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Healthy Back to School Snacks

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Back to school is next month which triggers the annual blinding white light phenomenon known as, ‘sun reflecting off teeth of happy parents across Canada.’  

It’s been a long and great summer, hence from a student’s point of view, all good things, tragically, must come to an end.  

You want confirmation that your parents are actually celebrating this event?

Their smiles, I’ve been told, can be seen from space.  

So ready or not, it’s time to start planning for school supplies, your wardrobe, and how to give yourself the best opportunity to stay healthy, have more energy and keep your mind sharp.  

You can give yourself an advantage by eating healthy meals at home, along with healthy snacks when you are at school.

When it comes to healthy eating, it may be a challenge to select the types of snack foods to include in your children’s lunch or for an after school snack.  

The same applies to college students free of immediate parental scrutiny who may be tempted to live on coffee and cheeseburgers.

Desiree Nielsen is a registered dietitian, speaker and author of a book on anti-inflammatory nutrition called, Un-Junk Your Diet.  

The book offers smart choices on how to shop, cook and eat to fight inflammation and feel better forever.  

Read on as the mother of two shares her back to school healthy snacks advice.

“Snack time is the perfect opportunity to sneak more fruits and vegetables into a child’s day,” Nielsen says.  She continues: “Kids need all the nutrition they can get, so sweet and starchy snacks like store-bought cookies and baked goods aren’t a great option for everyday. Many of the ‘healthy’ fruit snacks marketed to kids – and parents – are little more than fruit syrup candy or hyper-refined vegetable powders made into crunchy snacks.”

On her website she suggests parents should include more vegetables as a snack food.

“For some reason, most of us don’t think about eating vegetables as snack foods,” Nielsen said, adding, “Some of us munch raw veggies with dip – but what about really going for it (by) making snacks (with) veggies as the intentional star of the show?”

With a growing family of her own, Nielsen believes inclusiveness is effective.  

Her children prepare healthy snacks in the kitchen and achieve satisfaction for their independence, plus the knowledge gained on how to prepare healthy choice snacks is likely to stick forever.  

Nielsen advises for growing children, to pair up produce with some healthy fat and protein for extra energy. “It could be simple as sliced peppers dipped in hummus or apple slices sandwiched with unsweetened nut butter. Get kids involved in their choices: prep 1-2 special dips for the week; my family also loves making smoothie popsicles – they feel like a treat but they are packed with goodness! If appetites are larger, you could serve a half or full sandwich on sprouted grain bread or even packets of unsweetened instant oatmeal loaded with fruit and nut butter.”

Nielsen’s popular healthy snack food choices are listed below:

“My kids love homemade banana bread muffins, packed with whole grain and nut flours.

We make mini versions to accompany seasonal fruit.

Sliced apple or pear and nut butter is a popular snack, as is banana sushi – spread a whole grain tortilla with nut butter and then roll around a banana, slicing into sushi style rings.

“Trail mixes are great because your kids can customize which fruits, nuts and seeds they like the best. Yogurt swirled with seasonal fruit and cinnamon is another easy pick.  I add hemp seeds, nut butters and sometimes cocoa powder for a healthy chocolate (smoothie) treat.”

If you’re searching for the perfect recipe for you’re school aged children, just add a pinch of diligent studying, a dose of early to bed, and wait until June for best results.

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