Healthy Choices: Should Kids Have an After-School Snack Before Dinner?
Parents have often discouraged children, from having snacks before a major meal, such as lunch or dinner. But dietary experts argue that children benefit, much the same way as adults do, from smaller meals throughout the day, to sustain energy and alertness.
Since snacking is important and beneficial to children, the next concern is making sure that kids are reaching for the right kind of snacks, in between meals. Convenience and pre-packaged foods, while cost effective and easy to prepare, are not often the best choice, and can contain harmful ingredients and additives, that can lead to digestive inflammation.
How can parents organize a snack cupboard or refrigerator, to ensure that healthy snacks are accessible and just as easy to grab as convenience foods are? Healthy snacks can be easy to organize, with advanced preparation, and we’ve picked five of our favorite snack recipes that are nutritious and affordable for families.
1. Frozen yogurt grapes
Ideal for hot days, and provide fresh fruit, dairy and a cool hydrating benefit that children love, this treat is also perfect to fuel sport practices, or road trips. Remove the grapes from the stem, and freeze them for 3-4 hours.
Dunk the frozen grapes individually into yoghurt, and refreeze for one hour, for a delicious snack that grown-up’s will love too!
Source: Super Healthy Kids®
2. Layered Hummus Dip
Hummus is one of the most nutritious snacks, that stores easily in the refrigerator for 2-3 days after preparation. Keep a container of this delicious variation on hand, and use pita bread, or healthier options including carrot sticks or cucumber slices to enjoy.
- Boil 1 ¼ cups of water, and pour over tabbouleh in a bowl. Cover in plastic wrap for five minutes.
- Uncover the tabbouleh mixture, and add olive oil, cucumber, tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, and fresh parsley to taste.
- Fluff the mixture with a fork gently.
- Take a 13 x 9-inch dish, and spread the fresh hummus over the bottom evenly.
- Scatter 1 cup of feta cheese on top, and add remaining tabbouleh mixture above the feta.
- Garnish with feta, and chopped cucumber and tomatoes.
Source: Family Circle
3. Cranberry Oat Cereal Bars
Combine the following ingredients to create your own, homemade snack bar.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 bag (10 ounces) melted marshmallows
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 6 cups of Cheerios or another oat cereal
- 1 cup of dried cranberries or raisins
Mix thoroughly and press into a cookie or bar pan. Let cool one hour, and cut into bar size portions. Can be stored in a cool, dry place or container, for easy snacking.
Source: Martha Stewart
4. Big Apple Dippers
Make apple slices more interesting, by providing a high protein and dietary fiber dip, that is delicious! Simply slice apples into wedges (with the peel on) and mix peanut butter with sliced almonds, for a satisfying and healthy snack!
5. Banana Roll-Up
These are delicious and can also be made ahead of time, as snacks in the car, or for kids to enjoy after athletic practice. Simply take a whole grain tortilla, and spread un-sweetened peanut butter on one side. Peel and place a banana on the tortilla, tuck in the ends, and roll. Not only is it very satisfying as a snack, to fill big appetites, it is a low-mess snack that travels well, making it an idea choice for busy parents. Keep some ready to go, for dine and dash snacks.
Source: Active For Life
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