Snack time is an important time of a child’s day. As our children grow, their nutrition needs become larger. A snack is an extra opportunity to give our child the nutrients that they need to stay healthy, grow, have strong bones, stay hydrated and have energy. When school is in session quick is the name of the game. We purchase items that can be tossed in our child’s lunchbox in the morning and can make it through the day. However, now that our children are home for the summer there may be a little more time to prepare snacks. Making the most of snack time could be a chance to expose your child to new foods they may not have tried yet, or to create a snack that will make them smile. It can be foods that need to be refrigerated, which will refresh your child after playing in this Texas heat. It can be items that need to be cooked. With your child home, you can now make snacks that wouldn’t survive the trip to and from school. This summer, let’s make snacks that are not only quick and nutritious, but that our children will be excited about and older children can help you prepare.
The key to a snack is making sure it has two components in particular: Protein and Carbohydrates. Protein helps us stay full, it provides the building blocks for our bones and muscles to grow and stay strong. Protein can be found in meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, tofu, soy, and dairy products. Carbohydrates are what give our body energy; this includes fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Pairing both carbohydrates and protein makes for a well-balanced snack. As a parent we can use this extra time with our kids in the summer to teach them about nutritious snacks; Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
1. Yogurt Parfait – Layer berries and Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal between plain Greek yogurt in a clear plastic cup
2. Ants on a Log – Spread natural peanut butter in the center of each celery stalk and sprinkle with raisins as “ants”.
3. Vegetable Palm Tree – Sugar snap peas as leaves, a string cheese base, and raisins as coconuts, all sitting in clementine “sand”
4. Fruit Kabobs and Dip – Alternate small pieces of fruit and berries on toothpicks; serve with a flavored Greek yogurt as a dip.
5. Mini Pizza – Top a toasted whole wheat English muffin with spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.
Kristina Thone, RD, LD