How Healthy Snacks Benefit Children
Healthy snack choices can provide children with some of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and calories they need for growth, energy, and overall good health. In fact, healthy snacks can satisfy nutrient gaps and provide up to one quarter of a child’s daily energy needs (USDA, “Daily Food Plan,” n.d.). Healthy snacking satisfies hunger between meals, improves concentration, and prevents overeating at mealtime.
Children need healthy foods because their bodies require the nutrients to grow. A child who is given healthy foods will receive a lifetime bonus of a stronger mind and body. A child who is deprived of healthy foods or given too many unhealthy foods can face decades of physical and mental health problems. Children have important daily dietary needs to support continued growth and physical development. Foods that contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates and protein will provide the nutrients necessary for growth and development. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children eat at least five fruits and vegetables each day.
Benefits of healthy eating for children
Research into the eating habits we develop as children has suggested that a healthy diet during the early years means we stand a good chance of carrying these habits throughout our lives. In short, educating children on healthy eating can lay the path for a healthy life.
Eating well and engaging in regular physical activity can help children to:
- develop strong bones
- grow healthily
- concentrate at school
- maintain a healthy weight
- stay active and alert.
On a long-term basis, maintaining a healthy diet throughout childhood and into adulthood could also hold significant benefits, including helping to lower the risk of the following:
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- cholesterol levels
- heart disease
- joint problems
- breathing problems
- being overweight or obese.