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Eating for Life

Smart snacking

Healthy choices for life in the fast lane

Updated: 2008-03-19T17:41:17Z

By Jill Wendholt Silva

The Kansas City Star

Keep a snack basket with a choice of nutritious snacks handy in the cupboard or refrigerator. How often should a child snack? "Let children dictate when and how much to snack. Let them learn to self regulate," says Shelly Summar, a registered dietitian and nutrition program director at Children's Mercy Hospital South.

High-quality snacking can combat overeating at meal time. But watch out for cues your kids are snacking because they're bored. If that's the case, steer them gently to another activity. These 150-300 calorie snacks fill the bill.

(* indicates those that are not recommended for children under 2.)

Smart indulgences

  • 8 chocolate kisses = 210 calories
  • 3 Fudgesicles = 225 calories
  • 1 container fat-free pudding = 100 calories
  • Ice cream sandwich cookies (8 reduced-fat vanilla wafers with 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla ice cream) = 230 calories
  • 2 ounces trail mix (peanuts, raisins or other dried fruit and M&M's) = 280 calories*
  • 1 cup sherbet = 240 calories
  • 3 reduced-fat Oreos = 140 calories

Smart fiber-rich snacks

  • 2 ounces animal crackers = 250 calories
  • 2 ounces baked chips = 220 calories
  • 2 ounces pretzels = 220 calories
  • 2 ounces cheddar pretzel twists (about 40) = 220 calories
  • 1 low-fat granola bar = 110 calories or 220 calories for 2 bars
  • 1 bag 94% fat-free microwave popcorn = 220 calories*

Smart cracker snacks
  • 2 slices fat-free cheese + 10 saltine crackers = 120 calories
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter + 5 saltine crackers = 250 calories *
  • 1 can Healthy Choice soup such as Chicken and Rice or Chicken Noodle + 5 saltine crackers = 180 calories
  • 2 graham cracker sheets + 1 cup skim milk or 1 tablespoon peanut butter = 205-215 calories *
  • 1 piece light string cheese + 16 reduced-fat Wheat Thins = 180 calories
  • 1 piece light string cheese + 10 reduced-fat club crackers = 190 calories

Smart fruits and veggies
  • 10 grapes = 35 calories *
  • 2 bananas = 220-240 calories
  • 3 medium oranges (each the size of tennis ball) = 180 calories
  • 2 cups natural (unsweetened) applesauce with cinnamon = 210 calories
  • 1 cup grape juice = 155 calories
  • 1 cup apple juice = 115 calories

Smart snacks

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese + 1 cup sliced peaches + 1 cup pineapple = 230 calories
  • 1 1/2 ounces dried fruit = 100 calories
  • Ants on a log (1 small box raisins, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 stalks celery) = 250 calories

Source: Shelly Summar, registered dietitian, and Melissa Gossman, registered dietitian, Children's Mercy Hospitals

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