Once kids are home for summer break, it’s time to stock up on snacks.
And while it’s tempting to just let them have cookies, chips or whenever they want, parents should still have some rules.
“I really encourage parents to have set meal and snack times throughout the day. Snacks are important and kids can totally have snacks, but it needs to be spaced out every few hours, so their bellies have time to digest, and they have time to get hungry before the next meal,” explained Jennifer Hyland, RD, pediatric registered dietitian for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.
She said it’s also important for parents to offer snacks that are nutritionally dense.
Giving a child things like cookies or chips is not going to keep them full for long and they’re going to want to keep eating.
Instead, offer them foods high in protein and fiber.
Some snack ideas include an apple with peanut butter, smoothies, homemade popsicles, cheese and crackers, popcorn with peanuts, and whole grain cereal with milk.
She said it’s still okay to let them have cookies and chips, but in moderation.
“All within reason. If everyone is going out and getting ice cream, have your kid go out and get ice cream. But if it’s just a regular day and we’re hanging at home and doing our regular activities, we need to have a more nutrient power-packed snack,” said Hyland.
Hyland said another benefit to giving kids healthy snacks at an early age is it’ll be easier for them to adapt and carry on those habits as they get older.