School has started and if you have a preschooler then you have probably been provided a list with your name on it making you responsible for bringing a “healthy” snack for 20+ kids that has to be one if not all of the following:
Nut-free, Dairy free, Gluten free, Soy free, Egg free, Sugar Free, and/or Red Dye free!
Point is…food allergies and picky eaters leave us with limited options with white cheddar puffs a.k.a. processed cheesy air, the only thing they get to feed their little hungry, growing minds and bodies mid-morning while away from home.
My best #makinghealthyhappen technique with kids is to capitalize on this rare moment of complete hunger (and scheduled snack time) when they will eat just about anything you put in front of them. Mine will always choose a piece of whole fruit or whatever healthy option I give them over nothing if I time it right and the school snack is the perfect time to do that for not just your child but probably some that don’t see a lot of the rainbow of health that your child may be used to at home.
This year, instead of doing the easy thing and sending a bag of pretzels, snack bags of Veggie Straws (potato starch air), or puffs because you got too busy, overwhelmed, or forgot, take the opportunity to fuel those little brains that need vitamins the most early in the day and rethink what snack duty means!
You DON’T have to send something creative and cute!! Just keep it simple with one of the following ideas:
- A bag of baby carrots, sliced apples, grapes, and/or strawberries.
- mozzarella cheese sticks can go along with any item you send if allowed for the kids that do eat cheese, it’s a great protein source.
- Send a container of hummus, pita bread, and vegetables for the teachers to divide up.
- If you are a smoothie maker and have the time…go to the class and make smoothies for them, let them help!
- Send in a few bunches of bananas and watermelon
Quick tips to make this snack thing happen right!
- Plan ahead just like you do each week for your healthy meals and snacks already right!? Know when your week is coming and come back here or to your resources, select just ONE selected snack idea and get the ingredients you need that Saturday before the week starts!
- Keep it simple. If you know yourself and you are not typically doing little things like cutting shapes out of pineapple and banana slices to skewer or create baggies for each kid then don’t try to do it now for 30 of them!!
- Let your kids help.
- If you have time, maybe look up some facts about the food you are sending and write it down for the teachers to tell them. For example, strawberries have the powerful Vitamin C and is a major source of antioxidants keeping our bodies strong to fight off the terrible germs that we pick up each day. This red fruit keeps our blood sugar level so we don’t CRASH and BURN but keep playing, learning, and running strong all day! Find out more about other fruits & vegetables on whfoods.org.
I have to admit, I was shocked to read all of the facts about strawberries and the blood sugar stabilization that it provides. Read up and enjoy some for dessert tonight!