My kids love snacks just as much as I love my morning coffee. It is a constant struggle in our home to provide snacks I feel good about and the snacks they will actually eat. I’m fortunate that my kids do love to eat fresh fruit such as apple slices with peanut butter. We also often eat trail mix, protein packed smoothies, and steamed soy beans (edamame). However, if my kids had their way they would eat gold fish crackers, potato chips and cookies throughout the day.
According to this NY Times blog post titled “US Children: Generation Snack” (March 2010) by Tara Parker-Hope, children are snacking on an average of 600 calories from cookies, chips, and other treats. Cookies and cakes are the most popular form of snacks, and salty snacks such as pretzels and chips are the second most popular. Candy and fruit drinks were also noted as being very popular. Shortly after this article was written the Journal of the American Dietetic Association published startling figures showing that the primary source of energy for children the ages of 2-18 years old were grain and dairy desserts, pizza, fruit drinks, soda, and whole milk. Nearly 800 calories, accounting for 40% of energy consumed, were in the form of empty calories.
Providing healthy snacks is one way to help encourage kids to learn to make wise decisions regarding the foods they eat, which can have a lifelong impact on their health. Today I have a recipe for roasted chickpeas (garbanzo beans) which my kids love and parents can feel great about. Chickpeas are full of fiber and high in protein. This snack satisfies our family’s crunchy savory snack cravings and is naturally gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, and low carb. Enjoy!
Discussion question: What types of snacks do you feed your kids?