How to be a SMART Snack-er
With the school year quickly approaching and children from preschool to high school heading back to the classroom, summer schedules are switching over to those filled with earlier bedtimes, jam packed days and long awaited weekends. Once a new school year begins, many families are tasked with conforming their laidback, relaxing schedule to one with more structure. Even though weekdays now start early in the morning and may go late into the evening due to extracurricular activities, the implementation of healthy habits are crucial!
One healthy habit that could be weaved into any child’s lifestyle starting at a young age is how to properly snack throughout the day. When dropped off at school, learning is the priority of all students and is fueled by healthy meals and snacks.
These may be harder for some to develop, but we have just the tool for you. Become S-M-A-R-T in your approach and you will see your family grow and mature into healthy and mindful adults:
S: Structure- Implement a snacking schedule that becomes part of the family routine. When everyone expects a snack at a certain time of each day, they will be less likely to make impulsive choices to satisfy hunger.
M: MyPlate- Take advice from the MyPlate recommendations and incorporate fruits and vegetables into half of your snack portion.
A: Attitude- Since children need high-energy and nutrition to fuel their growing bodies and minds, get them to understand the snacks they consume must provide these attributes.
R: Roles- Maintain a structure where parents decide when and where snack time takes place and children decide how much and if they will eat the snack.
T: Try It- Encourage your family to try new foods and pair their favorites with a new addition every once in a while to ease them into expanding their palette.
To get you in the spirit of S-M-A-R-T snacking and prepared for your next shopping trip, we wanted to arm you with some of our favorite sweet, savory and convenient options and ingredients found in your local grocery’s frozen food aisle and with dairy aisle inspiration:
- Think strategically and cater to the food groups that have been missed during mealtimes— if you didn’t get enough dairy throughout the day, snack on Organic Valley Stringles (yes you read that right!) This organic string cheese gives you a boost of calcium and protein while being ideal for afternoons spent on-the-go.
- Keep portion sizes sensible and get inventive with snacks so even if it’s small, it will satisfy all hunger levels. Fresh and Fruity Cones filled with cottage cheese, mixed berries and a sprinkling of lemon zest are perfectly-portioned and guilt-free!
- Older children often come home from school and are famished, so stock up on easy-to-make and fulfilling foods that will keep them at bay until dinner. Bob Evans Snack-Size Sausage Biscuits are just what you want when 3 o’clock rolls around and hungry kids run through the door.
- If you’re day is crammed with basketball practice, ballet class and piano lessons, bring along snacks chilled in a cooler or wrapped in foil to keep warm— heat up Potato & 4 Cheese Blend Mini Pierogies in the microwave, bundle together and pass off to your busy kids from one activity to the next.
- Make it easy on yourself and your children by designating a shelf in the fridge, freezer and pantry for all snacking needs— make these Banana-Berry Yogurt Pops on Sunday and you will have ready-to-eat, refreshing and fruity snacks all week long.
What’s your go-to snack during the school year— is it refrigerated products such as yogurt and string cheese or frozen snacks like pizza bagels for the inevitable return of hungry kids? Any snack strategy you decide to implement into your lifestyle is great, but remember, always be a S-M-A-R-T snacker!