Commit 2 Be Fit: After-school tips and snacks

Niki Strealy, RDN, LD, a dietitian with Providence Health & Services shares these tips for after-school snacking:

Involve your kids in the process. Have them go to the store or farmer's market with you to choose a new fruit or vegetable they have never tried before

Keep healthy snacks within reach and available

Allow kids to help decide portion sizes

Encourage them to eat the "colors of the rainbow" in fruits and vegetables

How long until dinner? If dinner is 1 hour away, fruits and veggies alone are fine. If evening meal will not be served for {>}2 hrs, combine fruits and veggies with a protein food such as dairy or nuts to prevent a blood sugar crash

Keep portion size age appropriate. Toddlers, ~100 calories per snack, teenagers 200-300 calories

Limit liquid calories. Encourage kids to drink water or milk over soda or sports drinks

If your child is involved in active sports, he/she may need a larger but easily digestible snack

Either prep veggies ahead of time (easier to grab and go) or purchase already cut up (i.e. baby carrots, broccoli florets)

Leave cut-up veggies in a bowl on the counter-- kids will walk by and snack on them

Read the label. If choosing prepared snack foods and bars, look for foods lower in sugar and sodium, with at least some protein.

You don't have to be fancy ("ants on a log", celery with PB and raisin "ants")

Snack Ideas:

Slice up veggies, such as: cucumbers, peppers, jicama, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or pea pods, paired with ranch dip, hummus, or plain greek yogurt

Fruit, such as: grapes (frozen!), bananas, watermelon, peaches, pears, apples

Trail mix: dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and possibly a simple cereal like Cheerios

Apples and peanut butter or celery and nut butter

Plain Greek yogurt mixed with fruit

Hummus and whole grain pita

Lowfat yogurt mixed with low-fat granola

Cheese and whole grain crackers

Hard-boiled egg

8oz low fat milk

Cereal with low fat milk

String cheese & fruit

Yogurt smoothie, made with veggies and fruit

Protein, cereal or granola bar- read label! Goal is 3-7 grams protein, at least 2-3 grams fiber, and contains whole foods such as nuts, raisins, oats, etc.

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