Posted at 10:00 • 3 July, 2021
Now that we’re starting to resume some pre-Covid “normalcy,” most families are finding themselves returning to favorite activities - day trips, mornings at the playground, hikes, soccer game sidelines, and more. But nothing ruins a fun family day more than hangry kids! And if you’re one of the few parents on the planet who has never experienced a hangry kid, it’s a brain-grating combination of one who is both hungry and angry. Fortunately, it’s preventable!
When packing up to head out of the house, be sure to include nutritious snacks that will both fuel and satisfy your little one between meals. While there is no shortage of what I call “crunchy, airy, salty snacks,” on the market, or chewy, gummy ones, which are basically candy in disguise, these don’t actually help to keep your little one’s blood sugar stable. Instead, it leaves them with something that tastes good, but isn’t actually satiating (meaning they might wind up with a sugar spike and then crash, leaving them even more hangry after the fact). Also, those filler foods - ones without much nutritional value - can fill tiny tummies quickly, making your child less likely to eat that delicious and nutritious meal you have planned for later in the day. Snacks can be a great opportunity to squeeze some solid nutrition into your little one. Here are some kid-approved snacks for on the go:
Healthy snacks on the go
It’s basically nature’s already prepared snack! Any fruit will do. Bonus points if it requires minimal prep like clementines, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries. You can also cut apples, pears or melon into slices, and store in a cooler with an ice pack to keep cool.
A cheese stick or cubes of cut cheese. Pair cheese with some fresh fruit or cut up veggies for a snack with even more “staying power” since it combines fiber, fat and protein, which are blood-sugar regulating nutrients. Don’t forget the ice pack or cooler!
No sugar added whole grain cereal. If your child is older and can safely consume dried fruit such as raisins, you can combine these as a sweet and crunchy snack mix.
A quick Pinterest search will lead you to a plethora of “blender muffins,” where all ingredients are mixed in a blender and baked. Our favorites include oats, banana, greek yogurt, blueberries and eggs. It’s basically breakfast in muffin form!
Bars, preferably those that have very little to no added sugar. Watch out for those with a long list of ingredients that are more like cake and cookies in bar form.
Finally, never underestimate the power of a pb+j sandwich. Opt for whole grain bread, no sugar added nut butter and jelly, and cut into quarters. You can freeze quarters of the sandwich and pop them out of the freezer before you head out for a mini-meal on the go.
To encourage healthy snack habits, be sure to provide them at consistent times to avoid between-meal grazing or as a way to stave off boredom. Avoid offering snacks in the car or stroller as this can be a choking hazard and always check with your pediatrician to determine which foods are safe depending on the age of your little one.