By Jacquelyn Truax
Hangry (adjective): irritable or angry because of hunger (Merriam-Webster).
As adults, many of us have experienced that hangry feeling. We’re not the only ones: children get hangry too – as those of you with children know!
What’s a solution for anyone feeling hangry? Snacks! Snacks are important for people of all ages, but especially children, who consume about 25% of their daily calories from snacks. Providing nutritionally balanced snacks for your children at home can make for a happy and healthy day.
What is a healthy snack?
A nutritionally balanced snack is a combination of:
- A good source of protein such as milk, cheese yogurt, lean meats, beans or nuts
- A healthy carbohydrate, such as whole grain breads, crackers, whole fruits and vegetables
Yogurt Parfaits are a tasty example of this protein and carbohydrate combination. They are a fast and easy way to get dairy and fresh fruit into your child’s diet.
Not the Da Vinci of snacks?
You don’t have to construct a caterpillar out of a cucumber and tomatoes to get your child to eat vegetables. Involving your child with preparing their own snacks is a fun way to introduce them to new and healthier foods. Building a snack, such as Pizza Kabobs, which contain cheese and an assortment of vegetables, will keep your kids engaged and satisfied. And by pairing two to three of the major food groups (grains, fruits, veggies, dairy, protein) help create sustainable energy that won’t have your child reaching for that bag of chips.
Apple Cheese Wraps is also a fun and easy snack for the bunch, as well as veggies and cheese, milk and peanut butter toast, or cottage cheese and melon.
*Fun Fact: Cheese products support dental health, which in turn helps decrease dental caries! So, enjoy some guiltless gouda, while your child chows down on a cheese stick! *
Last, but definitely not least, MILK!
Milk contains nine nutrients that are essential to our health, including eight grams of protein, calcium, and Vitamin D. Adding milk to snacks helps round out hunger and health, while promoting strong bones! Serve an Overnight Oat Bar with a cold glass of milk to create a high protein, and high fiber snack that will easily curb the afternoon hanger you’ve been sensing.
Watch Milk Means More dietitian Tina Miller make some favorite kid snacks.
End the hanger epidemic today, and snack happy with dairy!
For more great snack ideas featuring dairy foods, go here.
Jacquelyn authored this blog during a rotation with Milk Means More as a dietetic intern and graduate student at Michigan State University. She is a California girl born and raised and received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2018. Jacquelyn has strong interests in sports and community nutrition and hopes her internship experiences will give her clarity for the future. Jacquelyn is very family oriented, and enjoys cooking, doing art, playing volleyball, practicing yoga, snowboarding and backpacking in her spare time.