(Family Features) - Are you a mom on the front lines of the snack challenge? Kids and moms often disagree on what makes a smart snack when packing back-to-school lunches. Be a winner by serving snacks that strike a balance between "tastes great!" and "good for you."
Balance is the key to smart snacking: Find foods that both taste good and make you feel good, and fit snacks into an overall balanced daily diet.
Kudos Milk Chocolate Granola Bars offer wholesome granola nutrition as an excellent source of calcium with great taste. With a perfect balance between pleasure and goodness, this granola bar makes an excellent choice for mothers who like to give their kids a little something extra. Available in chocolate chip and peanut butter flavors, the non-chocolate-enrobed varieties contain only 100 calories per serving. This delicious snack also is available in a Snickers and M&M'S variety. And if you're following the Weight Watchers POINTS plan, you'll be glad to know these bars count for only two points.
Stacking up smart snacks
Depending upon their age, size and amount of physical activity, kids may need a snack every few hours. Whether you're packing their lunch, letting them choose an after-school snack or helping them make smart choices at the supermarket, here are some tips for smart parents and savvy kids:
- Take your kids shopping and let them help you choose snacks that they'll enjoy.
- Create an "approved snack" place in the kitchen, such as a cupboard that kids can access safely at snack time.
- Put snack foods where kids can reach them. Keep foods that are only for occasional treats in less convenient and hard-to-reach places.
- Buy food in single-serving packaging for grab 'n' go snacking.
- Choose snacks from all the food groups. For greatest variety, try to incorporate whole grains, vegetables, cheese, yogurt or beans into kids' snack-eating plans.
- Include sweet snack choices that you can feel good about serving to your kids, like fruit or granola bars.
Model good habits: Monkey see, monkey do!
Children learn their habits by watching others. Parents: Examine your food choices and lifestyle habits to make sure you send a healthy message to your kids for making food decisions. Following are some tips from the American Dietetic Association for a healthy school year:
- Keep a regular meal schedule. When meals aren't regular or are missed, children tend to snack more throughout the day and so are less hungry at mealtimes.
- Empower your kids. Involve kids in planning meals and snacks. Let your kids try new foods, without forcing or bribing them.
- Don't skip breakfast. Breakfast provides much of the day's nourishment and energy for active kids. Studies have shown that breakfast can help children perform at peak capacity in the classroom.
- Eat as a family. Aim for all family members to eat together at least once a day. Cook fast and eat slowly, allowing time for you to pay attention to your meal and to each other.
- Diversify your menu. Balance meals with a wide selection of kid-pleasing choices from all food groups.
- Snacks can be healthy. Snacks can supply nutrition that may be missing from the rest of the day's meals. Offer snacks at least two hours before meals so kids will be hungry at mealtime.
- No food is taboo. Prohibiting candy, fast food or other high-calorie snack foods makes these items seem very desirable. If you allow them occasionally, they lose their strong appeal.
Fitness is child's play
For good health, kids need to move! But today, too many don't get enough activity, spending hours in sedentary pursuits in front of the TV and computer monitor. Inactivity is a factor in the rise of childhood obesity, which can place kids at risk for serious disease.
By motivating children to be active and providing a well-balanced diet, parents can help kids maintain a healthy weight, improve overall health and well-being, and develop good eating and exercise habits that last a lifetime. Remember that healthful eating and being active are key components of a healthy lifestyle!
- Do as I do. Be a role model! If you're involved in a physical activity that you enjoy, you're showing your child that exercise is a priority. Whether you enjoy kite-flying or in-line skating as a family, or simply go for walks or ride bikes, it's the example you're setting that will motivate your kids.
- Daily dose. Most kids need at least an hour of activity every day. Make sure they get the opportunity to do chores around the house, walk the dog, wash the car and take part in other everyday activities - they won't realize they're exercising!
- Team up. Give kids the opportunity to exercise their interest in a team sport, or in an individual sport like swimming, gymnastics, tennis or track.
- Turn off the electronics. Replace sedentary pastimes with nature walks, a game of catch or even indoor activities like hide-and-seek.
- Purposeful play. As appropriate, encourage kids to participate in group or individual activities for a cause, such as shoveling snow or mowing grass for elderly neighbors, sponsoring a car wash or walking to raise money for charity.