Healthy Back to School Snacks for Kids Slideshow
September 5, 2012
Nutritionist Trudy Scott recommends a boiled egg: "Boiled eggs are a great source of protein and good fats for growing brains. The choline in the yolk is so important for brain health and as a chemical messenger between nerve cells. Eggs also help to keep blood sugar levels stable for better energy and mood. Eggs are also a good source of tryptophan (the 'happy' amino acid) and the B vitamins (important for energy, stress, and the brain). I do recommend pastured or at least organic eggs, since quality food is a big part of eating well and staying healthy. The great thing is that eggs are a low-cost, high-quality protein source."
Nut Butter Sandwich
Certified nutritional coach Janet Zappala suggests nut butters as a healthy choice: "Spread nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, or hazelnut) on a slice of toasted whole-grain bread, and top with slices of banana. I haven't met a child yet who didn't eat this up! It provides an energy boost, and because of the whole grains will fill them up quickly. Grains help with their digestive tract and won't cause their blood sugar to soar."
Linda Allen, a registered dietician states, "An example of one healthy snack during or after school is a smoothie made with frozen blueberries (packed with antioxidants and brain food), a banana and Greek yogurt. Add sugar to taste. A spoonful of frozen orange juice concentrate adds a dose of vitamin C. To make it 'fun,' add a dollop of whipped cream on top."
Registered dietician Lauren Schmitt suggests trail mix as an after-school snack as it is full of antioxidants, unsaturated fats, and heart healthy. "Children love to give their input on foods they eat so have them design their own trail mix. Give them a little bowl and let them pick a type of cereal, dried fruit, and nuts, or seeds to create their personalized mix."
Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
According to Connie Holt, a registered dietician, "Seasonal fruit and vegetables always make for healthy snack before or after school. September is a wonderful month for finding flavorful cherry and grape tomatoes. There are also staple items like broccoli [florets,] carrot sticks, and celery sticks dipped in a low-fat dressing, or peanut butter and whole-grain crackers that make for good snacks." This snack is a great source of antioxidants, dietary fiber, and complex carbohydrates.
Low-Fat Greek Yogurt and Fruit
Jessica Fishman Levinson, who is a registered dietician, likes low-fat Greek yogurt and fruit. "The yogurt provides kids with calcium, which growing children need, and Greek yogurt is higher in protein than other yogurts. Fruit adds some sweetness and fiber. Plus, it's a great way to get a serving of fruit into the daily diet, which kids often miss."
Chef and author Debbie Johnson recommends cinnamon apples. "Cut organic apples in small, bite-sized pieces and shake in jar with fresh, organic cinnamon (keep in freezer for best freshness). The raw apples are rich in enzymes, natural sugars, and fiber. Cinnamon inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative. Just smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory. Cinnamon may also lower blood sugar."
Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Nutrition coach Traci Mitchell advises that baked sweet potato chips can be a fun and nutritious snack that can be easily prepared the night before school. "Thinly slice a peeled sweet potato, toss with a tablespoon of coconut oil, bake at 350 for about 25 minutes (or until brown), sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy. This is a cost-effective and easy way to get kids to eat healthier. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin B5, D, and magnesium, all of which are important to growing bodies!"
Fruit, Cheese, Vegetables, and Hummus
Registered dietician Shana Hussin likes "a small piece or fruit with string cheese or fresh vegetables along with two tablespoons of hummus spread. I like to pair a whole grain, fruit, or vegetable with a nutrient-dense protein."
PB & B Roll Ups
Jacqueline Gomes, a registered dietician recommends peanut butter and banana roll-ups as a fun and nutritious snack high in protein, potassium, and whole grains. "Bananas and peanut butter come together in this fun and delicious roll-up snack! This no-cook recipe is easy enough for your children to prepare on their own. Spread peanut butter on one side of whole-grain tortilla, place banana in center, roll up, and slice into pinwheels."
Karen J. Irvine, the owner of Culinary Communications LLC, recommends dried fruit. Some healthy choices include "dried cantaloupe, mango, pluots, blueberries, and cherries. They have lots of different shapes and colors! The bright orange and red fruits are heart healthy supplying beta carotene, anti-oxidants, and vitamins."
Probiotic Cheese Dip
Nutritionist Nicolette Pace enjoys probiotic cheese dip as a healthy choice. Pace says, "Add fresh chopped herbs like chives to reduced-fat cream cheese and combine an equal amount of low-fat, thick Greek yogurt to naturally enhance the cheese with healthy immune bugs serve with baby carrots or other cut up veggies like celery."