Concentrating on reading, writing and ‘rithmatic combined with social studies, recess and gym class requires a lot of energy. It’s not surprising that students come home from school and go straight to the kitchen looking for something to eat. According to a 2010 Health Affairs study, snacks are now more than a quarter of children’s daily calories.
With this in mind, it’s important to choose nutritious and delicious snacks that supply a boost for kids heading out for sports practice or preparing to tackle homework assignments. Parents welcome easy, ready-to-go foods that children will enjoy and can be munched on at home and on the go.
Nielsen-Massey Vanillas offer vanilla-infused snacks for any hungry, on the go student. Vanilla is a great addition to nutritious snacks because it adds an appealing flavor to healthy foods that kids might not agree to. Some kid-friendly ideas include:
· Combine Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste with honey for a tasty, sweet spread to top whole grain bagels and toast
· Sprinkle a teaspoon of vanilla infused sugar on fresh berries or cereal
· Blend a banana, peeled and sliced, ½ cup sliced fruit, 4 oz yogurt, ¾ cup orange juice, and 2 teaspoons of Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract to create a fruit smoothie
· Add flavorful texture to yogurt, top with 2 tablespoons of crunchy Gourmet Blueberry Vanilla Granola (recipe below)
“Ideal after school snacks are tasty yet high in nutrition and protein,” says Beth Nielsen, chief culinary officer of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. “Granola is perfect to munch on by the handful and sprinkled over any flavor of low-fat yogurt. It gives a crunch and is a great source of calcium for growing bones. Studies show that protein-rich foods during the afternoon promote alertness later in the day, which is beneficial for sports or homework (and parent’s meetings).”
An afternoon snack provides an important boost of energy between lunch and dinner for kids of all ages and will help them make the grade.
Gourmet Blueberry Vanilla Granola
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or nuts of choice
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup gourmet blueberry syrup
1 tablespoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried dates
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the oats, wheat germ, coconut and pecans in a large bowl and toss to combine. Whisk the brown sugar, canola oil, maple syrup, blueberry syrup, vanilla paste, cinnamon and salt in a separate bowl. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Pour the hot granola onto a large baking sheet and let stand until cool. Stir in the cranberries, dates and raisins. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Makes about 10 cups