As a Holistic Nutritional Consultant and Mom, snacks are a part of my everyday life. I have three active school-aged kids that are ALWAYS hungry-and asking them to wait until the next meal to eat is pure torture (for them AND me).
Snacks are a must but I don’t want them filling up on junk that is doing nothing for their growing bodies. There is a time and place for treats but snacks are the ultimate opportunity to get extra goodness into your kids. Good food doesn’t have to be simply vegetables at dinner; use snacks as a way to get more protein, healthy carbs, fats, and vitamins into your kids. It’s also a great way to get extra protein yourself (Yes, YOU. Did you forget about you?).
Kids need protein and should be eating it every chance they get. My favourite way is nuts and nut butter but if you have an allergy, use soy butter or sunflower butter as an alternative with apple slices or banana for a quick and easy snack. Also greek yogurt sweetened with a little honey is a great and creamy way to get some extra protein.
Carbs are not a bad word-we just need to be sure we’re eating the right kinds. I always recommend whole grains. That means oatmeal, whole grain breads and crackers, foods made with sweet potato or brown rice. Try veggies and hummus for the perfect combination of protein and complex carbs.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) are incredibly important for our kid’s growing brains and bodies. Fish is an excellent source, but when we’re discussing snacks, I like to look towards nuts and seeds. Hemp hearts are my favourite because they have a really mild flavour and can be mixed into yogurt, cereal, or sprinkled on avocado toast, salads and put into smoothies. Flaxseed and chia seeds are excellent as well.
We all need a multitude of vitamins to stay healthy and ward off colds, disease, and generally feel well. Fruits are a natural place to find vitamin C and are the perfect snack! Already pre packaged, pre portioned and ready to eat-fruit is the ultimate snack. Go for oranges, apples, bananas, or even a handful of berries, or pineapple. Just remember, juice doesn’t count! The fibre in the actual fruit will benefit you far more than just the juice alone (not to mention will keep you fuller, longer).
5-Ingredient Energy Ball Recipe (School Safe)
Combine protein, whole grain carbs, and healthy fats-and you’ve got the ultimate Energy Ball! A couple of these with a piece of fruit and your kids will have focus and energy all afternoon.
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup hemp hearts + more for rolling
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 cup sunflower butter
In a large bowl, add all ingredients and stir until well combined.
Using your hands, roll into tablespoon sized balls. Roll in hemp hearts.
Place in a sealed container in the fridge and enjoy 2-3 at a time.
Mix it up: Add a handful of dried fruit or chocolate chips to make these irresistible!
Seanna Thomas is a Holistic Nutritional Consultant, Mom of three, and military wife. She
works as a Nutrition Coach, freelance writer, food educator for Moms and families, speaker, and media personality. She is a regular contributor to the Yummy Mummy Club,
Triathlon Magazine Canada, as well as multiple other publications. Although Seanna is educated in all aspects of nutrition, she focuses on realistic clean eating with a spotlight on healthy family habits. She is known online as the Nutritionnaire and can also be found on twitter, facebook, and instagram. In her downtime, she enjoys being outdoors with her family and relaxing at home with her husband and a well-deserved glass of wine.
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