Mac and Cheese, peanut butter, chicken fingers and pizza. They’re all things that kids love to eat, but they’re not the healthiest choices. So where can you get a great snack for your kids if you’re out and about? Pittsburgh Today Live guest and UPMC Dietician Leslie Bonci has these suggestions.
While the venti mocha frappuccino with whipped cream may not be the healthiest thing on the menu, this popular coffee chain does have some healthy snack items for kids. They offer yogurt parfaits, fruit and cheese selections and even “protein artisan snack plates” with a hard-boiled egg and mini-bagel with peanut butter. Order a glass of ice water, or some milk, for the little ones, and you’ve got a great snack on the run.
The Grocery Store
No matter where you shop — be it an upscale chain or a discount super store — all grocery stores have one thing in common: fruit! Bonci says fruit is nature’s candy. Let your kids choose what kind they want to eat, but encourage them to try new and interesting fruits too. In warmer weather, visit a local farmer’s market for great seasonal selections.
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Instead of choosing chocolate or peanut butter flavored smoothies, give your kids a smoothie made with yogurt, ice and fresh fruit. The yogurt will give them a protein boost, keeping them fuller for a longer amount of time. Order a kiddie cup to cut down on portion size, or order a small smoothie with two cups so you and your child can share.
Just like yogurt, peanut butter is a great source of protein. But it also has quite a bit of fat, so the key is to limit your intake to a teaspoon or two. Bonci suggests ordering a cinnamon raisin bagel with a side of peanut butter so you can control how much goes on your child’s snack. Cut the bagel in half and serve one half to your child with a glass of skim milk. It’s a great afternoon treat.
Yes, it is possible to serve your children pizza without feeling guilty. The key is to load it with veggies and only a small amount of cheese. Bonci suggests ordering Pizza Hut’s thin crust veggie pizza. Have the restaurant cut the slices in half so they’re easier for small kids to handle. This also cuts down on portion size. You’ll know they’re smaller, and your child won’t be tempted to finish a huge slice.