Healthy Snacking for Your Active Child
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School-going children need to obtain sufficient energy and nutrients to keep them going. Their brain needs energy for active learning and their body needs to be fuelled to keep up with their daily activities.

Therefore, it is crucial for you to ensure that your child takes his three main meals on time daily. Children often have small appetites and therefore eat smaller portions. This is why children require additional “nutritious” snacks in between main meals.

Healthy snacks are not only a great way to meet your child’s energy and nutrient quota, they are also:

  • Handy when your child can only take small servings of food during main meals,
  • Keep hunger pangs away,
  • Ensure your child has enough fuel to conduct daily activities.

Snacking Rules

Nutritious snacks should not contribute to excessive calories. To ensure that, remember these rules:

  • Snacks should be balanced. Provide snacks from either one or two of the five major food groups, or a combination of foods from the five groups.
  • Provide healthy snacks in appropriate serving sizes.
  • Avoid serving snacks too close to mealtimes (at least two hours gap) as it may spoil your child’s appetite for main meals.
  • Snacks should complement and not replace main meals.

Healthy Snacking from Young

You should instil healthy snacking habits from young, which he will adhere to until adulthood.

  • Do not allow him to snack in front of the TV or computer, or when playing video games, as this may lead to unconscious overeating.
  • Always try to pack healthy and nutritious snacks to be taken during recess time, or when attending afternoon activities in the school.
  • Be a good role model by choosing to eat healthier snacks in front of your child.

Here are some good examples of healthy snack ideas for home, school or anywhere!

  • Egg/tuna/cheese sandwiches made with wholegrain bread
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Steamed red bean pau or appam
  • Corn in a cup (beware of added butter and salt)
  • Baked potato served with some meat
  • Crackers with cheese or tuna spread
  • Pancakes or muffins made with fruits
  • Fresh fruits and milk
  • Soyabean milk or taufu fah

Avoid snacks that contain high amounts of fats, sugar, salt, and flavourings. These include fried foods (e.g. kerepek/keropok, French fries, chips), sweet snacks (e.g. doughnuts, cakes, cookies) as well as processed foods (e.g. sausages, nuggets). Instead, there are many other healthier options that you can easily prepare for your child anytime, anywhere. You can start by packing a healthy snack for him to bring to school tomorrow! Cultivate these habits from young, and your child will continue to practise healthy eating habits even when he is out and about, not just when he is at home!

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