Last year I willingly agreed to give a talk to 30+ elementary school aged kids and their parents at a neighboring library during their summer reading program. The topic given to me was of course “Healthy Eating.”
What’s a better way to whittle down that large, vague topic so that 4 year olds AND 40 year olds can relate to than to talk about SNACKS.
Kids LOVE them.
They prefer them.
Their day is ruled by snack time.
And Parents, well we provide them (and eat them too).
Here’s where I could get on my soap box on how much I loathe snacks, especially for little kids. Snacks for me are the daily reminder that my surrounding environment heavily alters my parenting choices leaving me left to swim along with society’s view of normal when all I want to do is take a left turn and leave the goldfish behind (pun intended).
But I won’t tell you how I really feel (ha ha!). Maybe I’ll leave that blog post for when I truly embrace my “alter ego” via Misfit Nutrition.
Remember that post I also wrote about Being Abducted By Snacks (it’s right here if you missed it). 97% in NHANES data reported snacking at least once per day. I’d love to see the number that says how many of those snacks though were actually treats.
As a dietitian, there’s a few simple rules to follow when deciding what truly is a SNACK or what often typically falls into a TREAT category. Yes I’m looking at you Original Goldfish with your refined flour, minimal fiber and vitamin and mineral content unless you count the loads of sodium.
SNACKS RULES 101:
- Between 100-300 calories
- Does NOT ruin your appetite before the next meal
- Minimal in added sugars
- Contains NUTRITION (natural forms of vitamins, minerals, whole grains, protein and/or fiber)
- Think Produce and Protein!!
TREAT RULES 101:
- Minimal nutritional value
- Provides only quick energy bursts
- Typically high in added sugar and/or low quality fats
- Think belly ache if too much consumed
Below is a quick list off the top off my head.
|Fruits & Veggies
|Popsicles, ice cream
|Cereal with more than 8g of sugar (2 tsp)/svg
|Popcorn (NOT butter & salt loaded)
|Gummy snacks/ Fruit roll-ups/ Jelly Beans
|Donuts/ donut holes
|Cookies/Cake/ Chocolate bars
|Frozen coffee drinks, “juice” boxes
|(Real) Fruit Smoothies (less than 12oz/d)
|Muffins (yes even blueberry ones)
|Peanut or other nut butters
|Potato chips, Veggie Straws
|Hard boiled eggs
|Refined flour pretzels & crackers
Of course you’re going to have those foods that fall into both categories. Some tasty treats also perfect for snacks (or as a treat). One of my favorites is the Gluten Free, Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars from Ambitious Kitchen. Click the link for the recipe. YUM!
Can you think of anymore go to snacks you love?? Things I can add to my list? Let me know below or stop by on my Facebook page here. I’ll be posting some of my favorite treat snacks there. Join Along!