Nutritious snacks are an essential component of a kid’s healthy diet. As children tend to be more active physically and mentally, they may not always consume enough foods at meals to support their needs. Appropriate snacking helps provide them vital nutrients missed during mealtime, curb their hunger, and keep them fueled throughout the day.
Fortunately, you don’t have to prepare their food from time to time. You can quickly set up a snack station where your kids can get or prepare delicious snacks. It will not only encourage them to eat healthily, but will also teach them about handling food, table manners and skills, and independence.
To get you started, discover our tips on how you could set up your snack station for your kids.
1. Take into account your kids’ age.
Your snack station may vary greatly depending on the age of your children. If they are still too young, it’s best to create one with pre-prepped foods already portioned on bags or containers. If you have toddlers, then your snack station may now include food which your kid may prepare themselves, such as bread or apple slices which they can spread jam or peanut butter to on their own.
2. Consider the activities your kids’ are doing in between meals.
What activities are your kids engaged with in-between meals? Are they actively playing and running around the house? Do your kids indulge in reading their favorite books instead? Are they spending their time more on arts and crafts? You should always match the food composition of your snack station based on the activities your kids are partaking in. If they are more perky, be sure to include a lot of carbohydrates to keep them energized. If they spend a few hours on reading books or making crafts, adding a lot of protein-rich snacks can help fight hunger as they do the activity.
3. Ask for your kids’ preference.
Don’t hesitate to ask your kids’ which snacks would they like to go into the snack station. After all, you make it for them. Have them list down all their favorite snacks but make sure to strike a balance. Accept ones that are healthy and remove ones you deem are not good form them. Explain to them why you’re taking them off the list and offer healthier options. You can allow some indulgent snacks from time to time to appease them, but always square it with something wholesome and very nutritious.
Some healthy options you shouldn’t miss include:
- Granola bars
- Fig bars
- Dried fruit
- Fruit bars
- Fruit cups
- Trail mix
- Whole grain crackers
4. Look for a suitable location for your snack station.
Now that you’ve pretty evaluated the snacks that will fill up your snack station, it’s now time to set it up! You can simply collect them in a bin or basket and place it on top of a drawer, counter, or cupboard, wherever your children reach them or grab food safely without your assistance. Aside from that, you may also set up a separate snack station inside your fridge so your kids may also enjoy perishable yet healthy foodstuffs, such as yogurt, hummus, veggie sticks, sliced cheese, milk and berries.
5. Teach your kids proper snacking habits.
Remember that the main goal of setting up a snack station is to provide your kids with ample nutrients they need in-between meals. The last thing you wish to happen is your kids to munch all the snacks throughout the day. Thus, leaving them full and causing them to skip important mealtime. As such, it’s vital that you also educate your kids why you created the snack station in the first place. Teach them what snacks to eat for each activity they do. Set a schedule when they can eat their last snack prior to a meal, perhaps 2 hours away from lunch or dinner, so they won’t miss out on the main meals. That way, they may know the true value of snacks and build a better relationship with food.