5 Afternoon Snacks: Protein Is King

Whether they’re five or fifteen, most kids need an afternoon snack. 

For younger kids, it’s important because many of them are picky eaters who don’t eat much at lunch, yet they burn lots of energy during the day. They need food to fuel their fun.

Teenagers have busy days. Eight hours of school, often some kind of practice or rehearsal after school, then homework after that. They put in long days, and their bodies are still growing and changing. Just like younger children, they need food so they can power through their cram-packed schedules.

Carbohydrates are an important part of any diet. But when it comes to providing quality fuel for you child in the afternoon, protein is king. Why? Protein provides longer-term energy. Carbs are burned quickly, while protein lasts longer, giving kids the stamina they need. What’s more, protein makes them feel fuller longer, which helps prevent late night snacking. Protein is also good for muscles, bones, and pretty much your whole body in general.

So what are some high-protein snacks you can offer your kids? Try these:

  • Trail Mix. A combination of nuts, dried fruits, grains, and sometimes chocolate, trail mix is a tasty snack and a good source of protein.
  • Almonds. Packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E, these nuts are the go-to snack for active, nutrition-conscious folks.
  • Peanut butter. A solid source of protein and healthy fats, this kid-friendly staple is as nutritious as it is delicious.
  • Edamame. This might be a tough sell with some kids, but warmed or roasted with some sea salt, these protein-packed beans really can be tasty.
  • Pumpkin seeds. Again, pumpkin seeds might be an acquired taste for kids, but if you can get them to eat them, do it. Because pumpkin seeds have been called a “nutrition powerhouse” by nutrition professionals.

When we want to give our kids a boost, we’re often tempted to reach for carbs: cookies, crackers, and pretzels. But to keep your kids energized, feeling full, and building healthy bodies, reach for protein instead.

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