Aim to Include a Combination of Protein, Fat, and Fiber

     While having snacks that include any one of these components can be sufficient for some or when a small snack is merited, including options that include protein, fat, and/or fiber will help to both fill and fuel your child for longer.

As the most asked about macronutrient by parents, protein is a hot topic of concern. Many parents are concerned their children don’t eat enough protein, especially in the form of proteins often offered at meals like meat, poultry, seafood, beans, or eggs. That’s why finding creative ways to get protein in at snacks can help to both lessen the concern on how much children eat at mealtimes while also providing them with valuable fuel that helps them to feel full longer.

Here are some easy and efficient ways to add protein for extra fuel:
·      Offer Healthy Height* instead of a standard juice box for a protein-rich option
·      Add hummus to fresh veggies sticks and/or crackers
·      Add nuts or seeds (as appropriate for child’s age) to homemade trail mix with dry cereal and dried fruit
·      Hard boil eggs for a quick addition to any snack plate
·      Make energy bites with added nuts and seeds instead of standard grain-based granola bars
With more calories per gram than either carbohydrates or protein, fat offers a nutrient-dense way to make a snack more satisfying. That means, bite for bite, your child eats the most calories from fat (compared to from carbohydrates or protein). Fat also helps us to feel full longer, so simple swaps of low-fat options for higher-fat ones or additions of healthy fat options can help curb kid’s hunger even if they only eat a few bites.

Here are some easy and efficient ways to add fat for extra fuel:
·      Mix Healthy Height* with whole milk instead of water
·      Add nut butter spreads, smashed avocado, or melted cheese to toast (instead of using jam or other alternatives)
·      Pair fruit or crackers with nut butter as a dip
·      Offer whole milk yogurt in place of lower fat “kids yogurts”
·      Include hemp, chia, or ground flax seeds with items (in muffins, mixed in yogurt or applesauce, sprinkled on top of toast)
This is a great reason why adding fruits or vegetables to a snack helps to not only round out what is offered nutritionally, but also provide an element that promotes added fullness. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always an easy idea to add to a snack, as is dried fruit if parents want an option that holds up better in the heat and provides more compact calories (energy!) than fresh alternatives.

Here are some easy and efficient ways to add fat for extra fuel:
·      Make a fiber-rich green smoothie with frozen fruit, a few handfuls of greens, and a scoop of Healthy Height*
·      Offer a fresh fruit salad instead of fruit snacks
·      Opt for whole grains in snack foods, cereals, and crackers
·      Cut up fresh veggie sticks and offer alongside “veggie straws” or other low-fiber snack foods
·      Use whole grain flours like whole wheat or oat flour (instead of white flour) when making muffins or other baked goods that work for easy, on the go snack options