Tips for balanced snacking

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I had the privileged to meet and interview, Barni Nutritionist Hala Barghout, at an event hosted by Barni early this year. Hala believes in committing to family meal times and making them enjoyable. As a parent one of the best gifts you can give your children is a strong nutritional start. With school season in full swing, every mothers biggest challenge is to put together a creative and healthy snack box amidst all the hustle and bustle prior to sending kids off to school. When kids are back from school, preparing a meal that they will actually eat is another mammoth task. As a mom of 3 boys( 2 in school), i keep my eyes open for any tips i can find to make meal times more enjoyable to prepare, and enjoyable for my picky-eaters to savor.

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     Nutritionist Hala Barghout and i, at an event hosted by Barni Snacks, promoting healthy eating and balanced diet for kids.

Below are some child friendly pointers by Hala, for  ensuring a well-balanced diet for your child, thereby contributing to their overall growth.

  • Mix and match

Serve baby carrots, cucumber or other raw veggies with fat-free ranch dressing or hummus. Dip cracker sticks or fresh fruit pieces in labneh. Or, keep a portion of fruits in the mid meal snack daily with peanut butter to allure your child to eat fruits.

  • Broaden the menu

Offer out-of-the-usual fare, such as pineapples, cranberries, red or yellow peppers, or roasted peanuts, almonds or Mediterranean nuts that are freely available in the local supermarkets. Whole grain pretzels and tortillas provide energy and stamina for your little ones.

  • Revisit breakfast

Serve breakfast foods — such as scrambled eggs and a whole-grain toast — as alternative snacks for kids in the afternoon.

  • Sweeten it up

Healthy snacks for children don't have to be bland or tasteless. To satisfy your child's sweet tooth, offer fat-free pudding, pancakes or frozen yogurt. Make smoothies with skimmed milk, yogurt, and fresh fruits.

  • Creativity is key

Use a cookie cutter to make shapes out of cheese slices, whole-grain bread similar to the attractive shape of their endeared Barni Bear.  Make fruit kebabs or show your child how to eat diced fruit with chopsticks or toothpicks. Make a tower out of whole-grain crackers, spell words with pretzel sticks, or make funny faces on a plate using different types of fruits.

Hala says, “Above all, remember that food diversity and moderation are the keys to sensible and well balanced diet. Smart nutritional choices during childhood can reinforce lifelong healthy eating habits and it helps kids grow up to their full potential. So it’s important to start young to reap good results in the future.” A HEALTHY OUTSIDE STARTS FROM THE INSIDE.

Barnilicious Saturday at KidZania®

With a range of nutritional challenges facing children in UAE, Barni the bear shaped wholesome snack in collaboration with KidZania, the award-winning children’s edutainment center organized the 4th session of an informative event, to inculcate a healthy eating lifestyle in kids.

The organizers partnered with Hala Barghot, a leading nutritionist in the UAE and Founder of Nutritalks to educate parents on a balanced diet for children.         

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Dr. Hala and I at the Barnilicious event held at KidZania®

The event gave parents the opportunity to learn about picky eaters, energy needs for kids, good food options and smart snacking ideas.The moms got off to a great start dropping off their little champs to a dedicated play space offering organized by Barni. The mommies then sat down to listen to  Hala who shared her top tips for getting kids to embark on a well-rounded diet.

Hala took questions and listened to the personal frustrations of some mom’s experiences around food and mealtime issues. She encouraged moms to become 'Involved Parents' and to cultivate family mealtime routines to make healthy a lifestyle. She emphasized on a child’s diet packed with more fruits, vegetable, legumes, and nuts. Hala advised parents to limit their children’s consumption of processed meat, sugar, and saturated fat. When it comes to the healthier snacks, some may not be as healthy as they seem. She mentioned the Barni snack is a good option as it claims to have no artificial colorants and preservatives. However, she advised the consumption be limited to one bar a day due to the sugar content, which is reasonably lower than other snacks but still prevalent.

In my one-on-one interview with her she enlightened me on her many initiatives geared to bring about a culture of wellness within the school community in the Gulf region. She has also worked with restaurants in the region to encourage them to offer healthier menu options. Hala is a certified dietitian, who educates people on health and nutrition, practicing for almost 10 years. She also offers private nutrition consulting.

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Cocoon to Butterfly Kids at Barnilicious event held at  KidZania® 

The event then called for the moms to be spectators as the kids enjoyed a productive day in KidZania, indulging in some role-playing fun that recreates workplaces. Children learn best through experience and this was an experience that was every bit magical.

 

Disclaimer: I was invited to the event  for the purpose of this review. All content and comments are based on my own opinion and was not influenced by any external factors.

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