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Healthy, and easy, school snack swaps

Whether learning in-person or online, kids' love for snacks isn't changing.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — School is starting for students across West Michigan and whether it's in person or virtual from home, you know one thing hasn't changed, kids' love for school snacks.

13 ON YOUR SIDE spoke with Dr. Nicole Beurkens who, in addition to being a child psychologist is also a nutritionist, she shares some great ideas for healthier school snack swaps.

"Many common kid-friendly snacks are filled with sugar and chemicals that can cause attention, learning, mood, and behavior issues in kids," says Dr. Beurkens. In fact, "The American Heart Association recommends that children ages 2-18 should consume less than 25 grams (or 6 tsp) of added sugar daily," she explained.

Most kids are getting way more than the recommended amount of sugar each day. Chemicals like artificial dyes, flavorings, preservatives, and sweeteners have been linked to attention problems, hyperactivity, behavior challenges, anxiety, and mood issues.

There are simple ways to avoid school day sugar overload --and the inattentive, irritable, and hyper behavior that goes with it -- but still give kids snacks they enjoy. Here are Dr. Beurkens' suggestions:

  • Read labels to check for sugar and chemicals
  • Purchase packaged snack options that are more nutritious
  • Make simple snacks at home

For more helpful insights like these, visit her website.

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