Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/20/2021 --Toddlers love to snack. But many grab-and-go snacks popular with busy families are processed and contain excess sugar and sodium that can lead to poor eating habits and health concerns later in life.
There are easy ways to engage toddlers in snack time and teach them to eat right early on, said Sara Fausett, a registered dietitian-nutritionist at Intermountain Cedar City Hospital.
Eating habits have the greatest impact on a person's health, research shows. More than half of U.S. adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases, and many are related to poor diets and lack of physical activity. About one-fifth of U.S. children are clinically obese. Teaching kids healthy eating and active lifestyles is a critical part of parenting.
Here are some toddler snack-time tips Fausett gives her patients:
- Establish a regular snack routine.
- Serve snacks at the table. Eat together to model healthy snacking.
- Offer fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods, like string cheese.
- Cut foods into small pieces and watch your toddler eat to prevent choking.
- Give toddlers choices among healthy options. This helps them learn to choose healthy foods and improve autonomy (which they love).
For on-the-go snacks, purchase healthy convenience items or make your own bagged snacks, like these:
- Puree fruit mixes
- String cheese
- Mini packs of carrots or apples
- Dry cereal
- Fruit (gummy fruit snacks don't count!)
"With a little planning, snack time can be a great way to help kids learn to eat right the fun way," Fausett said.
For more resources to keep your toddler's happy and healthy, see www.babyyourbaby.org or call 800-826-9662.
About Baby Your Baby
Baby Your Baby is a cooperative effort between the Utah Department of Health, KUTV" href="https://intermountainhealthcare.org/">Intermountain Healthcare<,/a> and KUTV. The program was designed to provide helpful information for parents and their children.