The ABCs of Healthy Back-to-School Snacks
G Is for Grain
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Whole grain snacks like pretzels, crackers and cereals give kids energy and, because they're complex carbohydrates, they have more staying power. According to the Mayo Clinic, grains are also proven to lower the risk of health problems like heart disease and diabetes. Try: EnviroKidz Organic Gluten-Free Lemur Peanut Butter Choco Bars or make your own energy bars.
I Is for Independence
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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests you take your child shopping with you. When kids pick their own healthy snack foods, they are more likely to eat them. Try: Having a drawer in your fridge or pantry with prepared vegetables and fruit, and allow them to pick and choose what they want for the day.
R Is for Raw
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Raw fruits and vegetables are always excellent. Pair with a protein, and you've got a snack that gives them vitamins, nutrients and protein all in one. Try: Apples and peanut butter, carrots and hummus, or strawberries and yogurt dip.
T Is for Time
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When you're in a hurry and don't have time to cut up raw fruit, the next best options are dried fruits or snacks made with a full serving of fruit. Try: Fruitzi'O Freeze Dried Fruit Snacks, Materne GoGo SqueeZ Applesauce on the Go, or real fruit strips.
V Is for Variety
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Jessica Bennett, a dietitian at Children's Hospital Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee, recommends a variety of different snacks so kids don't get bored. Try: Roasted soy nuts or chickpeas, beef jerky, mangoes, homemade banana muffins or trail mix.
P Is for Portion
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"Generally, snack portions should be less than 200 calories," Bennett said. "What we're seeing are snacks that are more like mini-meals. It's important that a snack is just that: a snack." Try: String cheese plus a piece of fruit, five Wheat Thins with 1 teaspoon of Nutella, or one and a half cups of air-popped popcorn and a tablespoon of sunflower seeds.
F Is for Fun
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Have fun with your child's snack. When they open their lunchbox and find a creative snack, it will make snack time more enjoyable. Try: Colorful fruit kabobs or "ants on a log" (most commonly known as celery with peanut butter and raisins). Use cookie cutters to cut shapes in cheese or make funny faces with fruits and vegetables.
H Is for Homemade
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Homemade baked treats are a win-win. You know exactly what goes into them, and they're an excellent way to add in fruits and vegetables without your kids knowing. Try: Banana or blueberry muffins, zucchini bread or baked vegetable chips (like carrots or turnips).