Honing in on Healthy Snacks
Water, Omega 3 fatty acids, and magnesium.
Water is essential to maintain normal bodily functions, the problem is most kids do not drink enough plain water or they are not in tune with their thirst cues. Plain water allows nutrients to be transferred in and out of cells and to vital organs. Dehydration can lead to poor focus and concentration causing a child to space out during practices and/or events.
Omega 3 fatty acids keep joints lubricated, is anti-inflammatory and promotes optimal brain development. All of these properties benefit an active child, the anti-inflammatory EPA in Omega 3 fish oil can reduce risk for injury and the DHA can increase the child’s ability to remain focused after long sessions of play time and/or practices.
Magnesium is the most common vitamin deficiency in Americans. Recent studies have shown that a magnesium deficiency is directly related to the onset of ADD/ADHD. Magnesium deficiencies are becoming more common with each generation primarily due to environmental stressors and a diet rich in refined sugars and food additives which can actually stress the nervous system, causing the body to use up magnesium supplies as it tries to counteract this effect.
The benefits of magnesium include relaxation of both the mind and body (more specifically muscles). Magnesium can improve range of motion in athletes and will also positively impact sleep patterns.
What foods offer these nutritional benefits?
Water is found of course in its natural form, but all fruits and vegetables are a good source of water.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids-
- Fish oil
- Wild caught salmon and other cold water fish
- Chia Seeds
- Brussel Sprouts
- Flax seeds and flax meal
- Green vegetables (like broccoli)
- Brazil nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
What are key foods to avoid and why?
Avoid anything with processed ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, dyes, preservatives, and excessive amounts of sugar and sodium.
What are some of the flavor and taste characteristics that appeal to kids?
Kids typically enjoy the bright colors of fruits and vegetables and of course the sweetness of fruits appeal to kids. Parents can add healthy sources of fats like olive oil or coconut oil and even a high quality sea salt with herbs to a vegetable to bring out the flavor in the produce.
In what ways can the retail industry help boost sales of these good-for-you snacks?
Include fun characters on the cover of a bag of grapes, carrots, etc. Create marketing material with other kids on it eating fruits/vegetables. Show how certain nutrients help with concentration (smart), help your joints (make stronger and faster) without false advertising.
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