Kids often crave a delicious snack after they get home from a long day learning in the classroom with their friends. And rarely do they look for fruits or vegetables when they open the fridge; instead, many kids opt for sweet treats or other unhealthy options that may provide a quick boost of energy and a surprise for the taste buds, but that certainly don’t act as part of a nutritious and balanced diet.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with giving your child the occasional treat he or she desires after school; however, doing so often may lead to negative health ramifications in your little one’s future. So this school year, shake off those bad habits and commit to providing healthier snacks for your kids. And if you need some help, consider trying these four simple tips to improve after school snacks and get on the path to a healthier life for your children.
Make Healthy Snacks More Accessible
Many little ones are used to the routine of opening up the refrigerator or the pantry, reaching in their favorite drawer, and pulling out something they know is sweet and delicious. And, in general, this method may continue as a result of these unhealthy snacks being much more accessible than their healthy alternatives.
To break the cycle, then, consider increasing the ratio of healthy to unhealthy snacks in both the pantry and the fridge. Fill the fridge with vegetables instead of sugary drinks, and leave frozen fruits in the freezer in place of microwavable meals. This will make it much easier for children to gain access to these healthy snacks after a day at school.
Add Healthy Snacks in with Others
Does your child just dread the idea of being forced to eat nothing but fruits and vegetables after school? Don’t worry about making the change immediately; instead, do so gradually by adding in healthier snacks with other ones that he or she already loves.
For example, if your child loves to drink sugary sports drinks after school, allow him or her a small portion, but make sure that he or she also has a few bites of raw or cooked vegetables to go along with it. Or if your little one is used to being allowed to have a piece of chocolate or candy every day after the last bell, let this tradition continue for awhile, but slowly reduce the amount and frequency, and pair the sweets with something naturally green. This method of gradual replacement won’t seem so harsh to your child when searching for an after-school treat.
Encourage Other Parents
Hanging out with other children after school is a natural and healthy part of life for school-aged children. To be sure, this allows children to socialize with one another in different areas, which is an important aspect of their development over the course of these formative years.
In letting your child go to other children’s houses, however, you are ultimately putting his or her nutritional health in the hands of another parent. And this can prove beneficial, especially if the parent is health-conscious as well; or it can be a disaster, if said parent has no regard for nutrition, and lets the kids eat absolutely anything they want. In the latter scenario, your child will come home with a sugar rush, end the day cranky, and will always desire to return back to the same house knowing treats are always available.
What’s one of the best ways to prevent this from happening? Before your child goes to other friends’ houses, speak to the other parents about your nutritional rules and how you like your little one to eat. Most parents will respect your wishes and adhere to these guidelines while in custody of your kids.
Teach Your Children About Food
Finally, if your children still don’t want to eat healthy after school snacks, try changing this by educating them on the importance of eating well. You can do so by explaining to them the effect bad food has on the body, as well as describing how the nutrition in fruits and vegetables is necessary to perform well in school, in sports, and in daily life in general. This may require the use of visual aids, such as picture books or online lessons, and the content will certainly vary depending on the age of the child. However, being honest and realistic with your children about the importance of healthy after school snacks will help you improve their nutrition.
Improve After School Snacks
Do you want to find a few simple ways to get your kids to eat healthy this year? If so, consider these tips to find easy after school snacks that are healthy and work to ensure your kids are eating nutritious and delicious foods when they come home.