Most American children are eating high-calorie snacks that offer little nutrition.1 Smart snacking is a great way for your young children and preschoolers to meet their daily nutrient requirements that they could be missing at meal times.
Children need energy throughout the day, and thinking of snacks as “mini-meals” with foods from the food groups provides that energy and adds nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
Good, but not the most nutritious option. It is important to eat more vegetables, but a balanced and satisfying snack should include at least one additional food group.
Yes! A snack with at least 2 of the food groups will boost nutrition and keep kids feeling full longer!2
This snack choice could be better. Pretzels provide the grains kids needs to give them energy, but combine them with another food group food (like a piece of fruit) to satisfy them longer and boost their energy.
These three guidelines will help you choose healthier snacks for your child.
To serve my child a healthier snack, I will pick food from 2 food groups:
I will start this Smarter Snacking Plan on
Once you've filled in your plan, you can print it along more tips and snack ideas that you can hang on your refrigerator as a reminder!
Congratulations on making a plan for healthier snacking!
Add [fills in food group name] by serving [written in]
I will start my Smart Snacking Plan on [written in]
String cheese and fruit
Vegetables with hummus
Pretzel sticks and a glass of milk
Cottage cheese with fruit
Apple slices and cheese
Popcorn with cheese
Yogurt and berry smoothie
Vegetables with yogurt dip
Whole wheat bread and peanut butter
String cheese and almonds
Salsa with tortilla chips
Whole grain cereal and milk
Peanut butter and celery
Frozen grapes with cheese
English muffin pizza
Yogurt and fresh fruit
Bananas and peanut butter
Hard-boiled egg with fruit
Cheese quesadilla with salsa
Fruit and cheese kabobs
Whole-grain crackers with cheese or peanut butter
Yogurt with granola and fruit
Celery stuffed with spreadable cheese
Whole wheat toast topped with avocado
Mini grilled cheese sandwich with tomato
Guacamole or black bean dip with tortilla chips
Trail mix of nuts, cereal and dried fruit
Homemade yogurt popsicles
Apple and peanut butter
Tuna on slices of cucumber
Dill yogurt dip and pita chips
Fruit in oatmeal
Edemame and crackers
HealthyEating.org © Dairy Council of California
Looking for more ways to improve your snacking? Consider these tips to raise your snacking game a level:
Now that you've learned so much about healthy snacking, what's next? First, use the above Action Plan to make a commitment to healthier snacking. Second, help your child learn about healthier snacks by watching the Healthy Snacks video and playing the My Very Own Pizza game.
2Wansink, Shimizu, and Brumberg. Pediatrics. "Association of Nutrient-Dense Snack Combinations With Calories and Vegetable Intake." 2012.
This program, brought to you by Dairy Council of California, aligns with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
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