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Snacks: Healthy can be easy and convenient!

It’s back-to-school time – which means after-school (and in-the-car) snacks.

Busy parents also need snacks which are easy to make and grab for both the child and the parent.

Easy to make and grab doesn't have to be a bag of chips, however.

Consider these facts and myths about snacks:

Healthy Snacking Facts:

  1. The average person has 2.2 snacks a day and receives almost 25% of daily calories from snacks.
  2. Healthy, easy snacks can be a great way to increase the amount of complex grains, fruits and veggies we eat daily. (most of us don't eat enough!)
  3. Healthy snacks are nutrient-dense and keep your blood sugar and energy levels steady.

Healthy Snacking Myths:

  1. After-school snacks don’t have to be laden with sodium, sugar or calories.
  2. Easy-to-make (or grab) snacks don’t need to be heavily processed – or readily packaged.
  3. Healthy snacks don’t have to be hard to make.

Snacks may provide up to 25% of a child’s daily diet – so making them healthy is important.

Fun snacking strategies

With a small amount of preparation, and a dose of whimsy, you can make healthy snacking fun:

Create a drawer in your refrigerator with healthy snacks.

Easy-to- grab, easy-to-stock – snacks like small carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, raw broccoli or cauliflower. Not much prep time for you, and healthy and crunchy for your kids.

Provide fun serving ideas.

Inexpensive, fun containers encourage healthy snacks. Place raw vegetables and a small amount of dip in a snow-cone container. Small paper cups can hold just the right amount of raisins, grapes or cherry tomatoes. These are easy to hold and quick to make.

Eat the colors of the rainbow.

Many times, the brighter the color of a food, the more nutrients it contains. Challenge your kids to eat as many different colors of the rainbow as possible each day. Red for tomatoes, purple for grapes, green for celery – you get the idea. Challenge each other to find different colors in the grocery store as well.

Easy-to-make snack mix

No need to buy expensive, processed snack mixes. Combine ingredients to create quick, portable “trail mix” snacks you can serve on the go. Your mix can contain:

  • Dried fruits like banana chips, raisins, cranberries
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Sunflower seeds or nuts for protein

And, add in some fun: *

  • Cocoa or fruit-flavored cereal (many are also whole grain)
  • Little animal-shaped cheese crackers
  • Chocolate chips
  • Small marshmallows

*Try to keep these at 25% or less.

With a little planning, snacking can be convenient and healthy! And, remember – I believe sprinkles make everything better!”

Sprinkles make everything better!

Katrena Lacey, MD

Methodist Physicians Clinic Gretna

Dr. Lacey answers your questions about child development and parenting. Dr. Lacey is a specialist in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. She tells us," This specialty allows me to practice like a Family Medicine doctor and treat the whole family - but, I have that additional training in pediatrics and internal medicine." She feels she can make a big difference in the lives of children. She enjoys building relationships with people while helping them live the healthiest and happiest ...

Learn more about this expert

Categories: nutrition, health-notes,