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Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks

To help your children to maintain energy and nutrients for their growth

  • Offer snacks 2 to 3 times a day, 2 hours before meals
  • Include foods from the four food groups of Canada's Food Guide
  • Limit snack portions to a reasonable size so they don't interfere with meals
  • Include healthy snacks on your grocery list
  • Prepare muffins, trail mixes etc. on the weekend when you may have more time.
  • Ask your child for healthy snack ideas but set limits on unhealthy snacks

Children have the biggest appetites right after school and before bed so make snacks count!

Get your child/teen to eat less "junk food"

Make healthy food quick and easy to grab by

Setting out...

  • Cut-up fruit and veggies
  • Whole grain, low fat crackers and cheese (slices, strings, or foil wrapped cubes or wedges)
  • Peanut butter or other nut butters on crackers, English muffins, bagels or bread
  • Mini muffins
  • Trail mix
  • Baked tortilla chips with salsa or bean dip (available in Natural Values section of major grocery stores)

Buying convenient, single-serve packages of...

  • Yogurt cups, tubes or drinks
  • Pudding
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Cereal bars
  • Frozen fruit bars on a stick
  • Raisins or other dried fruit

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Stocking up on...

Quenching thirst with...

  • Water or milk. Kids can easily fill up on sweetened beverages and lose their appetite for more nutritious choices.


  • Pop and other sweetened beverages.

Watch Out For...

  • High fat and low nutrient snacks
    Unfortunately, most snacks marketed to children are unhealthy, high in fat and low in nutrients (e.g. potato chips, pop, chocolate bars, candy). Snack choices such as chips, chocolate bars and pop should be occasional treats rather than everyday items.
  • Sugary cavity causing foods
    Foods that are sticky and sweet cling to the teeth and can contribute to cavities. Hard and crisp foods, such as apples, raw vegetables; cheese, and sugarless gum help to clean teeth after snacking by increasing saliva flow. Encourage children to rinse their mouth with water when possible.

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  • Write a healthy snack list with your child and post it on the fridge!
  • Granola or cereal bars that contain marshmallows, chocolate chips and frosting are more like chocolate bars. The best choices are those that are higher in fibre, lower in fat and sugar.
  • Popcorn-spice it up with grated cheese or sprinkle on flavoured toppings
  • Read and compare labels: If you buy dried fruit snacks, choose brands that contain 100% dried fruit with no added sugar. Depending on size, a fruit snack with 100% dried fruit can be counted as one or more servings of fruit from the Vegetable and Fruit food group.

From Cook Great Food © 2002. Published by Robert Rose. Reprinted by permission of Dietitians of Canada.

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Revised: December 20, 2011


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