When your kids come into the kitchen after school starving and asking for a snack, make sure you have something nutritious and delicious to serve them. Snacks play an important role in managing hunger, boosting nutrition and stabilizing energy. But not all snacks are created equal. While it may seem quicker to grab a pre-packaged snack, real food snacks are SO much healthier (note – even “organic” snacks can be highly processed and low in nutrients). Variety is important to assure you are giving your family a wide range of nutrients and to prevent boredom. So get creative. Here are some of my kids’ (and my!) favorites:
Make Your Own “Sundae”
Give your child a bowl of plain low-fat yogurt (I like using fat free Greek yogurt for an extra protein boost) and line the table with fun toppings: banana slices, fresh berries, granola, nuts, etc. It’s more fun when you get to make your own!
Hummus and Veggies
Choose a variety of brightly colored veggies (each color contains a different nutrient!). You can make your own hummus by blending chickpeas, tahini, lemon and garlic or choose one of the many store brands (Sabra is one of my favorites)
Whole grain crackers, low-fat cheese and fresh fruit. A simple and sophisticated snack for after school.
Coat the bottom of a heavy stock pot with 1 T olive oil. Pour in 1 layer of popcorn kernels. Heat the stove to high and wait for the kernels to pop. Once the popping slows down, remove from heat and sprinkle with sea salt. Delicious, low-fat and high in fiber!
Choose a variety of fruit…I love making a rainbow with strawberries, cantaloup, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries and blackberries. Use wooden skewers to make your kabobs then snip off the pointy ends to avoid a snack-time injury!