Genesee County Health Department
Better Life Through Better Health
DOES MY CHILD NEED SNACKS?
If only there was another name for "snacks."
The word has such negative meaning. The reason may be because many snacks
have very little nutritional value. Snacking can be "just
something to do". However,
carefully chosen, snacks can promote good health and add pleasure to life.
Because their stomachs are small, children may need to eat more often
than adults do; perhaps every three to four hours to sustain their high
energy level. For children, snacks can be used to supplement meals. Snacks
can supply nutrients such as calcium and vitamins A and C, that may be
missing from food eaten at daily meals. Snacks can be enjoyed without
adding too much fat or too many calories.
Teenagers, who are active and growing rapidly, also need the calories
and nutrients that snacks supply. Choices such as yogurt, raisins, peanut
butter on celery or apple slices, real cheese on whole wheat crackers, a
glass of milk with an occasional oatmeal cookie are tasty and provide
A good rule for healthy snacking: plan the snacks using foods that fit
into the total food plan for the day. Another good rule is to offer a
snack no sooner than two hours before or after a main meal. An exception
may be made if you have a grumpy, hungry child and dinner is only one hour
away. In this case, provide a piece of fruit or bread to hold the child
over. This won't interfere with
eating a complete dinner.
Need healthy snack ideas for children? Contact the Genesee County
Health Department at (810) 237-4563 or (810) 237-4535.