Health Watch -- Kids and Food: After-school Snacks

Health Watch is a public service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we're talking about nutrition for kids. With childhood obesity and its complications on the rise among American youngsters, it's essential to start teaching healthy habits at an early age. One place to start is with the after-school snack. It's easy and tempting for kids to grab a candy bar, some chips or some cookies when they get home from school, but Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has some other suggestions.

A crunchy granola bar or some trail mix with dried fruits and nuts is a good alternative to a candy bar. If your kids must have sweets, serve some graham crackers — maybe with a little peanut butter for protein — instead of cookies. Salsa and baked tortilla chips are a good substitute for nachos. Air-popped or low-fat microwave popcorn is a better idea than cheese puffs or other fried snacks.

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September 2006

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