Tips on Smart Snacks

Have a treat day.  Nominate a day of the week that a treat is allowed.  Eat it all in one sitting and then brush teeth afterwards.

o    Plan school lunches carefully, explaining to your child the order in which to eat the food.  Sticky food or sandwiches first followed by fruit, vegetables and if possible pieces of cheese last.  The cheese replaces the lost calcium and phosphate ions and neutralises the saliva.  Lastly, a mouthful of water will do wonders.
o    Get your children their own sipper bottles of water.  Fill it with water or ‘tap juice’.  Encourage them to drink water throughout the day and save juice or milk for mealtimes only.  Remind them that their favourite super heroes or sports-stars all drink water.
o    If for a treat your child is having a sweet or fizzy drink get them to drink through a straw.  They will love the novelty and the drink isn’t swishing around all their teeth.
o    Grandparents love to spoil.  Be firm with them and explain that you are trying to avoid unhealthy snack foods.

When out shopping let your kids help pick out fruits and vegetables and snack foods.  They’ll be more interested in eating them.

o    Put away extra servings at mealtimes to be saved for snacks
o    Set aside a snack spot in the fridge and pantry; keep them stocked with nutritious, tooth-kind ready to eat snacks.
o    Offer snacks at regular times, such as midmorning and mid-afternoon.  Children will soon learn to look forward to these times, rather than grazing or nibbling throughout the day.
o    Choose fruit juice with no added sugar.  If you look at labels, fruit ‘drink’; may have sugar added, whilst fruit ‘juice’ generally indicates no sugar has been added.  Remember though that fruit juice will have the fruit sugar fructose in it so dilute the juice with 50%  - 70% water.  This will also make your container of juice go a lot further.

Kids love crunchy, chewy foods and these do not always have to be sweets and crisps - choose snacks that offer varied textures like yoghurt, rice crackers, raw vegetables, pretzels.

o    Involve your child in the making of or organising the snack.  Food you make yourself always tastes better and kids will be proud of their own creations.
o    Go on a picnic morning or afternoon tea or simply take a blanket out to the back yard, its something to plan for and get excited about.
o    Have a tea party and invite friends or neighbours over.  Serve a healthy range of party foods.  The kids won’t notice the lack of cakes and biscuits when they’re busy playing with friends.
o    Given a choice between a chocolate bar, chips and a carrot or apple, most children are not going to choose the fruit or vegetables.  The same children will probably very happily eat the fruit and vegetables if there isn’t a never-ending supply of treat foods available.  Be disciplined.
• Don’t take your child to the supermarket hungry, they will pester you for all sorts of things.  Try to use the confectionery free lane whenever possible.


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