[Back to School Series] Snacks
Back to School Basics: Snacks
Snacks, snacks, snacks! It’s alllll about the snacks! Kids are constantly bombarded with the idea of snacking - snack foods, snack time, and junk food hiding in plain sight. Active Family Wellness is here to suggest the whole food approach to snacking at home and on the go!
It’s that time of year! No need to stress over the task of what to pack in your kids’ lunches- we are here to the rescue! I have made a small series of videos to give you the low-down on some basics for fueling your kids (the right way!) during the school year. In this post we dive into the wonderful world of snacks.
Let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way- just because something is labeled “snack-sized” or “fun-sized” does not make it better or healthy! If it’s junk food- it’s JUNK, no matter what size it is! Always remember- keep it simple, keep it whole. There are plenty of options to make fruits and vegetables fun.
For something quick and easy for lunch boxes, dehydrated fruits and veggies are the way to go. Not to undermine raw fruits, but sometimes dehydrated is just easier (especially for car rides or trips to the zoo). Our favorites are dried figs, apricots, and prunes. Raisins of course! Check ingredient labels for added sugars.
For fresh fruits and veggies - Costco is always a favorite for organic options. ALDI’s also has a varied selection of dehydrated fruits and vegetables. One of my personal favorite snacks is plantain chips from Trader Joe’s- I’ll admit, I can put away almost an entire bag just on the drive home!
Something I really enjoy making for the kids is our own jams and jellies. It’s as simple as grabbing whatever fruits you like- apricots, berries- and simmering them on a pan/skillet until they essentially become mush (like apple sauce). The best thing about this is you don’t have to add anything to it because the sugars in the fruit add enough sweetness. We use jams in our overnight oats sometimes, as a topping, or spread it on rice cakes or GF toast.
When it comes to nuts, you’re safe grabbing almonds, pecans, and walnuts (high in Omega 3s). We tend to stay away from peanuts because they are full of Omega-6s, which are inflammatory. Sunflower seeds are also a good choice. Our kids love to dip vegetables into almond butter or sunbutter (ground sunflower seeds). This is another great way to give them some protein to keep them full and ready to play!
Are you on the go, and really just want something to pick up at the store, pre-made bars are a good option. Our favorite brands are Larabar (date/nut based), Clif bar (oat/nut based), KIND bars, RXbar (egg/nut based). Things to be aware of: often, granola-type bars will be high in carbohydrates and coated with various syrups (sugar) to hold them together. Avoid high fructose syrup and other forms of glucose. Balance the carbohydrate load with protein and fat content.
Remember- make it fun for the kids. Try a new, seasonal fruit. Summertime is a great time to explore different melons, cherries and exotic fruits. Try a new variety of apple this fall! We keep frozen fruits in the freezer year-round to give us a tropical treat. Pack frozen mangoes and strawberries or cherries together for a refreshing snack while out and about! Costco keeps our freezer full of go-to staples like these in our house.
Our Top 5 snack foods:
Fruits - Fresh: banana, apples, berries. Try something new like persimmon! Frozen: mangoes, cherries, berries (beware - may stain!). Dip in almond or sunflower seed butter for healthy fats and protein! Sprinkle with sea salt and cacao nibs for a crunch!
Trail Mix - Make your own using raw nuts, seeds & dried fruits! Our favorite combo: almonds, apricots, sunflower seeds, cacao nibs.
Rice Cakes - love some crunchy, but not the oily potato chip? Try spreading some nut butters or simple jam on a rice cake!
Bars - Larabar, Clif Bar, RXbar, KIND bars
Ants on a Log (Celery, sunbutter, raisins) or Veggies & hummus