During the summer, most kids are happy eating hot dogs, ice cream and bags of Goldfish at camp and pool parties, but now that the school calendar has begun, we need to start feeding them foods that will keep them alert and focused throughout the day.
While Goldfish and other popular snack crackers are tasty, they are won’t do anything to help your kids perform their best during the school day - - instead, these foods are loaded with enriched wheat flour, which has been stripped of its vitamins and minerals and can cause an initial peak of energy, followed by sluggishness, irritability and cravings for sweeter foods.
We want our kids to feel energized and alert for the entire day, so why not give them snacks that will help them to feel their best?
When shopping in the supermarket for school snacks, try to slowly move away from the big companies like Nabisco, Lay’s and Keebler, as most of their products are full of refined flours like wheat flour, white flour and enriched wheat flour. The healthier type of flour is listed as “whole wheat flour.” Most of the time, this ensures that the wheat hasn’t been processed.
Keebler Town House Crackers, Sunshine Cheeze It’s and Ritz Bitz all contain wheat flour or enriched wheat flour - - meaning the good parts of the wheat that contain the bran and germ and all of the protein, fiber and vitamins is NO LONGER THERE. So, most kids are eating snack foods with no fiber, thus not keeping them as full or as satisfied.
When kids eat foods that are full of refined ingredients, they tend to lose focus, become irritable at a quicker rate and crave more and more snacks. Refined flours cause a short blast of energy; whereas, whole grain flours lead to long-lasting continued energy with no crash.
So, instead of filling their lunch boxes with snacks that lack nutrients, try the following:
1.) Pack Fresh – Include a bag of mini carrots, cut up celery and peppers. These veggies give a solid crunch and are full of fiber and vitamins to keep them going strong all day long.
2.) Mix the New with the Old – They might not like the taste if you only give them the newer, healthier pretzels at first - - so combine them. Try adding Newman’s Spelt Pretzels, Snyder’s Honey Wheat Pretzels or Shiloh Farms Sprouted Whole Grain Pretzels into their mix. These have much more fiber and protein than regular pretzels to keep their tummies full.
3.) Don’t Take No For an Answer - Each week, tell your kids they should try one new snack as part of an experiment to see what they like. They don’t have to eat a whole serving, but make sure they try a couple each day of the week. The more times you give it to them, the more likely they are to want to eat it.
4.) Pop It! – Popcorn is such a tasty treat, but it doesn’t have to be reserved for movie- time. Try lunch-size bags of Skinny Pop Popcorn and Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn. No butter or anything artificial here – just a fun snack.
5.) You Don’t Always Need the Milk – Dry cereal in a baggie is a perfect school snack, especially if the cereal is full of real whole grains like oats and buckwheat and low amounts of sugar. Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat Cereal and Barbara’s Bakery Puffins are favorites.