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By: Wellness Committee Co-Chair Melanie Boon
With the start of the school year, many parents are looking for creative ideas for snacks that are appetizing, satisfying and healthy. Snacks are not meant to replace a meal but to provide relief from hunger until the next meal.
A “calorie-wise” snack is one that is considered to be just half the calories of a meal. Though just like a meal, a snack should be satiating and a combination of protein, healthy fat and complex carbohydrates. As an example, when eating a piece of fruit (which causes a rise in blood sugar), add protein to the mix, possibly a mozzarella cheese stick or a handful of nuts. This combination will result in a slower rise in blood sugar and a sustained energy level.
If you are craving something sweet like chocolate, the same principle applies. Add some nuts or seeds. When sweets are combined with these healthy fats, your body will utilize the sugar more efficiently, preventing that sudden rise and fall in blood sugar.
Mindful Snack Ideas
- Hummus with carrots or toasted whole grain pita bread
- Whole grain toast with nut butter
- Cheese stick wrapped in a slice of turkey or other deli meat
- Plain yogurt mixed with fresh fruit (as opposed to the highly sugared yogurt with premixed fruit)
- Peanut butter with dark chocolate and pretzels
- Whole grain waffle with ricotta cheese and fruit spread
- Chickpeas (try roasting them for a crunchy texture)
- Hardboiled egg with a touch of salsa or hot sauce
- Graham Cracker with chocolate hazelnut spread and sliced banana
- Rice cake with nut butter, shredded coconut and dried cherries
DIY Snack Mix
Many store bought cereal bars are high in sugar. Try making your own cereal bars or one of these snack mix recipes.
- Mix ½ cup dried fruit, 2 cups whole grain Rice Chex cereal, ½ cup roasted pistachios and 3 cups whole grain cereal mix.
- Mix 1 ½ cup Honey Nut Shredded Cereal, 1 cup dried apricots, 3 cups Triscuit Whole Wheat Thin Crisps, ½ cup roasted almonds.
- Mix 2 cups Whole Grain Cheddar Gold Fish, 2 cups pretzels, 1 cup dried apple or mango, ½ cup peanuts
- 2 cups of animal crackers (or Whole Grain Teddy Grahams), ¾ cup dried blueberries, ¾ cup pecans and 2 cups of air popped popcorn
*For nut allergies consider sunflower and pumpkin seeds as an alternative.