With the kids back in school, it’s even more important to make sure they’re getting the nutrients they need to stay energized throughout the day. Here are a few guidelines to follow when helping your child select his or her afternoon snack.
Avoid Processed Food.
For me, the golden rule of healthy snacking – and healthy dining for that matter – is this: If it’s not something your grandma would recognize, don’t eat it! The majority of food available today has been processed and, as a result, stripped of the majority of its nutrients. A good way to avoid buying processed food is to purchase items found along the perimeter of the grocery store, such as fresh produce, dairy products and lean meats. Otherwise, choose healthy whole grains and avoid foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup.
Avoid Fruit Juices
It’s true. Our beloved fruit juices aren’t as healthy as we had originally thought. A lot of them are full of sugar, offering only a few, if any, vitamins and minerals. To cut out some of the extra calories found in your favorite juice, try diluting it with sparkling water for a healthier beverage or, ideally, totally switch over to water.
Use Your FreezerIt’s been a hot summer here in Louisville! Give your child something cool to snack on after school, like frozen berries or frozen low-fat yogurt. Try filling Popsicle trays with low-fat yogurt for a healthy snack that has the same consistency of ice cream without all the fat and excess sugar.
Fun-to-make Healthy Snack
“Bugs on a Log” is a classic, easy-to-make recipe that is great for several reasons. First of all, it contains celery, which is low in calories and packed with large amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants, making it a great vegetable for both kids and adults alike. It also contains peanut butter (which fills the celery stalk), which is high in protein, so it will not only curb your child’s appetite, but will also provide energy throughout the day. As for the raisins, they’re cholesterol and fat-free, low in sodium and high in fiber! And the best part? This recipe is so easy to make that your child can help – giving you one more fun way to spend time with them!
Simply wash two celery stalks, pat dry and cut each stalk into two pieces (minus the leaves). Fill the celery with natural peanut butter (crunchy or creamy) and decorate with raisins!
Mae Pike is a co-owner of Home Cuisine, a local food company designed to help its customers manage their weight by creating dishes that rigorously follow the American Diabetes and American Heart Association guidelines. For more information, visit www.homecuisineonline.com.