It’s common for kids to come home from school starving and craving a snack.
Nutritionists say snacking is actually a good thing as long as the snacks are healthy. Cookies, chips and other traditional snack foods are full of empty calories and lack nutrition. Even crackers are not the best option says Holly Doan, a nutritionist for Giant Foods.
“Some of our crackers and some of our snack foods have hydrogenated oils or trans fats that are really bad for your heart,” Doan said.
So what can the kids munch on in between meals that is healthy, satisfying and won’t spoil their dinner? Doan says snacks should be a combination of a carbohydrate and a protein, like easy to make energy bites.
“The base is peanut butter and oatmeal. You can add dark chocolate chips and some honey to add a little sweetness,” Doan said.
Rice cake bites, popcorn, peanut butter-to-go, nuts and toast with healthy toppings are also all good options to settle that snack attack.
Doan also recommends labelling a bowl and filling it with snacks so the kids know exactly what to reach for when hunger strikes. Doan reminds parents that snacking prevents us from over-eating at meal time and keeps our metabolism going.
Peanut Butter Energy Bites:
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup honey (or agave)
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup flax seed meal, sunflower seeds, or chia seeds
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove from the fridge, use a small cookie scoop to create uniform portions and roll into balls. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.