Although back-to-school is “old news,” there’s always the opportunity to capture kids’ attention with after school snacks and crunch-time breakfasts!
When we talk about children and healthy diets, seasonal foods are ideal. Apples, pears and dipping veggies satisfy on many levels. They can be local, fresh and healthful. There are also plenty of options, such as single-serve, ready-to-eat fruits and 100% juices that can provide little mouths with variety without the waste.
And don’t forget the add-on foods like crackers, pretzels and any snack option that has met the challenge to lower sodium, increase whole grains and keep calories to a reasonable level. Take to the aisle too with some quick meal ideas because fall activities are upon us. Here are some quick aisle ideas:
• Demo ideas for fruit and cheese kebobs (on straws) children can assemble themselves. A Greek yogurt dip adds additional protein and calcium.
• Stir fry seasonal veggies ready for the addition of meat (how about last night’s chicken?) or add tofu or other meatless alternatives.
• Feature ways to make oatmeal “glamorous” with add-ons like slivered almonds, mini chocolate chips, a peanut butter swirl, Greek yogurt, and of course fruit!. A home breakfast bar can be kid- or adult-driven!
• Showcase salads that incorporate greens topped with grilled salmon or chicken, slivers of meat and cheese, chili or other beans to add protein. Tomatoes are still plentiful and a retro stuffed tomato with tuna, shrimp, chicken or bean salad can make what is old seem new.
• Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are still in style with kids, although some schools have limitations on peanuts because of allergy concerns. If not in school then a peanut butter revival may be in order for after-school snacking with celery, apple slices or bananas, or with whole grain bread or crackers. Allergen-free sunflower seed butter may be the answer for school meals. To lower the calories a bit, suggest mixing peanut butter with unsweetened applesauce for easier spreading.