The Midwest Dairy Council is a division of the Midwest Dairy Association, aimed specifically at nutrition research and education. This month Alex Larson, a registered dietitian and member of the council, shares some of her tips for nutritious and health-conscious snacking for kids.
1. Seek out snacks that combine two or more food groups. For example, look for an option that will include protein and fruit, or protein and carbohydrates (cottage cheese with fruit, a fruit smoothie or even a bowl of milk and cereal). This provides a more balanced snack and keeps kids fuller longer.
2. Have some leftover breakfast or dinner in the fridge? Repurpose portions of your leftovers into a ready-to-eat, protein-rich snack.
3. Have a snack “grab bowl.” Fill it with any nutritious snacks you choose (fruit, cheese, yogurt, pretzels) and tell your kids they can pick two items for a snack after school. This gives them some choice, but also allows you to decide what snacks are options, as well as the portion sizes.
4. Plan your snacks ahead of time or have things on hand. Snacks are more likely to be unhealthy if they’re rushed.
5. Make snacktime fun! Letting your kids help make their snack can make it more appealing. Invite them to help prepare fruit and cheese kabobs, or make mini pita pizzas with ingredients of your choosing.
Larson’s favorite snack recommendation? Air-popped popcorn with a bit of melted butter, Parmesan and a sprinkle of garlic powder.