Concerned parents spend a lot of time thinking about ways they can help prevent childhood obesity from becoming an issue with their kids. They limit video games, look for family fitness activities to do together, and try to get their kids up and moving as much as possible. Most parents also limit the amount of junk food their kids eat at home and try to serve as many health meals as possible. Unfortunately, when it comes to school lunches, the only way to ensure your children are eating healthy is to pack it yourself.
On the flip side, when it comes to school snacks, you have a lot more control. Many elementary schools have instituted snack time to make up for the fact that some kids are eating lunch as early as 10am while others eat as late as 2pm. Choosing the right school snack can help prevent childhood obesity while giving your children the fuel they need to keep going. If your child doesn’t get snack during school, offer them healthy options for their after school snack.
5 Healthy School Snacks that Can Prevent Childhood Obesity
The key to choosing the right school snacks to prevent childhood obesity and give your kids a much-needed energy boost is choosing those that can be eaten quickly and are easy to toss into their backpack. Keep in mind that most snack times at school last only a few minutes, so avoid foods that take longer to eat. Some ideas include:
- Low-fat String cheese and fruit slices. These healthy school snacks are best for kids who get their snack break earlier in the day, as the fruit and cheese can dry out. Consider investing in a fruit and veggie bowl with a removable ice pack to help keep the food fresh longer. If you don’t have a special bowl, try freezing some of the fruit the night before. Grapes thaw really well, and they’ll help keep the cheese cold.
- Whole-grain cereal. While cereal that requires milk will be more of a challenge, there are plenty of whole-grain cereals that taste great without milk and can be eaten by hand.
- Homemade sweet potato chips. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, C, B6 and folate, making them a powerhouse snack for growing minds. Make a batch of baked sweet potato chips and send some in baggies for healthy school snacks for your kids.
- Raisins. Kids either love raisins or despise them. If your child is in the “love them” camp, a small box of raisins is a great snack to help prevent childhood obesity.
- Carrot sticks. If your child likes eating carrots plain (dips can get too messy for school snack time), send in a small baggie of baby carrots or sliced carrot sticks. Celery sticks also work well!
Notice that I didn’t include any nut-based foods on the list. While nuts make excellent healthy school snacks, many schools have a no-nut policy, at least in the classroom. Nut allergies seem more prevalent than ever before, and some children are so allergic that even a little nut dust in the air can send them into anaphylactic shock. Talk to your child’s teacher to find out if there are any restrictions on nut products in the classroom, and please follow those restrictions. Another child’s life may depend on it.
Instituting a “healthy school snacks” only policy with your child can go a long way to helping prevent childhood obesity. Yes, all kids deserve a little treat now and then, but it’s best to give those treats at home, where you can control the portion and the frequency. During school hours, the sugar rush from such goodies can do them more harm than good.
What healthy school snacks to you like to give your child?