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Tackling After School Snack Attacks With Healthier Options

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It’s a common scene that plays out daily. Your child arrives home from school and heads straight for the kitchen in search of something to eat. Snacks account for 20-25 percent of a child’s diet. After a full day at school and lunch many hours prior, kids need the energy boost before starting on homework and other activities. For a healthy weight, think of a snack as a great way to stave off raging hunger for large doses of food at dinner. Try to always sit down at the table to eat, and turn off the distractions of TV, computer and cell phones.

Snacks can be healthy and balanced which means they include a combo of some carbs and protein or carbs and healthy fat. Think of snacks as mini-meals that can help fill in the gaps as part of a healthy diet (they are great opportunities to add in more fiber, healthy fat, calcium, and protein). Each snack should have a beginning and an end and about 200 calories. And before you grab a second helping, stop and drink some water.

You can help keep your kids healthy and energized by stocking up on healthy, satisfying and easy-to-prepare at home and on-the-go after-school snacks that are sure to please by Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian, Elana Paddock, RD, LD, CDE:

  • Yogurt sundaes: layer low-fat vanilla yogurt with berries and Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal

  • Veggie dippers: baby carrots or carrot chips, celery sticks, cucumber coins, colorful bell pepper slices, grape or cherry tomatoes plus your dip of choice—low-fat ranch dressing, hummus, salsa, peanut butter, Wholly Guacamole (100 calorie snack pack) or a low fat cheese wedge such as Laughing Cow

  • Crunchy trail mix: mix 1 cup Fiber One Honey Clusters cereal and 1 cup Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch cereal, ½ cup honey-roasted peanuts and ¼ cup raisins (yellow or purple). 1 serving = ½ cup. Get creative with other high fiber kid-friendly cereals (Kashi Mighty Bites, Cascadian Farms Clifford Crunch, Cheerios), any nuts and dried fruits.

  • Fruit smoothies: blend ½ cup of your favorite fruit (berries, peaches, mangoes, bananas) with 6 ounces low-fat yogurt, and ¼ cup fat-free milk.

  • Wholewheat pretzels with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (dip or spread peanut butter on pretzels)

  • Wholewheat crackers such as Triscuits and a reduced-fat mozzarella cheese stick

  • Mini bag of lite popcorn

  • Apple slices and a Laughing Cow cheese wedge

  • Clementine orange with a mini Babybel cheese round

  • Hummus (2-3 tablespoons) and ½ whole wheat pita bread pocket

  • Roll-ups: One small multigrain tortilla with 1 tablespoon light cream cheese and 1 ounce deli turkey breast or lean ham

  • Fiber bars: Kashi TLC Chewy bar, Clif Kid Z bar, Fiber One bar, All Bran bar

  • Any fruit and a small handful of nuts

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, click here or call 972.560.2655.