If you’re a parent or teacher, you know this to be true: the day of a student is busy, busy, busy! From class to recess to after school activities, there’s always something going on. Learning and playing requires a lot of energy, so it’s important to refuel with some healthy snacks between meals.
Although chips and cookies can be delicious, eating a snack filled with empty carbohydrates (like starch and sugar) can make us sleepy, cranky or even hungrier than we were before. Instead, we suggest choosing a healthier option that will keep us awake and satiated before lunch or dinner. A combination of protein, fat and carbohydrates should do the trick.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Celery, carrots and/or bell peppers with hummus
- Whole grain bread with sunflower seed butter and banana slices
- Plain yogurt with berries and a drizzle of honey
- A baked sweet potato with butter and cinnamon
- Grape tomatoes with balls of mozzarella cheese
- Apple slices with cheddar cheese cubes
- Tortilla chips with salsa and avocado
- Dried fruit with coconut flakes and sunflower seeds (maybe even a few chocolate chips)
- Cucumbers with tzatziki sauce
One snack we make in our Allergic to Salad classes is a tasty combination of crunchy roasted chickpeas, crispy vegetable chips and popcorn. This salty-sweet treat is a great alternative to plain old potato chips or pretzels. Make one or try all three!
- 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Assorted spices (cumin, coriander, cayenne)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Crispy Vegetable Chips
- 3⁄4 lb sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, etc.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1⁄4 cup popcorn kernels
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1⁄4 - 1⁄2 cup toasted coconut
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine chickpeas, spices and olive oil. Arrange on a baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake until crispy, around 25-30 mins.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Thinly slice vegetables on a mandoline into rounds. Toss with oil and vinegar. Season then arrange on a baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake until crispy, around 10-15 mins.
In a large pot, heat coconut oil and 1 kernel of popcorn over medium-high heat. Cover. Once popcorn kernel pops, add remaining popcorn, cover and carefully shake pan until all kernels have popped.
Combine chickpeas, veggie chips, popcorn, lime zest, coconut and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add sugar and stir until melted. Pour over popcorn mix and toss to combine.
If you want to get really creative, try coating your popcorn with all the colors of the rainbow. Once the popcorn has popped, divide it into separate bowls. Try putting turmeric in one bowl, spirulina in another, powdered freeze-dried strawberries in a third, and powdered freeze-dried blueberries in the last one. Mix separately, then put a little of each color in your personal serving bowl and enjoy!
Another great snack is a seasonal salsa with tortilla chips and avocado. While a classic tomato salsa is delicious, we suggest incorporating some fall or winter produce into the mix. Beans are also a great addition for some extra protein.
Lately, we’ve been loving our sweet potato and black bean salsa, which we’ve been sharing at our recent events. Educator Kalyea, pictured below, thinks you should give it a try!
Black Bean Salsa
- 1 cup corn or butternut squash
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 1 scallion thinly sliced, whites and light greens only
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- the juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, leaves and stems
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Prep ingredients according to instructions. Combine and mix in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
We hope these recipes have given you some ideas about how to snack healthfully and happily. After eating them, you’ll be left feeling full and energized, ready to take on the rest of your day with gusto.
What kinds of snacks do you and your children enjoy? Let us know in the comments below!