Extension Review

Extension Review by Virginia Delvaux Snacking, once thought to be bad for you can be a positive source of nutrition, if the snacks consumed provide nutrients and are low in calories.

Nutritious after-school snacks can be a problem for working parents if planning is not part of the family meal planning process. Older children are often left unsupervised for short periods of time until a parent returns home from work. To help insure that your child is eating healthy snacks and not ones low in nutritional value or high in calories, keep theses food items stocked in your food pantry or refrigerator for the children to snack on when they get home after school. Unsweetened fruit juices, apples, pears and melons are good choices, as are other seasonal fruits such as cherries, bananas, berries and prunes. Most fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and are low in calories.

Carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower and celery are great snack foods from the vegetable group. Offer these raw with or without dip. All of these vegetables can be cleaned ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until snack time.

Crackers vary a lot, so be sure you read the label and select ones that are low in sugar and salt. Try plain popcorn or nuts for older children who will not choke on them. Whole grain or enriched breads are also an excellent choice from the bread group.

Food choices from the milk group might include milk, cottage cheese, or yogurt. Foods high in protein also make for a good choice; so try hard-boiled eggs or peanut butter.

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