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It probably won’t shock you to hear that kids are snacking now more than ever, but just how much they’re taking in may: Children consume about 600 calories from snacks every day–168 more calories than what they ate in the late 1970s, reports a University of North Carolina study. “Snacking probably isn’t going to go away–so find a way to make the structure work for your family,” says Elizabeth Ward, R.D., author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Feeding Your Baby and Toddler. Here’s how:

Think outside the (snack)box The best snacks aren’t snacks at all, but rather, smaller portions of healthy foods you’d offer as a meal, like half a turkey sandwich or cereal and milk. “Unlike items made with refined carbs, whole, nutrient-dense foods are more filling, making it harder to go overboard on them,” Ward says.

Allow fun foods “Kids need to know there are nutritious foods that help them grow and there are fun foods,” says Ward. Tell your child it’s fine to enjoy an ice cream cone or potato chips once in a while (once a day for active kids and every few days for the more sedentary types), but only after she’s eaten the healthier stuff.

Be flexible Ensuring your kid gets the nutrients he needs each day is often challenging enough. “I don’t really care when he eats healthy food, as long as he eats it,” Ward says. If an after-school fruit smoothie means your child ears less of his chicken and broccoli at dinnertime, it’s OK: He’s still full on the good stuff.

Reprinted from KIWI Magazine

 

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