Snacking smart means offering kids foods that keep them fit and fueled!
Want to help keep your child fit and healthy? Think protein! Proteins are vital to the body's immune system because they help form antibodies to protect against bacteria and viruses. Proteins also have a significant role in regulation of brain signals and cellular construction, and hemoglobin proteins carry oxygen in the bloodstream. Hair and nails are formed from protein and muscular activities are fueled by proteins known as actin and myosin. Protein snacks can help repair wear and tear on body tissues, keep muscles firm and even help with concentration!
Another benefit of protein-rich snacks is that they're filling and often low in calories and fat... provided you choose the right ones! Consider these lean and filling options:
- Grains like oatmeal, popcorn, rice and whole grain cereal all provide protein, but most grains are incomplete protein sources, so be sure to pair them with complimentary proteins or animal proteins to deliver a full dose of the good, cell-building stuff.
- Add some low-fat dairy to your child's afternoon snack for a satisfying treat that boosts energy. Cheese, yogurt and milk all deliver nutrient-rich protein that fills kids up for an active afternoon.
- The lean protein in fish, eggs, chicken and turkey is guaranteed to be complete, plus adding these protein sources to meals will keep kids full for hours.
- Fresh veggies including avocado, broccoli, carrots, celery and tomatoes even deliver protein. Serve them with hummus or black bean dip for a fun afternoon snack.
With packed schedules filled with classes and after school activities, your child's energy requirements are high. It's important to make snacks nutritious. High protein foods are a building block to proper development. By making tasty snacks that your children are eager to eat, you'll be helping to fuel their minds and their bodies. Here are a few easy, nutritious and energy-boosting options:
- Mini sandwiches filled with tuna salad, chicken or turkey topped with veggies or a slice of low-fat cheese
- Tortillas filled with black beans and salsa, topped with grated cheese and melted under the broiler
- Yogurt topped with chunks of fruit
- Fruit smoothies made with berries and soymilk
- Baggies of wheat crackers and colorful vegetable strips served with hummus or Greek yogurt dip
- Nuts and seeds combined with dried fruit for a delicious homemade trail mix or baked into cookie bars
- Muffins and breads baked with pumpkin, peaches or apricots to tempt your picky eater
Incorporating high protein foods into kid-pleasing snacks helps children stay active and energized and adds essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients to their daily diet.
What is your child's favorite snack? Share in the comments below!
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