CONTRIBUTED BY ACES
BY DUSTIN DUNCAN
Preparing snacks for during and after school plays a significant role in ensuring that students get all the nutrients they need. In many areas, school is already back in session. This means that parents need to be prepared to break out some snacks for when their academic superstars return home.
Live Well Alabama is here to help with a few snack tips that are sure to satisfy any student, all while providing nutrition and a little brainpower for them to attack their homework.
“Research shows food marketed to kids in schools contain an average of 19 grams of added sugar, which is almost five teaspoons,” said Sofia Sanchez, an Alabama Extension family and consumer sciences specialist and registered dietitian. “Caregivers can set kids up for healthy snacking habits starting at home.”
The first tip for adults making snacks for little ones is to think about having snacks ready before students come home. Decide what snacks to make, how much and where the children will eat them when they get home. Children are more likely to make the healthy choice if they know where the prepared snack is and if they can get to it easily.
Get Children Involved
When preparing snacks for children, their nutrition needs to be top on the list. However, the snack also needs to be something that they are excited about eating. Live Well Alabama recommends that caregivers talk with the children about what they would like to eat, and give them two to three healthy options. Get the children interested in cooking by letting them help with some of the easier tasks, such as washing fruit or mixing ingredients.
Just like at dinner time, many people don’t want to eat the same thing over and over again. Children probably don’t enjoy the same snack after school every day. If preparing carrot and celery sticks with Live Well Alabama’s Creamy Cucumber Dill Dip twice a week, try switching things up by having a bag of Live Well Alabama’s Sweet and Salty Popped Mix as a snack on the other days. Slicing an apple, peeling an orange or providing plain yogurt with strawberries or blueberries are also A+ choices.
Coming up with a new menu of snacks can be a fun and engaging experience for everyone. However, Live Well Alabama has a few more ideas to get people going while they are gathering ideas.
• Whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese and apple slices
• Whole-grain cereal with nuts and dried cranberries
• Pretzels with carrot sticks and low-fat ranch dip
• Low-fat yogurt with strawberries
• Graham crackers and grapes with a glass of skim milk
• Reduced-fat popcorn with a fresh orange
• Whole-grain muffin with blueberries and a cup of low-fat cocoa
• Whole-wheat pita with vegetables and reduced-fat dip
For more information about smart snacking, visit www.LiveWellAlabama.com, or visit them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.