Healthy Snacking for the Spring Stretch
After a very long winter, spring is finally upon us! With the end of the school year fast approaching, final assignments, tests and exams are on the horizon. With key study season in full swing, a side effect for students of all ages is often snacking. However, this does not have to be a bad thing!
For advice on how to get students eating right during this tricky time, we consulted nutrition expert, Miranda Malisani, guest presenter for The Marilyn Denis Show and in-store nutritionist at Pusateri’s Fine Foods.
In an interview with Miranda, she gives us recommendations on everything from how to start the day off right to healthy snacks to get through spring stretch. Here are her healthy tips:
Giving Good Energy
Your child expends a lot of energy throughout the day. Support these energy needs by packing nutrient-dense energy-giving snacks. I make nut-free energy bars for my 4-year-old with ingredients that offer omega-3 fats for his growing brain, antioxidants to support his immune system and bowel-moving fibre. It provides him with energy without the “crash” effect from refined and processed snack bars. I’m also a believer in giving good energy with positive sentiments. Send a small note in your younger child’s lunch with loving words to help him or her through their day.
Make one day a “Surprise Day” to try a new food
Many kids get stuck eating the same food everyday for their lunch. It becomes a comfortable and safe pattern. However, without a variety of nutrients, the body cannot function optimally. To encourage variety in the diet, make one day each week a special day for a surprise food.
Include Healthy Treats
I haven’t met a child who hasn’t begged for a treat in their lunch. But with the vast amount of treats with artificial ingredients, highly processed sugar and unhealthy fats, it’s hard to feel good about doing this. Finding healthy treats that offer some health benefits is essential for a happy and healthy kid. I am a fan of Deelish Treats, which disguises healthy foods in kid-loved treats; blue velvets, beanies, cupcakes, cookies and more!
Get Younger Kids Involved
Bring them to the grocery store to pick out the ingredients, and have them assist you in making their lunch. If you make it a fun experience they are much more likely to eat it at school. Not only does it give them the opportunity to communicate what they enjoy, but it also empowers them to be responsible for preparing food for themselves in the future.
I often feel a sense of relief when I get my 4-year-old to have a big nutritious breakfast before he heads off to school. Like most kids, he can get distracted and go way too long without fuel. The result is crankiness and the desire for excessive sweet treats. Sound familiar? Get your kids into the habit of having a good-sized breakfast before they leave the house – with protein, essential fats and whole grains. By beginning the day this way you are giving them the best foot forward for learning at school. Many studies have shown higher grades among children who eat a nutritious breakfast. Dinner leftovers for breakfast are an easy and healthy way to provide energy for a full day at school.
Invest In Healthy Lunch Containers
Look for stainless steel sandwich tins,BPA-free water bottles and reusable lunch sacks with built-in freezer packs. Keeping your kids lunch stored properly and at the right temperature is as important as packing healthy options.
Healthy Snack Ideas
Snack time can be the hardest for some when it comes to making nutrition decisions. Here are a few delicious snack ideas for families:
Deelish Treats: treats you can feel good about giving to your child
Vega Protein Smoothie: with 15 grams of protein, 2 servings of veggies and great flavour you can send a pack in older children’s lunch to add to a water or a non-dairy milk
Mary’s Crackers & Avocado: this gluten free cracker with essential fats combined with a nutrient-rich avocado is a healthy snack for busy kids on the go
Medjool Dates filled with a seed butter: Dates provide fibre and are loved by most kids for their sweet taste. Combine with seed butter to make a fast snack with a powerpunch of nutrients
Is your stomach growling yet? For more recommendations on healthy food ideas for kids, be sure to check out Miranda’s Polka Dot Plate Blog.
Joanne Sallay is a Director at Teachers on Call, a personalized home tutoring service with more than 25 years of experience. Teachers on Call’s Ontario Certified Teachers specialize in providing one-on-one instruction in all subjects and grades including French Immersion tutoring.For further information about Teachers on Call, please visit: www.teachersoncall.ca Like Teachers on Call on Facebook Follow Teachers on Call on Twitter