How often have you stood in front of your fridge/pantry/freezer waiting for a healthy snack idea to leap out at you. One that your kids will actually eat? When it doesn't you probably resort whatever you have on hand, healthy or not. In the list below, you'll find ideas to stock your freezer, pantry and fridge with so that you can quickly pull together snacks. Great for those days when you haven't had time to get to the supermarket and a big night out has left you a little bleary.
Need some nutritional guidelines when selecting snack foods for your children?
If you assume that your child gets about 40% of their daily recommended 2200 calories from the main meal of the day and that they get another 40% at breakfast and another 40% at lunch, this leaves only 40%, or 440 calories to be consumed as snacks. If your kids eat one snack at school and then another when they get home, then you should aim to provide a school snack of about:
* 220 calories (10% of the daily total).
* less than 7 g of fat (each gram of fat is 9 calories).
* 240 mg of sodium (although you can probably increase this if your child typically eats low sodium foods during the rest of the day).
* 5- 10 g of protein (a high protein snack is good mid-morning brain food).
* One teaspoon of sugar is about 5 g and that's about the maximum I feel comfortable with my kids having in a school snack.
So check the nutritional information on the package, noting the serving size.
Note: Use these values as general guidelines only, your children may have specific dietary needs that are best discussed with a health professional.
WHAT TO STOCK
In the refrigerator
Fruit & vegetables
Breadsticks - frozen or the refrigerated dough in a can
Tofu (for smoothies)
Dressing (watch the fat content)
In the pantry
Popcorn - choose low fat, low sodium varieties
Pretzels - watch the salt content
Low salt, low fat corn chips
Cereals - preferably high fiber, low sugar varieties
Small cans of fruit
Canned fish (long shot!)
Rice crackers or rice snacks
Power bars - but watch the sugar, many of the ones I checked in the
supermarket had over 20 g of sugar per bar, that's 4 teaspoons!
Honey (for smoothies)
Dips & dressings
Mini cheeses e.g. Babybels
In the freezer
Frozen fruits (for smoothies)
Packaged torellini or ravioli
Quick snack ideas
Now that your pantry is stocked, here are some ideas to throw together:
Trail mix - mix some cereal or popcorn, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and perhaps some choc bits for kid-appeal
Apple & cheese - slice both and stack in layers. Use a block cheese as the wrapped slices tend to go gooey
Apple & peanut butter - smear peanut butter over slices of apple
Celery & peanut butter - add raisins if popular
Pita crisps - grab the pita bread out of the freezer, cut off the edges with scissors so that it comes in two. Sprinkle with grated cheese (keep it in the freezer also), sprinkle with a seasoning mix (usually sold in glass jars in the dried herb section of the supermarket) and bang them in a hot oven for 10 minutes. Cut into pieces.
Dip or dressing with carrot or celery sticks
Layer yoghurt and canned or fresh fruit, then top with cereal as a quick parfait
Boiled eggs (save some of those small salt sachets from restaurants)