Kid Power for a Crazy Day
When life gets busy and kids get hungry, it's not always possible to stop the clocks and assemble a nutritious snack (especially not in the middle of a piano lesson, or soccer practice); it's also not a good idea to form the habit of swinging through the fast food drive thru every day between appointments.
The good news is, it's not hard to pack nutritious snacks ahead of time that the kids can eat whenever they want; in fact, it's actually very easy! The important thing is to make sure your kids are getting what their bodies need for optimal mental and physical performance.
Here at Bobo's, we know that teaching our kids to eat right can be a challenge, but we have found ways to make good choices more delicious than ever, and we love to share our products with others!
What Makes a Snack Healthy?
Diet is pretty much like anything else; there are "do's" and "don'ts". The "don'ts" are simple enough: too much sugar, trans fat, empty calories, etc. There seem to be a lot more "do's", but certain "do's" are more important that others when it comes to feeding growing children:
High Priority "Do's"
- Whole Grains: when grains are refined, they lose most of the long lasting energy benefits as well as healthy fiber; choose whole unrefined grains in your food.
- Protein: muscles, bones, teeth, organs... every part of the body needs protein to grow!
- Iron: active kids need plenty of iron to help their blood carry oxygen to the body.
- Calcium: helps keep bones and teeth strong and healthy.
- Fiber: keeps things moving!
- Vitamins: ...need we explain?
Putting the "Do's" in the Snack Pack
So, finally we get down to the practical details; namely, what are the best snacks to send with the kids? We've put together a small list of nutritious and delicious snacks for kids-on-the-go that pack well and that also do fine for longer periods of time without being kept cold. You can mix and match to give your little athletes and rocket scientists a nice variety to munch on when they get the tummy-grumbles.
Cheese and Crackers
Almost everyone loves cheese! ...maybe not every kind of cheese (certain exotic varieties such as Limburger or Muenster get a little "stinky"), but it's hard to find a kid who turns up their nose at some tasty cheddar or string cheese.
Cheese is a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamins A and B12. These are some of the literal building blocks for the human body, and that's why cheese has been such a staple in our diet for thousands of years. Aged cheeses such as cheddar are less moist, and therefore more resistant to harmful bacteria when unrefrigerated for a few hours.
Pairing cheese up with some whole-grain crackers adds some healthy carbs to the snack that will give an extra energy boost, along with fiber to help the digestive track function properly.
Energy bars are hit and miss; in other words, you have to look at the nutrition information on the package before assuming that the contents are healthy. Look for brands that limit added sugars and saturated fats, and instead use whole grains, seeds, and maybe a little chocolate to make it spot-on for the perfect snack. Bobo's has some great options for healthy snacks for kids-on-the-go!
Fruit (Dried or Fresh)
Packing a fruit snack is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth! Fruit is loaded with vitamins, fiber, and energy. While some may contend that the sugar content of fruit is too high, it is simply a natural unrefined sugar that the body can benefit from when consumed along with the other elements of the fruit. After all, sugar is only harmful when eaten in excess.
(Bonus Info: studies have shown that the sugar in grapes and raisins contain no sucrose, the main culprit of cavities and tooth decay; actually, in addition to being a tasty snack, raisins can actually help prevent dental problems!)
Pecans, almonds, cashews, peanuts (I know, I know... they're actually legumes); nuts areheart-healthy superfoods, loaded with beneficial fats, omega-3's, protein, fiber, and other goodies! They are easy to toss into a zip-lock baggy for a quick power snack.
Peanut Butter Sandwich
Peanuts are a great source of protein, fiber, and iron; slather some natural peanut butter (preferably not a brand that uses hydrogenated oils and processed sugars; ...sorry, Peter Pan) on a couple slices of whole-grain bread for an easy tummy filler.
This a tasty protein-rich snack that most kids love. There are typically two types of jerky;beef and turkey. Both are fairly close in nutrition, but beef jerky contains more iron (8% RDV) than turkey jerky, and turkey jerky will provide an extra gram of protein per serving (13 grams).
If you want some jerky that is less processed and even healthier than the store-bought options, you can definitely make your own! Lean meats such as grass-fed beef, turkey, venison, or even bison work best.
Legumes of all kinds are amazing when it comes to nutrition and health; ...it's just hard to make kid-friendly easy-to-pack snacks out of most legumes. Chickpeas are an exception however, rising to prominence in a burst of fame over the last few decades. There are thousands of chickpea snacks out there that are a mouth-watering crunchy delight.
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) have lots of protein, fiber, iron, and carbs, making them a great energy snack for active kids. You can purchase pre-made chickpea snacks, or you can even roast your own using custom flavors and seasonings!
Ready to Go!
Looks like you have quite a few amazing options to pick from out there; ask your little crew what their favorites are, and help them feel like they are a part of the deciding factor. Discuss with them the importance of good nutrition so that they can begin to make the right choices as they grow and mature. As always, drinking lots of water through the day is just as important for growing children as vitamins and nutrients; always pack a water bottle!
We're all busy-busy-busy these days, but choosing healthy snacks for kids-on-the-go can make everyone's day run a little smoother. Discover some of the best snack solutions with Bobo's bars, and be sure to plan healthy snacks for yourself too, Mama!