Summer typically means kids will be spending more time around the house. Idle time sometimes means kids will be poking around the kitchen in hopes of finding a quick and easy snack-often an unhealthy one.
To help keep kids healthy, be sure to keep the refrigerator and pantry stocked with nutritious snacks that kids will enjoy. Start with a wide range of choices from the milk, fruit, vegetable and grains food groups.
“Smart snacking is a great way to meet nutrient requirements that may be missed at mealtime,” said Andrea Garen, a registered dietitian at Dairy Council of California. “If chosen carefully, snacks can promote good health without adding too many calories.”
Garen adds that encouraging outside play, a refreshing dip in the pool and other physical activities are also part of the equation to keep kids healthy.
Some snacking tips that make a parent’s job easier:
• Plan ahead and buy healthy snacks when you grocery shop for the week.
• Pre-portion your child’s snacks into small plastic bags to grab on the go.
• Keep healthy snacks in a specific spot in your refrigerator or cupboard, and let kids help themselves.
• Combine snacks from two or more food groups, like raspberry yogurt, low-fat chocolate milk and a banana in a blender for a cool, refreshing treat.
The Dairy Council of California’s meal-planning Web site (www.mealsmatter.org) contains hundreds of free and easy-to-make, kid-friendly recipe ideas, including the Apple Bagel Sandwich. Parents can try this and hundreds of other great-tasting recipes and snack ideas to help their children stay healthy during summer.
Apple Bagel Sandwich
1/2 Whole-wheat bagel (or bagel of your choice)
1 Slice Cheddar cheese
1 Apple (green is better)
A dash of cinnamon
1. Slice the apple so that you make a round apple slice. Next, put the slice of cheese on top of the bagel half. Place the apple slice on top of the cheese and sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the apple.
2. Bake on a cookie sheet in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees, but watch to make sure you don’t burn it. It’s done when the cheese starts to melt.
Total Preparation Time: less than 15 minutes.