Smart snacking: Make healthy snacks youth will enjoy

Explore ideas and guidelines for healthy afterschool snacking youth will benefit from and enjoy.

Since school began again, fall sports are in full swing and the group projects are starting, you can’t help but wonder about the extra groceries you’ll need to buy for your children and their friends as your home becomes the popular afterschool hangout. Some questions floating through your mind might include, “Will they eat healthy things? Do I need to prepare something in advance and make sure it’s ready for them?” A good rule of thumb is to have snacks ready, accessible and in pre-portioned sizes for your child to eat afterschool. If this is done in advance, youth will not have a problem trying to decide what to eat or how much is enough.

Also keep in mind that you want to have something that is easy to prepare as well. For example, lean-cut deli meats allow youth to easily put together a sandwich, pita or wrap, using meat, veggies, cheese and various other condiments. Fresh fruit and veggies should also be on hand for youth to consume. Grilled cheeses, paninis and salads are also great choices for youth. Remember to have snacks available that cover all of the food groups. Depending on allergies, nuts, cheese sticks, and dried fruits are also some healthy snacks that youth might enjoy. If you have a blender, some youth may be interested in throwing together fruits, veggies and yogurt together to create a smoothie they can drink.

Even though youth are snacking, you still need to be aware of portion control. Avoid sugary snacks because this only leads to the cause of childhood obesity according to a Yale report. Adhere to some of these simple guidelines and let it guide you to appropriate snacks for all youth.

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