After school snacks may rightfully have a bad reputation, but they are actually excellent opportunities to provide your growing children the nutrition they need after a long day at school. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips or stopping by the convenience store for a candy bar, Hillcrest South dietitian Stephanie Harris, MS, RD/LD shares some new ideas for snacks your kids will enjoy, while also helping to support a balanced diet. With a little planning the weekend before, you can have a variety of options for your children to choose and try.
Toast a whole grain waffle and top with low-fat yogurt and sliced peaches. Peaches are in season now and they are packed with vitamins, fiber and potassium. Did you know historians believe peaches originated in China? There the peach tree is referred to as the “tree of life.”
Graham Cracker Sandwich
Smear a scoop of frozen yogurt onto two graham crackers and add sliced bananas to make a yummy sandwich. Yogurt and bananas are known as a powerful food combination, which helps to speed muscle recovery following exercise – making this a perfect snack for kids coming home after football, soccer or baseball practice.
Pocket of Apples
Stuff a whole-grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices. Add a dash of cinnamon. Did you know one serving of ricotta cheese provides 51 percent of the daily value of calcium intake? To cut down on saturated fat, look for part-skim or fat-free ricotta varieties.
Ants on a Log
Spread celery sticks with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese. Top with raisins. If your kids are not big fans of raisins, you can substitute with other dried fruit, like dried cranberries. In fact, if you happen to have fresh cranberries, cherries or blueberries on hand and would like to make dried fruit at home, you can without using a dehydrator!
Frozen Banana Pop
Peel a banana and dip it in yogurt. Roll in crushed cereal and freeze. Granola is another great option as a substitute for cereal. Here’s a recipe for making your own at home to help reduce the amount of sugar and fat.
Fruit and Cheese Kabob
Make snack kabobs. Put cubes of low-fat cheese and grapes on skewers. For preschoolers, this is a fun snack they can participate in before enjoying. Add the fruit, cheese and skewers to a plate and let them arrange and eat.