By : Apeksha Thakkar Clinical Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Nutrigenomic Counselor
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Snacking options for children (Age 5- 7 years)


Right snacking habit is quite a big challenge with today’s generation. With the childhood obesity cases is one of a kind, which act as a quick filler in between the main meals and most children savor on it.

Snacking items should contribute to nutritional aspects, as it helps in providing right nourishment at this age. While suggesting snacking foods for children, taste and the nutritional benefits should swivel around health, immunity, taste, and growth.

Let us check snacking food items, which are powerhouse of nutrients and rationalize ‘Right nutrition is the plinth to flourishing health’.

Dairy Products: - If you offer a direct glass of plain milk to this age, there is likelihood of it getting rejected. Dairy products are loaded with nutrients like calcium, proteins, magnesium, and other minerals. Milk can easily blend with fresh, seasonal fruits and made as fruit smoothie, which is a great bet to get almost all vital nutrients in one go. Dairy products like paneer (cottage cheese), bean curd (Tofu) can be used in preparing stir fries, wraps, salads, scrambles make them a complete filler. Our own traditional homemade curd is wonderful to go with fruit parfait or fruit raita or with veggies sticks as dip. Dairy products offer a lot of variation with almost any ingredient, hence should be incorporated daily.

Eggs: - Better referred as ‘Reference proteins’, eggs are easy to fetch and prepare. Whilst loaded with proteins they are great source of vitamins and minerals which are great for hair, skin, nails. The best element about eggs are they gel with any side dishes and can be enjoyed in any form like scrambled, boiled or fried. They can also be added to salads to improve protein availability.

Nuts: - Nuts are powerhouse of nutrients and provide right calories to growing children. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecan are some great options to check. They can be scattered alongside fruit cuts or can be added with yogurts or as dry fruit shake.

Fox nuts (Lotus seeds)- They are called ’Makhana’ in local language. They are excellent source of potassium, magnesium, fiber, and our own protein. Makhana are great as snack which manage to give power boost in between the major meals. They can be seasoned with herbs like thyme, oregano, basil or can be just enjoyed with little salt and pepper powder.

Fruits: - Most children would sulk, if offered fruits. Fruits are loaded vitamins and minerals and are great detoxifiers. The beauty of fruits is they can be blended well with milk to make milkshakes, smoothies, fruit custard or fruit salad. Fruits are handy and can be twisted to any form to make it palatable.

Homemade Bars: - Homemade energy bars using rich ingredients like quinoa, jaggery, rice puff, ragi with some wonder seeds like pumpkin, chia, and flaxseeds and dry fruits. Energy bars are packed with almost all vital nutrients and are no fuss mid snack. They act great replacement to sugar laden chocolates.

Snacking habits have deep link with surge in childhood obesity or over nutrition. A meticulous planning of quantity and quality of snacking foods, will give right nourishment, influencing growth and developmental factors in children. By instilling right eating habits, such children in growing phase would learn importance of clean eating, abiding ‘You are what you eat’ principle. Total nutrition should well focused on.

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