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08/11/14

Snack pact: Why parents have to be conscious of after school snacking

Turn on the television and take notice of the commercials that tout the importance of after school snacking.
Most of what you see centers on snacking that involves unhealthy fare, such as chicken nuggets, pizza rolls and other deep fried foods. The combination of the food tasting good and looking overly appealing to kids in how it is presented makes it tough for kids to ignore.
As for moms and dads, the microwave snacks reek of convenience, even though parents probably know in the back of their minds that these choices aren't exactly the best as far as health, wellness and nutrition goes.
Parents must search for the proverbial happy medium when it comes finding after school snacks kids want to eat but also aren't filled with poor ingredients, fat, sugar and enough sodium in one bite to last for an entire day.
So what snacks can parents prepare that kids will actually eat?

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The easy answer is fruit, but instead of serving a canned fruit cocktail arrangement, parents should dress up their fruit salad with fresh apples, blueberries, peaches and pineapple, and top that delicious melange of natural sugar with some whip cream for a little treat that might have kids forgetting about cookies and chocolate after school.
And old favorite that takes vegetables and sweetness and melds it into one is the famous ants on a log, better known as celery sticks smeared with peanut butter and topped with raisins. Kids can't get enough of these and even though peanut butter is filled with fat, it's the kind that is deemed "healthy."
Kids might start seeing through these healthy treats at some point, so they'll begin to gravitate toward potato chips and other snacks that are salty and superb in their eyes. One idea that allows kids to think they're enjoying chips but masquerade as a healthier alternative are kale chips, which gives children much needed fiber, greens and anti oxidants but in the form of a baked chip. Not only are these chips healthy but they're not deep fried or covered in oil. A little cooking spray on a cookie sheet, coupled with salt and pepper seasoning, and kids are suddenly clamoring for more, putting smiles on faces of not only the kids but parents, too.
You probably won't be seeing any commercials for peanut butter, celery and kale but that doesn't mean they can't be an integral, pertinent part of what happens after school.

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