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Our award-winning Kid's Health Magazine is designed to provide healthful information for your growing child. Please Note: Kid's Health Magazine is no longer being printed. Please visit our blog at http://www.choc.org/blog for the latest articles about your child's health from the experts at CHOC Children's. You can also receive our electronic Kid's Health newsletter in your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list: http://www.choc.org/subscribe
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Go Ahead, Serve Snacks Between Meals

A growing child cannot get all the necessary nutrients and calories from just three meals a day. That is why it is important to make every snack count. Healthy snacks will help make sure your child eats the recommended minimum of at least two to four cups of fruits and 2-1/2 cups of vegetables each day.

"Children's energy needs are so great yet their stomachs are very small. They need more than three meals a day," says Tracy Bryars, R.D., a CHOC pediatric dietitian. "Small snacks help fill the gap, so they don't get too hungry and go into a meltdown."

She recommends making healthy eating a family affair. Enlist your children's help when shopping for fresh produce and preparing meals. If your family has a garden, try easy-to-grow vegetables like tomatoes, beans or zucchini.

Remember to set a good example by grabbing a healthy snack when the 4 p.m. munchies strike. By the way, Bryars says there are no "bad" foods. It is perfectly okay to indulge in a favorite "fun" food treat every once in awhile, but avoid using them as rewards.

HEALTHY SNACKS TO KEEP ON HAND

  • Fresh, seasonal fruit
  • Raw vegetables with low-fat dip
  • Graham crackers and milk or peanut butter
  • Vegetable or noodle soup
  • Cereal with low-fat milk
  • Bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter
  • Waffles topped with fresh fruit
  • Tortillas with beans
  • Yogurt with fruit topping and cereal
  • Trail mix with several types of cereal, dried fruits, nuts and sunflower seeds
  • Pretzels

Easy Recipes Your Kids Will Love:

Strawberry Cream Dip

  • 1/2 c. of non-fat or light sour cream
  • 1/4 c. strawberry fruit spread or jam

Fresh Lemon Poppy Seed Dip

  • 2/3 c. non-fat or light sour cream
     
  • 4 tsp. sugar
     
  • 1 Tb. of lemon juice
     
  • 1 tsp. of poppy seeds
     
  • 1 tsp. of finely grated lemon peel

Rinse two pints of fresh strawberries. Pat dry with paper towel and set aside. For each dip, whisk the ingredients until smooth. Serve in small bowls to accompany the strawberries.

Apple-Oat Squares
Your kids can help measure the ingredients and press the dough into the baking dish.

  • 2 c. oatmeal, quick or old-fashioned
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 c. enriched flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 c. melted margarine
  • 1-1/3 c. applesauce
  • 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped nuts, optional
  • 1-1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9" x 13" pan. Combine all ingredients except the applesauce and nuts, and mix until crumbly. Reserve one cup of the mixture. Then press the remaining mixture in the bottom of the greased pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool slightly for 10 minutes. Spread the applesauce over the partially baked crust and sprinkle with nuts. Top with the reserved mixture and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool in the pan and then cut into two-inch squares. Makes 24 servings.

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Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

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