You can make whole grain English muffin pizzas as a small snack. All you need are some whole wheat or whole grain English muffins, jarred pizza sauce (choose a good brand with no added sugar or HFCS), and low-fat shredded cheese. Apply a bit of sauce to each muffin, and sprinkle with the cheese. Heat in the oven just until the cheese is melted. For your older elementary aged kids, just put the ingredients out and let them make them up themselves (hands on nutrition!).
Fruit is another snack we're all familiar with, but you can spice up the offerings by creating some fun dips for the fruit. It takes no time to mix together some plain low-fat yogurt, lemon juice and honey (use local; I swear by its efficacy at helping keep seasonal allergies at bay!). You can experiment with this dip and change it up by adding some cocoa instead of lemon juice; molasses and cinnamon instead of honey. You can use nut butters too as a dip. Don't forget toyou're your children help you--littler ones can wash the fruit the older ones can help cut it up (with adult supervision of course).
Trail mix is another great snack. Hot air popped popcorn, chopped dried fruit, unsalted nuts, and whole grain pretzels make up a great mix. You can even throw in a few semi-sweet chocolate chips. Trail mix will last for days, so you can make up a bunch and keep it in a big Rubbermaid container in your pantry (you might want to hide it, LOL).
Just remember, this is a SNACK not a meal. Keep portions down so come dinnertime, they're eating their meal not picking at it!
Leanne Ely, C.N.C.
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