Healthy Snacks for Kids
Sugar is hard to avoid when it comes to children and snacking. With such a vast array of sweets, chocolate and convenience foods targeted at children it is unsurprising why they are addicted and craving such sugary foods. At a time where people are stuck at home in isolation and children off school, sweet treats are quick fixes and an easy distraction.
Why we should reduce our child’s sugar intake?
Childhood obesity rates are soaring across the nation, the government has recently announced that for every one thousand 10-11-year-olds, 201 of those children are classified obese. Obesity is present in children as young as the age of 4 and is suggested that children who are overweight in childhood enter adulthood obese.
Sugar is hard to avoid and at times in moderation we require sugar (glucose) for energy. However, if we consume an excess of sugar it can have negative consequences on the body and particularly child behaviour. When we eat sugar or carbohydrate rich foods, blood sugar levels in the body rise. Our pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin which is required to absorb the blood sugar for energy or storage. When we have too little glucose (our blood sugar levels drop) the pancreas secretes glucagon, signalling the liver to release some of the stored glucose. Overtime as we eat too much sugar, the demand on the pancreas takes its toll, reducing the insulin response to sugar entering the bloodstream. This is commonly known as insulin resistance which leads to the development of diseases such as type 2 diabetes. If children continually eat high quantities of sugar, they have a greater likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes as well as the number of health-related consequences that unfold with chronic disease.
What should we avoid?
When choosing snacks for children we should try to avoid high glycaemic foods such as French fries, sweets, sugar sweetened beverages, chocolate bars, white flours and refined breakfast cereals. Higher glycaemic foods create a greater glycaemic load on the body, spiking blood sugar levels quicker. Lower glycaemic load foods often have higher fibre contents and reduce the speed at which the sugar enters the blood stream. Low Gi foods include wholegrains, fruits, beans, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, oats and barley.
When your children are asking for sweets, crisps or junk food try offering some of the following snack options below. These snacks contain an array of nutrients, such as protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and reduced added sugars. Try baking brownies, cookies and flapjacks with your children so they are aware of the ingredients that are being added. If they can see what they are eating it may create a greater awareness. It is often the hidden sugars that are likely to cause weight gain and a higher overall consumption.
· Hot Cacao with plant-based or full-fat milk with a tsp of maple syrup and cinnamon
· Hummus with carrots, cucumber, tomatoes and oatcakes
· Vegetable Muffins
· Egg Muffins (see recipe below)
· Rice cakes topped with melted dark chocolate, hummus or peanut butter
· Homemade flapjacks, brownies or cookies (see recipes below)
· Sliced up apple, cheese sticks and Grapes
· Full-fat Greek yoghurt with sliced banana, nuts and seeds
· Frozen berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries
· Smashed Avocado with rye bread or pitta bread fingers
· Homemade energy balls made with peanut butter, dates and almonds
· Banana sliced up and sandwiched with nut butter
· Pancakes made from eggs and bananas
· Homemade popcorn with maple syrup and sea salt
· Full Fat cream cheese on wholemeal toast
Sophie’s Healthy Egg Muffin Recipe
1 Cup of Cashew milk (or plant-based milk)
½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
½ cup of sundried tomatoes
1 cup of fresh spinach
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp of olive Oil
1. First crack the eggs into a bowl and add the cashew milk. Whisk the eggs and milk together until combined. Season the eggs with salt and pepper.
2. Grate in the parmesan to the egg mixture, add the sundried tomatoes and spinach.
3. With a drop of olive oil in each muffin case grease the muffin cases. Then spoon the mixture into the muffin cases making sure they are full to the top.
4. Place into a pre-heated 200 degrees oven and cook for 25 minutes. Check the muffins have risen and the muffins are golden in colour.
5. Leave to cool in the cases then remove, serve and enjoy!
· You can add alternative ingredients to the recipe such as sweet potatoes, kale, salmon, feta cheese, herbs and spices.