Healthful Eating: A Family AffairIN CHILDREN'S HEALTH
Aetna InteliHealth (www.intelihealth.com) suggests that involving your children in the snack-planning process is one effective way to help teach healthful snacking habits. Here are a few approaches you can try.
- Take your children shopping with you for snacks. Discuss what makes foods healthy or unhealthy. For example, compare ice cream to frozen yogurt. Let your child make selections based on nutrition.
- Compromise, but don’t sacrifice quality. If your child loves chocolate milk and cookies, offer low-fat oatmeal cookies and skim milk or flavored soymilk for variety.
- Talk with your children about nutrition and snacking when they are grade school age, because once they reach high school age, bad eating habits will be harder to break.
To make sure healthful food is available for your kids throughout the week, spend some time on Sunday afternoon with your children preparing snacks for the week.
- Cut up a variety of raw vegetables for dipping—carrots, celery, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes are great choices.
- Make dips using low-fat cottage cheese or ranch dressing seasoned with garlic, oregano, or Parmesan cheese.
- Stock your kitchen with nutritious snacks that are easy to grab like apples, string cheese, bran muffins, and strawberries.
- Transfer pretzels and cookies into smaller single-serving bags so your children will be less tempted to overeat.
Having snacks like this on hand increases the chances of your kids choosing something besides chips—and developing healthy eating habits that will last them a lifetime. In addition, occasionally post a note in the kitchen to direct your children to a healthful snack you prepared for them. It reminds them you care.
|How to Find Healthful Snacks
Ingredients on packaged foods are listed by order of weight (or amount used) so you can know comparatively how much of certain ingredients were used to make the item. If an ingredient is at the top of the list, the snack contains a large amount of it. If the ingredient is near the bottom of a long list, it probably doesn’t account for much of the product. Here are some tips from Aetna InteliHealth (www.intelihealth.com.) to help you make the most of your label scans.
Avoid trans fat. If you find any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils on the list, the food does contain trans fat and is best avoided.
Choose whole grains. Look for whole-wheat flour, oats, corn, or rye on the ingredients list, and look for the total grams of fiber among the nutrition facts. The more whole grains in a snack, the higher the fiber content per serving.
Minimize sugar. Ingredients like granulated sugar, brown sugar, and honey provide calories but no nutrients. Choose snacks that are made with little or no sugar, such as popcorn, roasted nuts, and whole-grain crackers.
Sources: intelihealth.com, nationaldairycouncil.org© 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.