Now that the school year is started up again, the kids aren’t the only ones with new challenges and opportunities. Why not use the beginning of the school year as the perfect opportunity to take a look at your family’s eating habits and make sure the kids are making healthy, nutritious choices. A good place to start is with after school snacks.
The best way to ensure the family is making good choices is to make sure the choices are available, and easy for them! For example, a great idea is to keep plenty of fresh veggies and fruit all washed, cut and ready to grab in the refrigerator. It’s much easier for the kids to grab some cut celery, cherry tomatoes, washed strawberries, carrot sticks, etc. when they are easily visible and ready to go. Make sure you have some gallon sized zip lock bags or clear plastic containers and strategically position the bags or containers of veggies and fruits on shelves at kids’ eye level.
Most kids like to “dip” so choose some good dipping foods for the fruits and veggies as well. A couple healthy choices are hummus, yogurts, peanut butter or almond butter. Be careful to limit serving size on the nut butters, even though they are healthy they can significantly add to fat and calorie intake. Remember, having the kitchen stocked with healthy choices help your kids develop healthy tastes.
Of course, sometimes the kids are going to prefer a hot snack. That is great but make sure those microwave snacks are good choices. Be careful though – unfortunately, there are plenty of unhealthy microwave foods in the freezer aisle of the supermarket. Make sure to take a moment to view the nutritional value of items before throwing them in your cart. Calories, fat, carbohydrates and sugars shouldn’t be too high and aiming for good protein value in snacks will allow the kids to get a real boost of energy, mentally and physically, rather than a false “sugar high” or the sluggishness excessive carbs and fats can bring on. There are healthy choices out there in prepackaged foods, but be aware and a smart consumer!
Providing good options for your children is part of smart parenting. Get YOUR school year off to a good start with healthy snacks for the kids!