Monday, August 24, 2009

Healthy School Snacks

Well, the day has finally arrived. My girls officially start kindergarten tomorrow. We have spent the last two weeks running around buying clothes, shoes, backpacks, and lunch bags. Now the real chore...figuring out what to pack everyday for a daily snack and lunches.

As with most families, I am faced with the struggle of providing healthy, good tasting snacks that make everybody happy. I happen to have one child who doesn't like cheese and neither will eat nuts or any kind of lunchmeat. This makes life a little more difficult but there are a lot of great recipes out there to choose from. Here are a few snack items I am going to start with:

Zucchini Bread Tea Sandwiches
These zucchini bread cream cheese sandwiches are a sweet change from the traditional lunch box fare. These zucchini bread tea sandwiches are also delicious for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

4 slices prepared zucchini bread
1/4 cup cream cheese (low fat is okay)
Spread two tablespoons of cream cheese on two slices of the zucchini bread.
Top with remaining two slices of zucchini bread. Slice lengthwise into "fingers."
Zucchini Bread Recipes:

Sunflower Seed Gorp
The Seneca Indians used sunflower seeds to make pudding, gravy, bread, and coffee. Mixed with dried fruit, the seeds also make a sweet and nutty snack.
2 cups raw sunflower seeds
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup raisins
1 cup sweetened, dried cranberries

1. Measure the ingredients into a paper bag, fold over the top of the bag, and shake to mix. Store the mixture in an airtight container.

Green Herb Hummus

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
6 fresh basil leaves
1 medium scallion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Options for dipping: carrot sticks, sliced cucumber and whole-wheat pita chips
DIRECTIONS: Place ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until smooth. Serve with dippers.

And don't forget the old favorites like fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt (frozen yogurt tubes will last in a lunch bag) or whole grain crackers.

Lunch tips that work for us:
  • Have a small thermos handy for soups, spaghetti, and mac & cheese
  • Do a "snack lunch" - a fruit, a veggie, cheese or yogurt, crackers or pita bread
  • Cut your peanut butter and jellie sandwiches into fun shapes like a heart or star (it's just more fun to eat)

Check out Family Fun and Healthy Eats for more great ideas.

- Shannan

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