Healthy after school snacks
Do you know that growing kids need over 40 different vitamins and minerals on a regular basis? Your best bet for making sure your kids are getting the vitamins and minerals they need is to provide a wide variety of healthy foods. Encouraging healthy after school snacks will help you do that. Here are some fun ideas for healthy snacks.
Smoothies – If you don’t mind a messy kitchen, smoothies are nutritious and fun to make. The next time bananas get too ripe for your taste, cut them in 1-inch chunks and throw them in the freezer in a freezer bag. For a refreshing after school treat, put four or five frozen banana chunks in a blender with one cup of milk. Add any other fruit you have on hand, such as strawberries, blueberries, sliced peaches, or sliced nectarines and blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve. When you don’t have any other fruit on hand, add a few drops of vanilla to a plain banana smoothie for a flavor boost.
Make your own snack mix – Kids can learn a lot about healthy eating with a homemade snack mix. First, practice reading food labels to find whole grains. Any cereal with 3 grams of fiber or more per serving is a healthy base for a snack mix. Wheat Chex, Kix, and Mulit-Grain Cheerios are good examples of kid friendly choices. You’ll find lots more if you spend an extra 5 minutes in the cereal aisle next time you’re in the grocery store. While you’re at the store look for bite size whole grain crackers. The same rule applies – look for 3 grams of fiber per serving. New flavors are appearing all the time. Have your kids choose a variety of nuts and/or seeds to add protein. Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds offer nutrition and a little something different. Making snack mix can also teach kids about eating high fat or sugar foods in moderation. It’s OK to make your snack mix more fun by adding a small amount of foods that taste good, but offer little nutrition. For example, have your kids throw in the high fiber cereal, crackers, nuts and seeds, and then you add a small amount of M& M’s just for fun!
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