Over the past decade, we have learned a great deal about the relationship between poor diet, inactivity, and disease. We now know that healthy eating and physical activity patterns during childhood and adolescence not only promote proper growth and development, but also can lead to overall improved health and decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Studies have also shown that healthful eating can lead to better school performance and behavior. Providing healthy, inexpensive snacks is one way that you can directly improve eating and activity patterns in the children in your after-school program. So let's take action!
What Are Healthy Snacks?
Children and adolescents who are hungry usually aren't having much fun and can't focus on what they are learning. Healthy snacks give students the energy they need to focus and participate in school. Serving healthy snacks to hungry students who haven't eaten since breakfast or lunch time sounds like a good idea... but what exactly is a healthy snack?
In the interest of promoting the overall health of Phoenix Middle School students, we suggest the following examples of healthy snack alternatives. This list (not complete) has been created under the simple guidelines of decreasing calories from sugar and fat, while increasing students' consumption of whole, nutritious foods.
- Water (reusable bottles)
- Fresh Veggies
- Fresh or frozen fruit
- Cottage cheese mixed with cinnamon or honey
- Fruit cups in natural juice
- Apple slices with caramel
- Low-fat muffins (banana, blueberry, bran)
- Banana or apple chips
- Low-fat or low-sugar oatmeal cookies
- Low-fat vanilla or banana pudding
- Frozen juice bars
- Pretzels or baked potato chips
- Reduced fat cheese crackers
- Real cheese cubes with Saltine crackers
- Granola or Nutri-Grain bars
- Rollups (lunch meat and sliced cheese rolled up with fat-free cottage cheese in the center)
- Yogurt or Gogurt (refrigerated or not)
- Rice cakes (any flavor)
- Cereal or cereal bars with low-fat or skim milk
- Raisins or Craisins
- Whole grain English muffins
- Animal crackers
- Graham crackers
- Wheat crackers
- Fig Newtons
- Vanilla Wafers
- Low-fat string cheese
- Frozen yogurt
What NOT to bring as a snack:
- Soda (like Coke, Sprite, Pepsi etc. - Diet of otherwise)
- Energy drinks
- Potato or (other processed) snack chips
- Caffeinated drinks.