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Getting snacking right for kids

Learning doesn’t just make you smart, it also takes energy. That’s why it’s so important to have a mid-morning snack at school two or three hours after breakfast. It means kids get an energy boost, so as to keep their concentration going through the rest of their lessons. Children who eat a good breakfast don’t need to top up quite as much as kids who “don’t do” breakfast, but everyone needs to refuel.

Give breaktime snacks a boost

As well as needing energy to learn, kids also need a healthy supply of vitamins and minerals. Their second breakfast, or mid-morning snack, should consist, as far as possible, of healthy foods such as yoghurt, fruit and crudités, wholegrain bread, etc. Any of these power snacks will boost your child’s energy levels and revitalise them to continue with their lessons. This mid-morning snack will also ensure that they don’t get too hungry before lunchtime. Remember: the older the child, the more time they spend at school and so the longer they have to wait until lunchtime.

Does your child like to eat something sweet at school? Try to avoid giving them sweet things like biscuits, chocolate or sweets. As well as containing high levels of sugar and, in some cases, also fat, they hardly contain any of the essential nutrients that your child needs. It’s better to give them fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit bars, or even a muesli bar or a slice of wholegrain bread and jam.

What if your kids are not really into mid-morning snacks? Give their breaktime sandwich a healthy boost with crispy vegetables such as cucumber, carrots, cherry tomatoes or salad leaves, and add fresh fruit such as grapes, apples or pears. Depending on the season, you can also throw in some strawberries or mandarins. Take a look at our table to see how you can boost your child’s breaktime snack.

Mid-morning snack: pick and mix
Name of recipe   Recipe
Big snack Thinly spread 1 wholegrain roll with margarine or butter. Fill with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 slice of cheese and 1 slice of chicken breast, e.g. HERTA Finesse chicken breast, 2 thin slices of cucumber and 1 slice of tomato.
“Rabbit” sandwich Spread 1 slice of wholegrain bread with cream cheese or cottage cheese. Grate 1 small carrot and sprinkle over the cheese. Cut the slice of bread in half, put one half on top of the other and press down firmly.
Spicy hamburger Spread 2 slices of brown bread thinly with margarine or butter. Place 1 slice of cheese on one of the slices of bread. Take one red pepper, remove the top and the core and wash thoroughly. Leave it to dry on a piece of kitchen towel. Then slice the pepper into rings and place on the bread.

 

Afternoon: sometimes, a sweet treat does you good

We all know that, sometimes, we need some chocolate or a biscuit with our cup of tea or coffee. Children are the same in fancying something sweet. We have a sweet tooth almost from the moment we are born: even breast milktastes slightly sweet. So banning sweet things won’t solve the problem. In fact, banning something tends to make it more appealing. Naturally, fruit, crudités, yoghurt, bread, muesli or wholegrain cereals should feature on the afternoon tea table. Now and then you can include pastries, cakes or other sweet things. If your child wants a snack, you should make a particular time for it.

Let your little ones satisfy their cravings after lunch or later in the afternoon, as part of their afternoon break. Do you want to know the maximum amount of sweet things your child should be eating each day? In a balanced diet, a maximum of 10% of the day’s energy requirements should come from sugary foods, sugar, fizzy drinks or snacks. 7 to 10 year olds should consume a maximum of 180kcal in the form of sweet things, in other words one portion of red berry compote, for example, plus 1 KITKAT mini, 1 tablespoon of hazelnut spread plus a tiny box of SMARTIES Minis.

And don’t forget the drinks

Water is one of the most important foods, as approximately two thirds of our body consists of water. While the body can manage for several weeks without food, too little water soon causes bodily functions to deteriorate. The younger the child, the more important it is for them to drink enough. So make sure you include enough drinks for your little ones in their lunch boxes. Their fluid reserves should be kept topped up too. Water, unsweetened fruit or herbal teas and/or juices diluted with water in a ratio of 2: 1 (2 parts water, 1 part juice) are ideal. Drinks can be carried around easily in a well-sealed bottle suitable for cold drinks. In many schools, the tuck shop also sells milk. It’s a great alternative, not just for the poor eaters.

Running around burns off energy and does you good

Running around and playing in the afternoon provide a good balance to sitting still at school all day. Your child burns off energy and is fully occupied. During the afternoon and evening, a lot of children guzzle sweets out of boredom and put on extra pounds