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Nutrition for Infants and Children

Healthy Snacking

Like it or not, snacking has become an important contributor to daily food intake. According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey of nearly 10,000 children, twice as many kids today eat snack foods, such as crackers, popcorn, pretzels, and corn chips, as kids did 20 years ago. Over the same period, soda consumption among children ages 6 to 9 has jumped 37 percent. While children are consuming extra calories, many fall short on meeting their needs for vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, vitamin B6, zinc, and iron.

What does all this mean?

You’ll want to take extra care to make certain your child’s snacks are every bit as healthful as the meals you serve. The easiest way to do this is to use the same guidelines for snack planning as for meal planning. Many healthy, convenient options can be found within the New Four Food Groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.

Whether eaten on the go or at home after school, healthy snacks are quick and easy to prepare and offer important nutrients and energy in each delicious bite. Keep healthy beverages (water, juice, and soymilk) and snack foods (such as the ones listed below) on hand at home and encourage your children to pack them into their bags before leaving the house.

fruit, nuts and veggies

Healthy Snack Ideas >>