The daily routine makes it difficult for many parents to prepare healthy snacks for their children to take to school. But fast or prepared food can be a problem because they do not contain the essential nutrients their children need and often have a high content of fat and sugar.
During the school year it is important for children to have a good diet that gives them an excellent source of minerals and vitamins which are needed for their proper growth and development, because children’s energy and nutrients needs are different from those of adults.
In the growth stage the body needs specific vitamins and minerals, this is why the food consumed by your children must provide the energy necessary for them to learn without having concentration problems and it should also draw back fatigue so that they can play at school.
It is recommended, when preparing snacks, to incorporate food groups that are perhaps more difficult to consume in the other meals like fruit and milk, but it is always important to add some type of carbohydrate such as bread, tortillas, crackers, granola or oatmeal. Carbohydrates should be distributed throughout the day to take advantage of their energy supply. Snacks should not be too large so that children do not feel too full at lunch or dinner but should always include carbohydrates, dairy, fruits or even vegetables.
The Nutritionist from Escazú, Verónica Mena Escobar gave us some of ideas for children’s healthy snacks:
- Ham, lettuce and tomate sandwich
- 1 cup (250 ml) of orange juice, home made if possible, just squeeze the orange without adding sugar.
- 1 glass of fruit yogurt and granola.
- 1 small apple.
- 1 sweet cookie (without creme filling if possible).
- 1 glass of milk 0% or 2% fat.
- 1 small banana.
- Wholemeal bread sandwich with white cheese, tomato and cucumber (cut in triangles)
- 1 watermelon shake with water.
- Strawberry milkshake (you can use any other fruit that your kids like, such as bananas, blackberries or papaya).
- 1 cereal bar (oatmeal or granola).
Additional recommendations when preparing healthy snacks for school
- Give your children the option to choose from a diverse and creative menu, this will prevent your kids from eating junk food at school.
- Children experience using touch, sight and taste, so it is important to use colors, textures and shapes to get their attention, for example by cutting the sandwich in different shapes such as triangles or diamonds.
- It is important to involve your children during the planning and while preparing snacks, thus they will value the healthy lifestyle and will keep it as a habit.