What’s a snack?

The definition is like best says,

A snack is less than 100 calories, contains no added sugar, is low in fat and has less than 500 milligrams of salt.

This rules out the things sold as so-called snacks: chips, cookies, processed bars and even flavored yogurt.

Fruits and vegetables make great snacks. Read more here for the link to the Center for Science in the Public Interest with snack ideas and their Pinterest feed.

Kids should have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Something healthy can be offered mid-morning and/or after school. Foods fed at those times shouldn’t be more attractive than the regular meal or kids will eat enough to get by and not eat what’s being served at the regular meals.

Parents should define what’s allowed between meals. One strategy is to limit the list of approved self-serve items to foods that a hungry kid would eat but a bored kid might pass up. Apples and pears and baby carrots work well. Read more about this approach here.

About Lisa M. Asta, MD

Lisa M. Asta, M.D. is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for which she is also a Media Representative (she has been interviewed for “Kids Health” on Health Radio, and quoted in Parenting Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times, among other publications). She is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco and past pediatric chair at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. She graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Asta is also a writer whose fiction has appeared in Inkwell, Philadelphia Stories, Schuylkill, and Zeniada. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hippocrates, the San Jose Mercury News, and The New Physician Magazine. She is an occasional contributor to KQED public radio’s Perspectives series, and has written articles for Bay Area Parent, Valley Parent, Parents’ Press, and Parents Express, as well as online at,, and She wrote a chapter in The Field Guide to the Normal Newborn, ed. Gary Emmet, M.D. currently has two how-to videos for parents in production which feature Dr. Asta. For more on Dr. Asta’s writing, visit
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