Smart Snacking


Let’s not leave our children behind in this food race to good health. Sometimes as adults we are so busy focusing on our own health concerns and weight loss goals that we are not as focused on the eating habits of our children, especially teens. Here are a few tips from an article I came across that I think will help you as you encourage your teens to choose healthy snacking:

  • The busier your teens are, the more they will need healthy snacking to fuel their bodies. As a matter of fact, during adolescence, a person’s body requires more nutrients to grow. By choosing healthy snacking, they are not only satisfying those hungry pains but their body is getting the nutrients and vitamins it needs.

  • But you need to pay attention to what you eat. Stuffing your face with a large order of fries after class may give you a temporary boost, but a snack this high in fat and calories will only slow you down in the long run.

  • To keep energy levels going — and avoid weight gain — steer clear of foods with lots of added sugars like candy bars or soda. Look for foods that contain fiber like whole-grain breads, cereals, fruit, and vegetables and combine them with protein-rich snacks such as peanut butter or low-fat yogurt or cheese.

Judging Whether Snacks Are Healthy

Choosing healthy snacks means shopping smart. Be cautious of the health claims on food packages. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Just because something is "all natural" or "pure" doesn't necessarily mean that it's nutritious. For example, "all natural" juice drinks or sodas can be filled with sugar (which is, after all, a natural ingredient) but all that sugar means they'll be high in calories and give you little nutrition.

  • A granola bar is a good example of a snack that seems healthy. Although granola bars can be a good source of certain vitamins and nutrients, many also contain a great deal of fat, including a particularly harmful type of fat called trans fat. And there can be a lot of sugar in granola cereals and bars. Check the Nutrition Facts label on the package to be sure.

  • Be skeptical of low-fat food claims, too. If the fat has been eliminated or cut back, the amount of sugar in the food might have increased to keep that food tasting good. Many low-fat foods have nearly as many calories as their full-fat versions.

  • Whatever claims a food's manufacturer writes on the front of the package, you can judge whether a food is healthy for you by reading the ingredients and the nutrition information on the food label.

As a mother, and having dealt with teens in the past, I know how challenging it can be to introduce healthy foods to your teens. I hope this article helps. You can check out the rest of the article at www.kidshealth.org/teen/food

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Book Annie as a speaker or you want to start a wellness program at your church: Contact me at anniemgipson@gmail.com


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