Most American kids are eating two to three snacks a day. While it’s important for kids to eat snacks to keep their energy levels up between meals, those extra calories can lead extra weight. Being overweight increases the risk for multiple health complications like diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol abnormalities and sleep apnea. Making healthy changes at snack time can go a long way.

Joan Han, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist and medical director of the Healthy Lifestyle Clinic, suggests smart snacking as a family. Selecting healthy snack options together helps change habits. Dr. Han shares some healthy and filling snack options.

Here are some snack choices that combine protein and fiber. Add water or milk, to boost fluids.

  • 1 cup Cheerios with skim or one percent milk
  • Apple slices with low fat or fat free string cheese
  • 10 whole wheat crackers with 6 ounces low-fat or fat-free yogurt
  • Mini bag of pretzels with one-fourth cup nuts or seeds
  • Handful of grapes with low-fat turkey, ham or roast beef slices
  • Snack bag of baked chips with 2 tablespoons of hummus or bean dip
  • One-half cup berries or melon with 2 ounces of canned tuna in water
  • 4 ounces of apple sauce with a lean beef jerky stick
  • Handful of goldfish crackers with a hard-boiled or scrambled egg
  • Pair baby carrots, celery sticks, sliced peppers, or two to three cups light popcorn with any of the protein items listed above.

Other snack ideas:

  • Sugar-free ice pop
  • Sugar-free gelatin or pudding cup
  • Fruit-and-grain or fruit-and-nut bar
  • 10 baked tortilla chips with salsa
  • Small salad with light dressing