The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

August 28, 2013

After-school snacking 101

Beth Freehill
The Clinton Herald

---- — Are you ready for the new school year? Start it off right with after-school snacks that are convenient and wholesome. Snacks should be tasty yet nutritious for kids, and simple for parents.

• Use NuVal as a guide:

A tool to help busy parents make healthy snack choices in a snap is the NuVal scoring system. It’s simple — the higher the number, the better the nutrition. The goal is to make it easy for parents to choose convenient, good-for-you snacks with a quick glance at the NuVal score on the shelf tag. Use the NuVal scores to “trade up” for health, one snack at a time. Here’s how it works — choose a snack food that’s a typical choice and look for an alternative snack food with a higher NuVal score. It’s simple and a great way to involve kids in choosing favorite snack foods with a higher nutritional value.

• Consider the food groups:

Whole fruit and vegetables; dairy foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese; lean protein; and whole grains are a good starting point. The list below of healthy snack ideas includes foods from two or more food groups.

• Let kids help in the kitchen:

A fun way to get your kids to try new foods is to let them help prepare the foods. Of course parents need to supervise, but you will be surprised by the pride and ownership they take when they prepare part of the snack.

Healthy Snack Ideas:

1. Nonfat yogurt paired with berries and a dash of granola.

2. Whole grain crackers paired with a banana or orange slices.

3. A trail mix including dried fruit and a whole grain cereal.

4. Reduced-fat string cheese sticks paired with grapes or baby carrots.

5. An apple with nut butter.

Here are some fun snack ideas to get the kids involved.

1. Ants on a Log: Fill celery stick with nut butter and top with raisins.

2. Effortless Apple Crisp: Stir 2 tablespoons crushed granola bar and a dash of cinnamon into an applesauce cup.

3. Frozen Banana Crunch: Slice a banana into four pieces, cover pieces with yogurt and sprinkle each piece with a crushed low-sugar cereal. Wrap them in waxed paper or aluminum foil and place in the freezer. After being frozen, let thaw for several minutes and enjoy them as a chilled treat!

Beth Freehill is a registered dietitian with Clinton’s Hy-Vee Store. For more information, call her at 243-6162. This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.