Kids are always on the go with club activities and lessons, athletics and other forms of recreation. To power up their energy and keep them healthy and happy, it's a must to provide them with quick snacks they can grab and go. Instead of convenience snacks loaded with fat and sodium and low on healthy nutrients, choose some delicious alternatives that fuel them with vitamins, minerals and plenty of great taste!
It's easy to make a yummy homemade salsa, with lycopene-rich tomatoes. Fruity salsa is a great snack served with pita chips, tortillas or crackers: Combine diced tomato with small chunks of cantaloupe and apples, and add in a squeeze of lime. The melon delivers vitamins A and C, and apples are full of beneficial fiber. For a spicier version, add a chopped jalapeno.
Use chunky salsa on cheese quesadillas, combining calcium-rich cheese with other great fillings like chopped veggies, black beans, leftover cooked chicken and corn for a burst of flavor. It's a snack kids will love that packs a big nutritional punch. Just fill tortillas with your favorite ingredients, zap in the microwave for about a minute and cut into slices. It's an easy, healthy, filling meal!
For a fast energy boost, whole-grain pasta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. Cook up a batch to keep in the refrigerator, and microwave a half-cup serving at snack time to mix with chopped tomato or jarred sauce, veggies and cooked chicken. It's a mini-meal that will keep kids going, and it's full of protein and fiber.
Dress up yogurt for your kids' afternoon snack! Whip up a parfait with berries and granola, or make fruity yogurt pops as cool and refreshing treats that are a healthier alternative to the packaged varieties. Offer a snack they can sip with a nutrient-packed smoothie made with nonfat vanilla yogurt, orange juice and fruit or berries. It's a yummy way to sneak several servings of fruit and fiber into a child's diet. And don't forget to dip it! Slices of fruit like apples, pears and peaches dunked in yogurt are quick to serve and are a sweet snack choice that's especially refreshing on warmer days.
This childhood favorite has plenty of protein and fiber. Serve it on toasted mini-waffles or rice cakes instead of bread, load it as a filling into stalks of celery or spread it on wheat crackers paired with fruit and veggie slices.
Cookies and milk are a snack time staple. Instead of buying high-fat, sugar-loaded store varieties, bake up a batch of oatmeal cookie bars and mix in raisins, cranberries, dried apricots, prunes or nuts to add to the nutritional value. Your kids will never guess that you're sneaking more fruits and vegetables into their diets if you bake them into muffins and breads. Banana bread, zucchini bread or muffins and carrot muffins are moist, sweet and satisfying snacks. Try using cooked yams in your muffin recipe: The sweet potatoes contain healthy beta-carotene and potassium, but your kids will only notice how good they taste!
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