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Say "Yes" to Snacks

Young children need lots of energy for school and play. But getting kids to eat both the right kinds of foods in the right amounts is no easy feat. One way to do it is to make the most out of every snacking opportunity.

Children's stomachs are very small - no bigger than their fist - so the ideal way for kids to eat is in small amounts of nutritious food every three to four hours. Look at snacks like a series of mini-meals that offer children nutrient and energy boosts throughout the day. Make every eating occasion count by serving nutrient-dense foods like live and active culture yogurt that kids love to eat.

Tide them over. Plan to give kids a snack when you know they'll be hungry, like on the way home from school or childcare.

Be a "groupie." Try to fit two of the food groups into each snack, like peanut butter on whole wheat crackers or apple pieces dipped in yogurt.

Capitalize on convenience. Don't forget portable snacks like yogurt for an on-the-run energy boost.

Stack the deck. Keep your cupboards and refrigerator stocked with nutritious foods to increase the likelihood of healthy snacking.

Be prepared. Take the time to package snacks like raisins, pretzels and nuts in small bags for on-the-go kids to grab.