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After-school snacks!

The most common scene in homes across the world is when kids come in from school and head straight to the kitchen looking for something to eat. It’s really important to make sure that your child gets nourished during these post school hours, but still has room for dinner!

It’s not surprising that most kids are hungry after school, though they might need less frequent snacks as they get older. Many kids eat lunch early and have an afternoon of classes and maybe even an after-school activity before their next chance to eat. It is no wonder that by the time they get free of all these activities and end the day, their stomach is craving for food! Giving the child a proper nutritious snack becomes most important, besides satisfying their hunger.

Put yourself in your kid’s shoes and consider his/her eating schedules on a normal weekday. Try to figure out how hungry he/she could be when they get home by finding answers to questions such as 'when is the lunchtime?', 'what and how much do they eat at lunch?', 'do they ever skip lunch?', etc. and plan out the snack meals accordingly, also keeping in mind the time dinner is normally served.

Talk to your kids about their choices of snacks and give them healthy options making sure that you include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in the list. While a slice of cake or some potato chips should not be forbidden, such low-nutrient snacks should not be on the everyday after-school menu too!

Make it a habit to take your kids along to the grocery store and read out the nutrition fact labels to them and compare products in front of them. Pay attention to the amounts of protein, fiber, calcium and other important nutrients, and as far as possible, choose snacks that are low in sugar, fat and salt. Involving your child in such decisions will make them learn about healthy food choices.

Make snacks readily available

It’s just too much of a bother for kids to make up their own snack items, especially when they are tired, irritable and hungry! They would definitely want to eat something that will come handy to them. So, here comes your role to make healthy snacks readily available by packing them in their lunchboxes or backpacks or by having them visible and ready-to-eat at home. Also, youngsters often enjoy helping their parents in cooking up new, innovative and creative snacks for them. So, make sure you involve them if you're at home cooking for your little one!

Make sure that you provide your child with healthy drinks as well together with the eatables. What a child drinks can drastically affect the amount of calories consumed. Here come water and milk as the best choices for kids of all ages. Not only is water calorie-free, but drinking it teaches kids to accept a low-flavour, no-sugar beverage as a thirst-quencher. When talking of milk, it can be a big contributor to your child's daily needs as a cup of milk has 300 milligrams of calcium. As plain milk is not a favourite amongst kids, try adding a touch of flavouring, such as chocolate or strawberry. Sodas and soft drinks can be avoided as far as possible as these carbonated beverages have no nutritional value and are high in sugar. Consuming these can cause tooth decay, excessive weight gain and other problems in children.

Kids, young and old need snacks in between meals to keep their bodies healthy and running strong. So provide your kids with nutritional snacks that will help in an overall balanced and healthy development. We have a nice long list here for you to get started! 

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.