Healthy Snacks and Portion Size

Updated on September 02, 2010
C.S. asks from Crescent City, CA
5 answers

My daughter will start kindergarden next week! She has to take a snack to school (will eat lunch at daycare after school, which gets out at noon).
We don't encourage processed foods at home, so I am wondering what are some healthy, natural, and fun snack ideas that are easy to prepare in the morning. Also, how much is a good snack portion for a 5 year old? My daughter is on the heavier side for her age and we are trying to monitor that for health reasons. She normally snacks at daycare and I prepare her snacks on the weekend, but I am thinking she may need more or less portion wise at school???

Can you tell this is my first to go to school? :) Thanks in advance!

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answers from Chicago on

Until my daughter was older, we did portion size by her age. It just was easier. So.... 5 baby carrots or 5 cubes of cheese or 5 cheez-its.

I found that my daughter liked variety. So her "5" would be 2 baby carrots, 2 grapes and 1 cube of cheese. Then I would send her the little bottle of water or a juicebox.

OK - anyone who is "green" is going to have a breakdown. But for convenience and easiness we prepared all snacks on the weekend. So I had 10 (we needed 2 snacks each day) snack size ziploc bags in the bottom cripser drawer of the fridge. Each one was already separated out with snacks so in the morning all she had to do was grab 2 ziploc bags and throw them in her backpack.

If she's hungry with a big appetite though, this may not be enough food. So, I would maybe give her 2 portions at first. I wouldn't necessarily limit HOW MUCH my daughter ate - just what and when. So, she could have as many celery sticks as she wanted, but there would only be 1 cube of cheese in each bag.

If you can eat peanut butter, my daughter LOVES the thin bagels with peanut butter in the middle.

Hope that helps.

Hope that helps

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

any fresh fruit would work - sliced apples with peanut butter (if it is allowed) or just plain - cheese slices with fruit, yogurt, hummus with carrots or pita for size, I think that 1/2 an apple is sufficient...about 1/2 cup of anything.



answers from Portland on

I think I would focus less on portion control and more on offering healthy choices. You can pack carrots, celery, any sort of raw veggie, apple wedges, cheese sticks, whole grain crackers, grapes--- anything she can eat without the teacher's assistance. (I usually avoid oranges, as the kids don't always eat the fiber at this age but merely suck the juice out, and leave drippy stonefruits --nectarines, etc.--for home.)

I'd also check with the teacher before packing any nuts/nut butter snacks, as some children have severe allergies.

Kids often do well with simple protein/complex carb snacks. If you overpack a bit, remember that she could always snack off this food on the way home from daycare, and if you have healthy options, she may eat more of this good food at snacktime, when she's hungry, and this will help balance the daycare lunches which are usually a bit more carb-heavy. I just say this from my past experiences working at a daycare--carbs are often less expensive to serve. The above suggestions, by the way, are the kind of foods I serve for snack at my preschool, and so I know the kids are getting good food which will also keep their brains awake--too much sugar can slow the brain down. And watch out for those granola bars! They're just as sweet as cookies.:)



answers from Seattle on

A couple of our favorite snacks:

fresh fruit (1/2 piece of anything large, whole fruit if it's smaller-like a kiwi)
1/2 quesadilla
small snack bag of dry cereal (our favorite is Trader Joe's O's)
fresh veggies w/hummus (carrots, celery, broccoli, snap peas)
1/2 sandwich
celery w/peanut butter and raisins
homemade fruit rolls (mine are just fruit, with no extra sugar)
crackers with cheese slices



answers from Portland on

I think it depends on if it is all day kinder, how late the lunch is etc. I would say feed her more calories during day so she can concentrate, foods with a low glycemic index, mozzarella cheese sticks are easy and great, I would just make sure she does not eat a school lunch, even though these are free in many schools they are ridiculously fattening!!! Unhealthy and laden with sugar in addition to that (at most schools) the milks often have high fructose corn syrup- HFCS a definite NO-no healthwise especially for overweight children, but really for everyone especially since things with HFCS in them often have mercury as well I think the milk products have higher concentrations of mercury. Very sad that this is what we are feeding our children.

don't pack peanut butter, most schools don't allow this.
ask her teacher too

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