Ants on a log

Ants on a log make a quick snack and great, after-school treat.

Carrots and celery sticks on a plate.

Often when children get home from school they are hungry and ready to snack on something, but it seems like there is always a lot to squeeze in between coming home from work or school and eating dinner. Michigan State University Extension recommends preparing a healthy snack to provide a helpful boost of energy needed for homework, sports, dance and even socialization activities for children and parents alike to begin the evening.

A simple, economical and nutritious snack idea is ants on a log. Ants on a log consist of peanut butter spread on celery, topped with raisins. Peanuts are a good source of protein, however you can choose an alternative protein spread, if necessary. Read more about what foods are in the protein foods group for a breakdown on peanut nutrition. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), peanut butter contains seven grams of protein and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories come from protein.

What exactly is protein? The NIH defines protein as the building blocks of life, these building blocks are called amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids that join together to make a variety of different proteins that are needed to build and repair tissues within the body, such as the muscles. Some amino acids our body can’t produce, these are known as essential amino acids, meaning that it’s essential that our diet provides these. Good sources of protein include:

  • Meats, poultry and fish
  • Legumes (dry beans and peas)
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Milk and milk products

Ants on a log are a fast, healthy and fun snack for families! Three simple ingredients combine for a delicious, nutritious and budget-friendly after-school snack that tastes like a real treat for hungry kids. Visit 10 Tips: MyPlate Snack Tips for Parents for more healthy snack ideas from the USDA.

If you would like to learn more about healthy eating and wellness, visit Michigan State University Extension. MSU Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating and wellness. 

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