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    Mayo Clinic Minute: Transforming snack time with healthy options

A healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of childhood obesity involves getting enough exercise, limiting processed and sugary treats, as well as getting the right amount of sleep. Dr. Tina Ardon, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician, says promoting healthy choices start at snack time.

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Whether in the classroom or on the playground, children need enough energy — and the right nutrition — to get them through the day.

"Food is really an important part of making sure our brains can work appropriately and as effectively as possible," says Dr. Ardon.

Nutritious snacks can bridge the gap between meals. Pairing these nutritious snacks with the recommended amount of hydration makes a recipe for success.

When it comes to selecting foods, start by adding color to your plate.

"Make sure you're getting plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. That's a great place to start with picking out healthy snacks," says Dr. Ardon. "You can complement that with lean proteins, whole grains, to make that maybe a more exciting snack for your kids, as well."

Plan and prepare snacks ahead of time. Sticking to a routine can help children become more comfortable with making healthy choices.

"It's not uncommon for kids to be picky, and our job as parents is to help provide them the opportunities to try new foods and to open their minds to healthier options," says Dr. Ardon.

For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

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