11 low calorie snacks for school children

All children snack. Fortunately it is their privilege because that way they get their nutrients and sufficient calories from the variety of foodstuffs that go into making their main meals and in between snacks. Active children even need an almost meal size snack after an aggressive outdoor playing session.

But what happens when the bulky, larger than average child wishes to snack? How can you feed his hunger within the right calories? Will your child accept low calorie snacks? For any mother who has an overweight child, this is a dilemma.

It takes light educative sessions with your child to get him to accept healthy options of snacking. Firstly, take him along with you for shopping and show him foods he should choose over unhealthy ones. Give him the freedom of choosing from those so that he takes responsibility to eat them, especially fruits and vegetables, because you can add bulk and satiety to foods by adding fruits or veggies at a lower caloric cost. If you can get your son/daughter to do this half your worry is over.

Secondly, set an example. You will not make oily or deep fried snacks at home while your child is trying to avoid those.

Here are some healthy super snacks that children will enjoy and accept willingly. Each is not more than 150 kcals.

Roti wrap – The humble phulka turned into an attractive wrap by opening it out into 2 layers, spreading a vegetable sauté on one circle, topping with onion rings and tomato slices and rolling it. You can use different fillings, not necessarily cooked veggies, but even raw ones or an egg for extra protein.

Air popped popcorn – The best snack, as all kids normally love popcorn. You may permit 2 or 3 full cups of this if air popped.

Fruits and ice cream – Is your child demanding ice cream? Make a deal. Ice creams allowed only if eaten with fruits. Soften 2 tablespoon of ice cream over a cup of mango, banana or watermelon slices.

Complete nutrition guide for your child

Corn on the cob – This is totally tummy filling and great to have as a snack especially when experiencing a hunger pang. Season the steamed cob with lime juice and salt. Drizzle a few drops of melted butter for flavour.

Low fat milk and banana – There is nothing like a home-made banana milkshake to quickly drown before rushing out to play. Flavour it with vanilla or banana essence. Pamper him – serve in a chilled tall glass with a straw.

Cheese and corn toast – Spread on a slice of toasted whole wheat bread a mixture of cheese and sweet corn. Garnish with any herbs liked by your child, no seasoning is required. Microwave this to get a melted cheesy filling on toast. Cut them into 4 squares. This goes well with tomato sauce. You can add more toppings on this like capsicum or cabbage strips, tomatoes and olives.

Rice flakes/puffed rice – Just an ounce of rice flakes or poha can be quite filling. Splutter mustard seeds, jeera in oil just enough to crack the mustard and not to coat the poha. Moisten the poha with water. Add a tablespoon of coconut gratings.

Encouraging your child to eat traditional snacks like this one teaches him to try different tastes.

Fresh juice jelly – Make a jelly with your child’s favourite fresh sugarless juice and gelatine, chill and cut up into cubes. Add to fresh fruits. Tastes and looks better.

Vegetable sticks – Let him/her choose the veg strips. Permit them to be dipped in a little bit of peanut, coriander or mint chutney, or in a tomato and cheese dip. Even plain tomato or mustard sauce is fine to dip into. The main calories here are only from the dip so it makes a really low calorie snack. If you want to be patriotic, make a pani as you would for pani puri. You are the best person to decide what dip will make your child have the veg sticks.

Stuffed vegetables – Though technically not a snack, this is interesting to eat. Fill halved capsicum or tomatoes with leftover pasta or vegetables. Add any kind of greens like methi leaves to the vegetables or spinach to the pasta. Steam or bake till the vegetable cup looks wrinkled and softened. Eat filling, cup and all with a fork.

Cracker bites – Eat crackers not alone, but with fillings of tomato slices and nibbles of cottage cheese. You may use rusk too instead of crackers.

Parvathy R Krishnan

The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at http://premadiet.blogspot.in/


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Image: Aimee Steen