School is back in session and we as parents are striving harder to make sure our kids are feeling nourished fueled.
Welcome to my Monday blog- this time the focus is on Healthy Eating and Recipes with the focus being on after school snacks.
“Now more than ever we need to make sure that kids are getting a good boost of essential nutrients both in school and after.”
Why is after school snack so important or even relevant? The gap between lunch and dinner is usually a long one and if not fueled with something filling and satiating- often leads up to mindless snacking . We don't tend to realize that kids too need a boost of energy after school and something to keep them going until dinner. Just like adults, kids are looking for a pick me up after a long day at school and often gravitate towards foods that give them that instant boost of energy- mostly sugars. A lot of times - kids are involved in homework, after school programs or simply hanging out with friends and tend to ignore hunger cues ,until they are famished and then can eat any thing and everything! Its important to encourage healthy eating early on in kids, so it comes more naturally when they grow up and one way to do that is encourage healthy snacking-after school being a critical one.
Here are some simple ways to ensure that you are making snack time count.
Sometimes the word "healthy" might not be the ideal way to encourage healthy snacking in kids- steer away from the word and encourage them more on the type of food they are eating , color, texture and flavors. Here are some snack ideas that really do well with kids- Smoothies They are a great way to include it all- even better chill them in popsicle molds and make fun popsicles- which are always a welcome snack. - milk alternatives, or low fat milk or even coconut water make terrific blender liquids.
Kids charcuterie board Impossible? Well technically not- Some apple slices, string cheese and some healthy nuts or some raisins along with some whole grain crackers will make a perfect kids snack that sounds fancy too:) Fruit Parfaits As a protein you could add Greek yogurt or cottage cheese and layer it with whole grain granola and berries or any other seasonal fruits.
Veggie sticks and Dips Baby carrots, celery, Persian cucumbers, grape tomatoes with a dip is yet another snack that is easy to eat and kids love it!
Make the dips protein packed to make the snacks complete- some ideas include- hummus, Greek yogurt flavored with a dash of ketchup, and nut butters are some yummy options!
Pre-packaged snacks Let's face it- not every time would we have the time to make fresh after school snacks and its absolutely ok to have store bought snacks handy - we just need to be mindful of what we are buying. Read the food label and ingredients list carefully, avoid the following-
Added artificial colors.
Look for whole grain cereals, 5 or less ingredients , the first 3 ingredients on the list are the most used in the snack so pick with caution and low added sugars.
Add a fruit to any of the store bought snacks to make it complete. Take home message.... Kids need their nutrition and they need it in a way that is easy and quick! Like any other meal- after school snacking too needs some bit of planning either while shopping for them or while prepping them. Keep kids involved in their own snack planning and help them understand the reason behind eating nourishing foods! They want to feel strong and healthy! So let them explore and take ownership of their choices and feel good about the healthy habits that they are practicing early on! Do you have a healthy nourishing after school snack your kid loves? Add them in the comment below! Lets see how many we can get!