By Kate Schlag
Hunger, for both children and adults, comes in one of two types: emotional and physical. People use emotional eating to counteract and deal with feelings: sadness, happiness, boredom or a celebratory mood, for example. Physical hunger occurs when your body requires nutrients and calories. When real, physical hunger hits, it’s important to nourish your body — and your child’s — with high quality, nutritious foods instead of processed and refined foods with empty calories. The right foods will not only curb hunger; in the short-term, they will provide lasting energy, boost cognitive performance and regulate mood. Yogurt is a healthy, filling snack or meal pick for any time of the day.
With 4-6 grams of protein per serving, Stonyfield YoKids products contribute 20-30% of your child’s recommended daily allowance for protein. Starting your child’s day off with a protein-rich meal will nip mid-morning hunger in the bud: according to a study from the University of Missouri, a healthy breakfast with high protein reduces hunger and increases satiety throughout the day. But a protein-rich breakfast has benefits beyond fighting hunger: several studies have shown that a breakfast high in protein can improve memory function and learning and boost grades and test scores. For lasting energy and satiety, pair yogurt with a high fiber food like fruit or whole grain cereal.
Try this on-the-go Almond Strawberry Banana Smoothie using Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt.
After School (or day camp during summer)
These days, most children have a calendar jam-packed with after-school activities: soccer practice, piano lessons, pottery class. An afternoon snack is important to provide energy for these activities until dinner. But instead of sending your child off with portable junk food – bags of chips, fruit roll-ups, cookies – turn to high quality protein and carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates, like those found in soda, cookies, cakes and chips, lead to a quick rise and fall in blood sugar, which leaves you feeling weak and lethargic. Protein and complex carbs, which contain fiber, are slower to digest – which means they’ll give your child lasting energy and stable blood sugar. Stonyfield YoKids Squeezers, which come in kid-friendly flavors like Strawberry, Cherry & Berry and Blueberry & Lemonade, provide protein, calcium, vitamin D and probiotics that aid digestion.
For a heartier snack, send your child off with Fruity Honey Yogurt Muffins, which combine fiber-ful whole-wheat flour, oats and wheat germ with yogurt and are studded with tasty dried fruit.
Most children are primed to expect dessert after dinner. But dessert doesn’t have to be a fat-laden sugar bomb; save those for special occasions. Fruit, yogurt and even cheese are healthier alternatives that still end the meal on a sweet note. These options have far less sugar than picks like ice cream and cookies, which is important: according to the CDC, children already eat too much sugar. Excess sugar consumption can lead to a host of problems, including metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular and obesity. By replacing conventional desserts with healthier options, you can cut down on excess sugar and fat consumption – and encourage healthier attitudes towards eating in your children. Stonyfield’s line of frozen yogurts are certified organic and contain fewer calories, fats and sugars than regular ice creams, but still come in delicious flavors like Vanilla Fudge Swirl and Strawberry-licious.
Parfaits are a fun way to present dessert, and children can help in picking and layering the ingredients from start to finish.