Newswise — CHICAGO – When a snack attack strikes, many children satisfy their cravings with sweet or salty snacks that do not provide the healthful nutrients their growing bodies need. With kids spending more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, snacking on empty calories could develop into unhealthful eating habits in the long run.
August is Kids Eat Right Month™, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Foundation focus on the importance of healthful eating and active lifestyles for children and their families.
“When kids snack throughout the day, it could interfere with eating their meals,” says Los Angeles registered dietitian nutritionist and national Academy Spokesperson Cordialis Msora-Kasago. “Snacks are not a replacement for meals so parents and caregivers must strike a balance between fun and healthful.”
Msora-Kasago shares tips for healthful snacking:
Establish regular meal and snack times
“If school is back in session, but classes are online, create a normal routine by staying as close as possible to the traditional school lunch schedule,” Msora-Kasago says. “Give your kids a recess for refueling their empty tummies with healthful treats such as whole fruits and fresh vegetables. Pack snack bags as if they were going to school. If a healthful snack is ready and waiting for them, they may be more encouraged to eat it.”
Focus on nutritious snacks
“Offer vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy and protein-rich foods,” Msora-Kasago says. “Combine textures and flavors. Kids love crunch and vibrant colors. Carrots and bell pepper strips with hummus, apples with nut butters and whole grain crackers with cheese, or diced meat or poultry are quick and fun ways to get school-age kids snacking while packing in the nutrients they need.”
Include water in your family’s snack routine
Start your day with a glass of water to encourage your children to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Some people mistake hunger with thirst, so staying hydrated will help keep those snack attacks at bay. Substitute water for sugar-sweetened beverages to reduce the family’s sugar intake.
Kids Eat Right Month ™
Kids Eat Right Month™ was created in 2014 to mobilize registered dietitian nutritionists in a grassroots movement to share healthful eating messages to help families adopt nutritious eating habits.
See the Kids Eat Right Month Media Materials for the 2020 campaign graphic, infographics and more information.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Representing more than 100,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity devoted exclusively to nutrition and dietetics. It makes an impact with Academy members and throughout the profession with its scholarships, awards, research grants, fellowships, public education programs and disaster relief efforts. Through philanthropy, the Foundation empowers current and future food and nutrition practitioners to optimize global health. Visit the Foundation at www.eatrightFoundation.org.