(StatePoint) The New Year is the perfect time to evaluate what you feed your family, and make positive steps toward more wholesome meals. Snack time in particular is when a lot of great parents serve up some not-so-great offerings.
Here are a few ways to make sure you’re providing your family with some crucial vitamins and minerals during snack time:
Vitamin C is important for strengthening immunity. Whenever kids gather in large groups, such as in the classroom, at after-school, activities, or on the monkey bars, germs have a tendency to travel. But a regular dose of vitamin C can help keep kids cold and flu-free.
With that in mind, hydrate kids with orange juice or lemonade instead of soda. For snacks, try kiwi, citrus fruits and slices of bell pepper.
It’s almost impossible to cut out all sweets and treats, particularly when kids are involved! So rather than saying “no” to something delicious, ensure the sweet treats you serve your family offer some nutritional benefit.
For example, Snack Pack pudding cups contain as much calcium as an 8-ounce glass of milk (30 percent of your needed daily value) and are 60-120 calories per serving, which won’t break the calorie bank. With more than 20 flavors, including sugar-free and fat-free varieties, kids won`t get bored, so it’s easy to keep lunch or snack time fresh.
Protein is tricky because there are so many foods that contain a good dosage of protein, but aren’t necessarily the most healthful options.
Limit sources of protein that are high in saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol and contribute to obesity. Instead, opt for healthful snacks like unsalted nuts and seeds. A trail mix is a satisfying way to up your kids’ protein intake, and is a great on-the-go option.
Ensuring kids’ snacks are nutritionally beneficial is a great first step you can take for a happy 2014.