By Emily Roberts MA, LPC
Snacks can help to save your kids mood and attention span during the long days back in school. Having healthy snacks on hand that can enhance focus and prevent meltdowns is easier than you think. Making sure that the snack contains a protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat ratio is imperative for cognitive functioning and keeping moods stable. Many prepackaged and portable foods contain additives, dyes and more sugar than a can of soda. Try these for simple and effective alternatives for boosting brain power.
No Cold Pack Needed!
Rice Chips and Nut Butter. Gluten and dairy-free rice crackers, chips, or NutThins and a side of almond or sunflower butter keeps protein and fat contents proportional, while also adding some complex carbohydrates. Justin’s almond butter is a product that has individual packs, or you can simply separate the chips and the nut butter into different containers to keep the chips from getting soggy. Many schools are anti-peanuts these days, so alternative nutbutters are an added bonus.
Trail Mix. Make your own (link) by adding in nuts and cereals that your child likes, as well as some dried fruit or dye-free chocolate bites and you now have a portable healthy snack that is great for any time of the day. Have your kids make their own too, with this reindeer mix. My favorite gluten free and protein filled option; lentil chips, pistachios (without the shell), and dried cranberries (sugar-free). Good fats, protein, and complex carbs.
Edamame. This soy bean can be steamed and stored in any container, add some sea salt and it’s a protein powerhouse. There are roasted versions too, that are easy to snack on and nonperishable.
Jerky. Salmon jerky, soy jerky, and even turkey jerky can all be found with organic labels these days, and they are a great snack to tide hunger over in any kid. The protein content is high, and so is the sodium so watch out, but jerky has a great chewiness factor to keep kids occupied.
Keep it Cool
Cheese to-go. Babybel cheese and crackers or string cheese, grapes and corn chips or crackers.
Roll Ups. Whole wheat or spelt tortillas (gluten free tortillas if needed), Swiss cheese, and turkey slices, and add some avocado if your kiddo is an adventurous eater or mustard. Vegetarian kiddo’s, can try hummus and extra vegetables. Or the old-school PB&J can be jazzed up with almond butter, banana, coconut flakes and honey in a tortilla. Cut into pinwheels and they become more fun to eat.
Dippers. Hummus and rice chips or baby carrots. You can actually freeze the hummus and 4 hours later its in its dipable form. Use it as an icepack and snack all at once.
Weelicous has amazing recipes for fruit and seedbars that you can make into gluten-free combos and creative fun snacks.
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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.
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