As families find themselves spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, many also struggle with an increase in snacking throughout the day. Akron Children’s pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Valentic provides a few quick tips on how to manage snacking in a video from the American Academy of Pediatrics Parenting at Mealtime and Playtime program:
Snacks can be a healthy part of a balanced diet, but too many snacks can affect kids’ appetites and nutritional intake.
Adults can help kids learn to listen to what their bodies are telling them. Is their tummy really asking for food or could they just be bored or thirsty?
Try some of these tips:
- Set up a schedule for the day. Pick times during the day that surround mealtime like breakfast, lunch and dinner. If there is more than a 4-hour gap of time in the schedule, build in a small snack time such in the morning or in the afternoon.
- Snacks should be separated from meals by at least 2 hours.
- Set a house rule that the kitchen is closed outside of meal and snack times. Make sure kids know when the next mealtime will be. Parents, this can be tough to manage, but be firm, loving and ready to stand your ground.
- Great snack ideas include small portions from a couple different food groups. Try an apple and peanut butter or plain yogurt mixed with fruit.
- If you’re thinking it’s time for a snack but the kitchen is closed, pay attention to how your stomach is feeling. Try drinking a big glass of water. Many times our bodies feel hungry, but we’re really thirsty. Try adding some fruit pieces or a squeeze of lemon to water to give it an extra kick of flavor.
For more information on healthy eating and activity advice, download the Parenting at Meal and Playtime app on the App Store or Google Play. Or, talk to your pediatrician about how to keep meal and snack time healthy.