100 Calorie Snacks for Kids

"Look for 100 calorie snacks twice a day max"...the catchy tune is probably still ringing in your ears!

Which, by the way is great because this is an important message!

Why? Because for many children (and adults), snacking is responsible for a huge chunk of our sugar and calorie consumption. In some cases, snacking is replacing meals as people just graze throughout the day on small snack meals, which is fine if they are nutritionally balanced... but usually they are not!

Snack foods tend to be higher in sugars and carbohydrates, the sort of portable food that you can grab and eat on the run. 
The other issue with buying snack foods is that the portion is set for you and with all the willpower in the world, we are unlikely to just eat ¾ of a snack bar because that might be our full daily sugar allowance. We will finish the pack/portion because that is the normal thing to do.   

For children, some large supersize chocolate bars can contain way over their entire daily sugar allowance and some other snacks such as take away milkshakes, cans of drink, cakes, pastries and even packets of crisps can contain disproportionately high levels of calories, sugar, fat and salt. None of these are helpful for children; for their weight, their blood sugar levels, their heart health and lets not forget that children’s teeth are also suffering under the burden of excess sugar.

Snacks should be an opportunity to get a bit of extra nutrition into your kids (and yourself) and silence those hunger pangs until the next meal. Choosing foods like fruit, yoghurt, low sugar cereal bars, homemade muffins, crudités and dips will boost your nutritional intake during the day.

The 100 calorie target for each snack is a sensible number to aim for. Don’t get too worked up about sticking to it, but awareness is the key. This message makes people think about how many calories might be in their snack. If you discover your trusty snack bar/pastry is coming it at 400, then chances are you might reconsider.

There are some kids who do need more than this, and as parents, this is about using your common sense. If you have an active, growing and hungry child then 2 x 100 calorie snacks might not suffice... in which case increase the size and nutritional density of snacks but maintain the nutritional quality. The same maximum sugar levels still apply! Add in some fruit and yoghurt smoothies or make some nut butter and apple sandwiches.

For the majority of children who have 3 balanced meals a day, 2 x 100 calorie snacks (or thereabouts) will be perfect. So, to get going you will need to get reading the food labels on your favourite snacks. Remember to look at the portion size column rather than the 100g column and the calories within this. Also, check that the stipulated portion size is actually the amount that you eat! Sounds silly but a bottle of soft drink will suggest that a portion is only ½ of the bottle but in reality most would presume that a portion is indeed the whole bottle (and therefore consume double!).

Here are some speedy 100kcal snacks for you to have a go at when you are in the kitchen:

- Homemade popcorn (20g popping corn +1 tsp oil) Sprinkle with a little salt and or some spices.
- 1 banana (easy!)
- 1 small apple cut into slices and spread with smooth peanut butter
- 1 handful of cucumber/ carrot sticks + 1 tbsp humous
- ½ a matchbox sized chunk of cheese + 2 cracker breads
- 30g snack box of raisins
- Mini 1 egg frittata with 1 chopped mushroom + 2 leaves of spinach + sprinkling of grated cheese + brushed case with oil
- 2 cracker breads spread with low fat cream cheese
- milk shake with ½ banana + 150mls milk 
- "ice cream" made with frozen bananas and strawberries, blended up. 1 scoop in an ice cream cone
- 100g of natural yoghurt with 1 tbsp stewed apple / fresh berries stirred in
- 2tbsp of baked spiced chickpeas (bake drained tinned chickpeas in an oven until crispy and sprinkle with spices and a little salt)
There will be some homemade oat bar and energy ball recipes coming up on the blog so keep your eyes peeled! YUM.

Have fun exploring some new snack options and remember that this is more about awareness than calorie counting your snacks!  
Experiment with some different flavours and let us know what your winning 100kcal snack is!