COLLEGE STATION — When kids come home from a long day at school, they’re often ready for a snack. But treats don’t always have to be cookies and milk.
Parents can make eating healthy and fun — all it takes is a little imagination and preparation.
It is important to involve your children in all aspects of food and snack plans, including making lists, shopping and preparation, said Dr. Dymple Cooksey, a professor and Texas Agricultural Extension Service nutrition specialist.
“Kids will be more likely to eat fruit salad or other healthy snacks if they took part in preparing them. If your children are too young to prepare a snack by themselves, make snack preparation an evening pastime,” she said.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial because they are rich in many nutrients that children need to support growth and development. Serving them as snacks can also make up for the missed servings in regular meals, Cooksey added.
Including kids in the preparation is easy. It may involve cutting up fresh fruits and making a yogurt dip or making homemade pizza that will be ready to bake for lunch the next day.
Preparation also can be fun. Cutting foods into fun shapes like triangles and circles makes the food more appetizing. Also, after cutting up fruits and vegetables, let kids store them in plastic bags or colored plastic wrap. Place snacks in the front of the fridge so they are easily accessible to kids.
Cooksey said encouraging children to eat fruits and vegetables now means kids are off to a good start.
“Making healthy choices more available to children makes it easier to incorporate good food into their daily lives. It is important to realize that food habits made when you are young will affect food choices made as an adult,” she said.
Ingredients: combination of favorite fruits
What to do:
1. Wash fruit
2. Cut into pieces or fun shapes
3. Place cut fruit in a bowl
4. Add a small amount of orange or lemon
juice to prevent browning
5. Mix together with a spoon
1 cup orange juice, .5 cup apple sauce,
1/4 tsp. of cinnamon, dash of nutmeg
1 cup vanilla or strawberry yogurt
Mix all ingredients and chill.
Serve with fresh fruits of any kind.
Ingredients: tomatoes, carrots,
yellow peppers, broccoli, purple cabbage
What to do:
Wash, then cut up fresh vegetables into fun
shapes and arrange in rainbow shape and
serve with dip made of non fat yogurt and
Ingredients: three to five fresh strawberries
.5 large ripe banana, sliced
1 cup skim milk
What to do:
Combine all ingredients in a blender.
Process until thick and smooth.
Makes 2 .5 cup servings