Children with special needs require healthy snacks as certain foods exasperate symptoms. Certain foods can trigger “stress” hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol (flight or fight hormones). Here are a few snack ideas for children with special needs.
#1. Fresh Vegetables
Cut fresh vegetables such as baby carrots, broccoli, celery, and peppers into strips and serve with a low-fat dip, salsa or guacamole.
#2. Low-fat Yoghurt
Low-fat Yoghurt or low fat cottage cheese. Low-fat yogurt that is plain is best. Add some fruit and honey to add natural sweetness.
#3. Nuts and Seeds
Anything nutty such as almonds, pecan nuts, and even peanuts are good protein. Try adding a few sunflower seeds and roasted nuts to oats for a healthy breakfast.
#4. Dried fruit
Serve with yogurt for a healthy dessert. You can boil the fruit and serve with sugar-free custard too.
#5. Reduced fat cheese
Cheese that is low in fat such as mozzarella and feta is a winner for the little cheese lovers. Avoid processed cheeses as they increase hyperactivity.
#6. Wholegrain Crackers
Crackers such as Provitas served with sugar-free peanut butter, hummus or cheese is a filling healthy lunch box treat.
#7. Healthy Cereal
Healthy cereals with low-fat milk. Be sure that you add oats and anything starting with whole grain to your shopping list.
#8. Healthy Treats
There are many products on the market now that are free of added preservatives and gluten. If you are budget locked try the following:
- Peaches – contains a natural sedative that eases anxiety. Great option for children with ADHD.
- Berries – contains antioxidants and vitamin C and boosts cortisol – produced by the adrenal gland.
- Oranges – contains vitamin C and the muscle relaxing pottasium, perfect for children with ADHD.
- Dark Chocolate – slightly bitter but sweet, this treat is healthier and reduces cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine – the main cause of anxiety and nervous tension.
- Ice-cream – believe it or not, ice-cream that is low in sugar with real vanilla beans has calming properties. Perfect for hot summer days.