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Wednesday, August 19, 2015
It’s that time of the year again! Whether or not you’re happy about school starting and summer ending, it’s a good thing to be prepared – especially to provide that popular treat known as the afterschool snack!
With more than a few hours between school lunch and coming home afterschool, kids are usually very hungry, but you don’t want them to eat so much that they aren’t hungry for dinner, and you don’t want them to grab junk food which can be so handy.
A good rule of thumb for healthy snacks is to combine a carbohydrate – like a grain, fruit, or vegetable –with a protein – like lean meat (chicken, turkey), beans, cheese, or nuts/nut butter. The carbohydrates will restore your student’s energy, since carbohydrates are an efficient energy source for our minds and bodies, and the protein will make their bellies feel satisfied and will keep hunger away longer because the protein takes longer to digest. Therefore, they get a quick but satisfying snack that won’t have them opening the refrigerator over and over again.
Here are some examples of this healthy snack combination that can be made ahead of time or that are easy enough for students to make themselves:
- Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread
- Turkey or ham lunch meat sandwich with lettuce on whole wheat bread or on a tortilla
- Carrot sticks or bell pepper slices with ranch cream cheese dip
- Trail mix made with cereal and nuts
- Bean dip with tortilla chips or veggie sticks for dipping
- Yogurt parfait (yogurt with fruit and granola or cereal)
- Cheese and ham roll-ups (roll cheese slices & lunch meat slices together)
- …the possibilities are endless!
Incorporating healthy snacks into your student’s daily routine, and getting them involved with making them, are great ways to set the foundation for your child’s lifelong health and wellness.
For more snack ideas, try browsing the USDA's "What's Cooking?" online recipe collection.
Wishing you the best of health,
Illinois Nutrition Education Programs (INEP)