Sunday, April 26, 2009

Healthy Snacking for All Ages

AS seen on PBS' Creative Living

Healthy Snacking for All Ages
- Drop the potato chips! Mary Lee will share some healthy snack ideas that kids will love, and parents can feel good about serving – and enjoying themselves.
- From snacks to send to school or snacks to serve when all the neighborhood kids are at your house, Mary Lee will provide some quick, easy and delicious snack ideas (that are also good-for-you, too!).
- Parents often find themselves tempted to gnash on their kids’ snacks – and who can blame them? Convenience is always a factor. When you prepare healthy snacks for your kids, you will find that you, in turn, are snacking healthier.

Healthy Snacking for All Ages

Whether you are a mom, dad, nanny, grandparent, teacher, or other caregiver, you know that nurturing and nourishing children is one of the most important - and challenging! - roles you will ever experience.

Most kids are starving after a long day at school, so make sure you have something fast and easy for them to eat when they get home.
• Lunch was hours ago, and kids need to eat every few hours for best nutrition. And you can even sneak more vitamins into a delicious snack with easy recipes.
• Providing snacks for after school programs is a great opportunity to help kids practice healthy eating.
• Including a healthy snack between meals is a healthy way to keep hunger in check and stay energized throughout the day.

Did you know that most children, especially the younger children and active teens, need to eat every three to four hours to replenish energy stores and recharge their bodies?
• A between meal snack is often a necessary component of a school-age child's overall nutrition intake.
• Research shows that many kids are eating too many calorie-, sugar- and fat-rich snacks that provide little in the way of nutrients they need for health and growth.

An easy way to provide nutrient-rich snacks is to choose them from the food groups that provide the essential nutrients that are currently limited in most kids diets- CA, K, Mg, Vitamin E and fiber.
• Selecting snacks from the Fruit, Dairy and Whole Grain food groups will provide an abundance of healthy—and good tasting snacks to fuel your child’s growth.
• Today, I have sample snacks made from these food groups that not only taste good, but are simple to make and will sure to be a hit with your kids-and you.

And a word to adults about snacking
• To many of us, snacking seems like a questionable extra, rather than part of healthful eating. Good nutrition sense however, challenges the popular myth that people should not snack.
• In fact, it’s important to include those treats because research shows when people restrict or deprive themselves of foods they love they are more likely to over-indulge later on.
• Snacking may have weight control advantages
o Eaten between mealtimes, snacks help take the edge of hunger, avoiding overeating at meals.
o Smart snackers choose food and portions carefully to match their calorie target without going over. Treats can fit in if you keep sight of your overall diet.

Nutritious Snack Guidelines
Instead of reaching for food that is high in calories, primarily from sugar or fat, such as cookies, candies and sweet snacks use the Food Guide Pyramid to plan snacks, just as you do for meals.

• Choose whole-grain foods such as bagels, tortillas, English muffins, breads and cereals to provide energy, fiber and a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
Breakfast Raisin-Banana Tortilla Roll-up (though I must confess the whole peanut butter issue is putting a serious crimp on kids’ snacking)
Bumps on a Bagel

• Include fruits and vegetables for color, variety, crunch, taste and nutrition.
Variety of fresh fruit and variety of raisins

• Include foods with protein, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, tuna, poultry and meat products; they are necessary for growing children.
Cheddar Crunch: Mix ½ cup of Cheddar cheese shreds with popcorn and pretzels.
Milk and cookies: Our Growers Favorite Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

• Limit added fat and sugars as much as possible. Your after school snack doesn't have to be sweet, but if it is, you can still make it nutritious.
Caramel Apple Sundae

Three commandments of snacking for kids
1. Snacks should not take longer to make than to eat.
Salsa Roll-up: Roll Monterey Jack cheese in a whole wheat tortilla and dip in salsa.

2. Invention makes everything taste better. Even those dreaded good-for-you foods are a hit when cleverly disguised. It's one of life's snack mysteries: Putting food on a stick improves the flavor. Calling it a pizza anything is a sale.
Raisin Apple Mini-pizzas
Fresh Fruit Kabobs on straws

3. Never eat snacks with forks and knives. It's a proven fact that anything eaten with fingers tastes better.
Beyond Good Old Raisins and Peanuts

Start a new family tradition
The first day of school can mean a new outfit, fresh pencils and clean notebooks. And to mark the start of a new and special year of school beginning, celebrate with an after school treat or end of meal with a special, delicious dessert.
Applesauce Bread Pudding

Conclusion: Snacking has become a way of life for children. Nearly all children eat at least one snack per day, with many children eating two or three. After-school snacks high in sugar, fat and calories can contribute to dental cavities, obesity and spoil the child’s appetite for dinner.
• Include a wide variety of foods from the Fruit, Vegetable, Dairy and Grain Food Groups in your and your child’s snacks. Use delicious and nutritious snacks to build better nutrition and better bodies to contribute to overall nutrition well-being.