BOSTON (WHDH) - Heading back to school means students need the right food to fuel their learning.
Mom Leah Devereaux said it can be a challenge to come up with healthy ideas.
“It’s not always easy,” Devereaux said.
Devereux said that once the school year starts, the days can be unpredictable for her and her kids.
“Some mornings they don’t have a great breakfast, maybe because they’re anxious, so then it’s like they really need to have a good snack, it’s important,” she said.
One local expert shared his easy recipe for healthy snacks with 7NEWS.
“I always recommend parents serve kids a carb with each snack they eat so we talk about balance trying to include a protein with the carb, like cheese with crackers or nuts with fruits,” said Marc O’Meara, dietitian from Brigham and Women’s Hospital
O’Meara said one good option to keep your student energized is a snack mix.
“That could be homemade with whatever dried fruits the child likes, if they can’t have nuts they can easily use seeds like pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds they enjoy,” O’Meara said.
O’Meara pointed out children often need more calories than parents think.
“I think they should be bringing snack every day they need those extra calories and things that happen if they don’t get it in is excess hunger, probably brain doesn’t work as well during the school day,” O’Meara says.
Devereaux said she sees the difference a well-rounded diet makes and said packing healthy snacks should be a priority when her kids head back to class.
“I know if they’re eating a bunch of sugar they’re going to be wired, and their poor teacher has all these kids to deal with, so we want to offer them a snack that will nourish their bodies,” Devereaux said.
Our expert said snacks for elementary and high school students can be similar with one important difference. Teens really need to get more calcium to strengthen their growing bones.
Here are some healthy snack recipes from dietitian Marc O’Meara:
Ants on a Log – Celery sticks with Sunbutter spread inside and topped with raisins.
Apple Quesadillas Melt – some oil or trans-fat free margarine in a skillet, then lay a corn tortilla in the pan and top with grated low fat cheddar and thinly sliced apple on one side. Fold the tortilla in half and cook until golden on both sides. Cut into wedges.
Artichoke-Pesto Bites – Mix 1/2 cup each low fat ricotta, chopped artichoke hearts and pesto with 1/4 cup grated parmesan, and salt and pepper. Spread on focaccia and top with low fat mozzarella. Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Bean Roll-Ups – Spread bean dip on a small corn tortilla, top with shredded low fat cheddar and roll up. Brush with vegetable oil and bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Serve with salsa.
Better Brownies – Prepare your favorite brownie batter, adding 1 cup shredded zucchini (squeezed dry); divide among greased mini-muffin cups and bake 15 to 18 minutes at 350F.
Black Bean Hummus – Puree a 15-ounce can drained black beans with 1 garlic clove, 2 tablespoons each lemon juice and tahini, and 1 teaspoon cumin; add water if needed. Season with salt. Serve with crackers or vegetables.
Cottage by the Cheese – ½ cup fat free cottage cheese mixed with finely chopped ring of red onion, ½ stalk celery and 2 baby carrots and served on 5 Ak Mak crackers
Deli turkey slices with a corn tortilla wrap
Edamame (steamed and chilled)
English muffin pizza – Toast one half whole grain English muffin and then top with 2 TBSP of a jarred pizza sauce and 3 TBSP low fat mozzarella cheese (add veggies if preferred) and return to toaster oven for a few minutes to melt cheese
Fresh fruit with a low fat string cheese or Laughing Cow Light cheese wedge
Fruit Smoothie Puree – 1 cup vanilla Greek nonfat yogurt, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 frozen banana and 1/4 cup ice in a blender until smooth.
Greek yogurt with fruit
Ham Pinwheels – Spread scallion cream cheese on a sun-dried-tomato tortilla and top with thinly sliced ham. Roll up the tortilla and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Hard-boiled egg with a slice of toast
Lifeway Kefir Smoothie
Low fat cheese with whole grain crackers
Low Fat Cottage cheese with pineapple
Nuts or nut butters are proteins and can be paired with fruit, crackers or breads to form a balanced snack (if nuts are allowed in your school). Sunflower or pumpkin seeds could replace the nuts.
Salsamole Mix – 1/2 cup salsa, 2 smashed avocados, 2 tablespoons each lime juice and chopped cilantro, and salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.
Tortellini Kebabs – Toss cooked spinach tortellini, grape tomatoes and mini mozzarella balls with pesto, olive oil, salt and pepper. Thread onto skewers.
White Bean Hummus – Make Black Bean Hummus (above), but substitute white beans for the black beans and add 1/2 cup chopped scallions. Serve with pita or breadsticks.
Yogurtwiches – Place a scoop of 0% fat vanilla Greek yogurt between graham cracker squares. Roll the edges in chocolate chips. Freeze until firm.
Parts of this handout were adapted from The Food Network.
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