Calming Summer Snacks for Your Little Ones

photo: kontrolmag.com

photo: kontrolmag.com

Food additives, colors and artificial sweeteners can make your child’s nervous system overactive. In contrast, foods that have calcium and magnesium, like vegetables, nuts and seeds, can be calming.

Researchers are repeatedly looking at how food coloring and preservatives influence hyperactivity in children. Experts suggest eating as many natural foods as possible and avoiding “factory made” food choices.

This summer, take the opportunity to bring healthy foods into your little ones’ diets. Use the list below as a guide to kid friendly snacks when grocery shopping.

Low Cost Snacks To Help Soothe Little Ones

This summer, take the opportunity to bring healthy foods into your little ones’ diets. Use the list below as a guide to kid friendly snacks when grocery shopping.

  • Fresh veggies like baby carrots, celery sticks, bell pepper strips, and broccoli/cauliflower florets can be paired with a “healthy dip” like hummus, low-fat salad dressing, guacamole or salsa.
  • Low-fat yogurt or low-fat plain cottage cheese can be sweetened with blended fruit or a bit of frozen fruit juice as a great dessert option. If you use low-fat fruit flavored yogurts, give your little one half of the fruit yogurt to reduce the sugar content.
  • Nuts or seeds like almonds, cashews, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds and toasted pumpkin seeds are a great source of energy. You can also try roasted soy nuts.
  • Place fresh, frozen or dried fruit in a cup or bowl. Create a healthy fruit and yogurt parfait by alternating layers of fruit with low-fat yogurt and granola.
  • You can now find an amazing array of cheeses made from 2 percent milk in lots of kid-friendly packaging.
  • Pair whole grain crackers with 2 percent milk cheese, peanut butter, almond nut butter, hummus, salsa or spreadable fruit.
  • Couple healthy cereals with skim or low-fat milk or eat them by themselves. To select a healthy cereal, be sure it contains at least 3 grams of fiber per grain and that you see the word “whole” as the first word in the ingredients list.

Healthy Options to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

Experts suggest avoiding processed foods with additives, particularly food dyes and refined carbohydrates and sugars. Examples of everyday choices would be donuts, cake, candy (especially those with lots of food dye), sugary kids’ cereals, soda and other sugar-fortified beverages (fruit drinks, sports drinks).

Consider these calming foods for kids the next time your little one is craving something sweet.

  • Peaches: The peach contains a natural sedative that can help alleviate stress and anxiety to help calm and relax the mind. Next time your little one wants a sugary treat, hand him a peach instead.
  • Berries: When kids are feeling overactive or wound up, a bowl of berries can do wonders. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries contain healthy antioxidants and vitamin C, plus they help prevent a boost in cortisol, the “stress hormone” produced by the adrenal gland.
  • Oranges: Give your little one an unpeeled orange. The few minutes it takes for him/her to slow down and peel it will be calming in itself. Plus, the vitamin C and muscle-relaxing potassium also will do him/her some good.
  • Apples and bananas are also good sources of vitamins and minerals that can help calm your little one. All-natural applesauce is also a fantastic choice.
  • Dark chocolate: It may not be as sweet as milk chocolate, but dark chocolate is a lot healthier. It can help reduce cortisol levels as well as lower the levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine, which make kids (and adults) anxious and nervous.
  • Ice cream: Giving in to cravings every now and then is not a crime. But don’t choose just any ice cream. Pick a healthier option like low-sugar, low-fat vanilla bean ice cream made from real vanilla beans. Vanilla is known for its calming properties.

Calming Nighttime Snacks

Next time your little one wants a snack before bed, reach for one of these calming options.

  • Whole grain crackers and peanut butter
  • Oatmeal topped with bananas and walnuts
  • Chopped fresh peaches warmed in the microwave and topped with a little milk
  • Whole grain English muffin topped with melted low-fat cheese
  • Smashed bananas on whole wheat toast

Making small changes to your child’s diet and your own can make a huge difference in day-to-day activities.

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