherries is full of empty calories and artifical ingredients.

  • Corn Syrup: otherwise known as sugar.  Look for natural sugars, such as those found in fruit.
  •  0 grams of fiber: Welch’s Fruit Snacks won’t satifisy your child until dinnertime because unlike real fruit, it contains no fiber.
  • 19 grams of carbohydrates:  The carbohydrates found in fruit snacks provide no nutritional value. Real fruit contains carbohydrates but the carbohydrates found in fruits can improve digestion and acts as fuel for the muscles.
  • Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellow 5:  These are the artifical flavors found in fruit snacks to appeal to children. Fruit, on the other hand, is naturally colorful and needs no artifical sweeteners.

 

 

 

Find more healthy snack ideas in my new book!

In my book, The Step Up Diet, I provide a step-by-step plan to help families experience what it is like to eat the right way. The Step Up Diet teaches the body and the brain to recognize what types of food are healthy to eat, and to establish a healthy eating schedule. By focusing on one step—one segment of the day—at a time, the ultimate goal becomes less overwhelming and more manageable, helping us stay on target with our goals of eating healthier in 2013.

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.