Monday, April 30, 2012

Snack Attack - 35 Energy snacks that keep kids going

When it comes to snacking, my children are experts. They are busy. They are active and their systems are running on high maintenance all day!

When we are doing school work though, I find - that if their attention is slipping, they get fidgety or their behaviour becomes disruptive - providing them with good snacks, it helps a lot.  However I am not saying that they need to eat all day.  Children who are not active, will need to be monitored carefully ( as just like we can eat out of boredom, so can they).  My children lead very active lives between Nippers lifesaving, running, J-boarding, cycling, going to gym and the endless games they play running around the house. I always consider how much they are physically doing against how much they are consuming.  Your choice of snacks in this instance then becomes important.

But maintaining energy levels is important.  With a full day of school, after school activities and sport - you really can't expect your child to keep going on a bowl of cereal in the morning and a sandwich in the afternoon. Smaller more frequent snacks are a far better idea.


There are a few things to consider when choosing snacks:
 Consider preparation time
I have time to bake at night when I am making supper because the oven is already on and so I save on electricity. 
I often freeze after baking so that I have really easy days and only need to take something out of the deep freeze.
I keep snacks simple when I know that life is busy.
Our local Fruit and Veg city will clean and slice your vegetables which can save a lot of time and energy.


You don't want sticky dirty hands
 Use toothpicks, forks and facecloths to ensure that hands don't end up on pages.  And try not to keep the snacks on the same table as your books as one of the little ones are likely to spill the contents at some point or another.  If you keep it on a separate table it means away from books and a place to snack AND wipe hands.  Obviously wet wipes or dry wipes work too.

Low GI (you see I even get to sound like an expert)
Be careful of too much fruit and sugar, which includes the dry fruit. Try to balance your snacks with ingredients that are low GI

Affordability
The list includes cheaper and more expensive options. I do not believe in spending money unnecessarily. Just because its cheaper (or plainer) doesn't mean it's not as good. If you want to do a treat snack (like biltong) do it on a Friday or for special occasions.

Doesn't require moving to the kitchen to eat but can be consumed wherever they are
I don't do snack time in the kitchen otherwise I lose time rounding them up. They are clever in that way - they disappear in every direction. Yes! Even if they love learning new things - they will still duck and dive to play and read and build Lego. Or is that just my children?

I have made a list of snacks that are fairly healthy and easy to prepare. Again, how much effort you put into your snacks is directly proportional to how much time you have, but consider the benefits of maintaining energy levels and concentration against the preparation time. When you see what a difference it can make, you will feel a lot more motivated. And in fact these types of snacks can be given to the children at any time. Children need to sustain their energy even if they are not attending school or homeschooling.

SNACK ATTACK LIST 

  • Carrot sticks/ discs (My children prefer the discs because they can pop them into their mouths and I prefer them because then they are not holding carrot sticks all the time which are prone to give off an orange colour on the hands)
  •  Butternut slithers (Raw butternut is delicious. Give it a try. I often add slithers of it to my salad)
  • Diced cheese blocks
  • Apple slices and raisins
  • Banana (don't peel entirely, keep the skin on and let them take it off progressively, keeps the mess to a minimum)
  • Biltong (an expensive snack but I know some families who make their own, making it affordable)
  • Popcorn (Be careful with this because unless you use a popcorn maker, this can end up being fairly oily and too much salt is not good for them either) 
  •  Drinking yoghurt (store bought or big bottles of drinking yoghurt de-canted into a little bottle with a straw)
  • Nuts
  • Cucumber sticks/ discs
  • Frozen grapes (because they are frozen, far less mess but if like my youngest they start putting it in and out of their mouths - which of course results in a big sticky mess - best leave that one out)
  • Crackers or savoury biscuits
  • Cheese wedges
  • Yoghurt with a plastic spoon
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Seeds - pumpkin, sunflower etc
  • Raisins
  • Rice cakes (now don't go putting lots on top, let them eat it as is)
  • Dried fruit - there are so many varieties
  • Dried fruit roll - I buy, but you can make your own if you are feeling especially adventurous.

  • Naartjies (recommend these rather than oranges because if you buy them small, peel them and break them up into segments, its easy for the children to pop them into their mouths with almost no mess)
  • Smoothie - a great alternative to drinking yoghurt and again so many variations.
  • Trail Mix - mix nuts, seeds, dried fruit, muesli - go wild!
  • Cherry tomatoes - my kids love the popping sound they make.
  • Pretzels
  • Sugar snap peas/ green beans or miniature corn - they are normally sold together in our shops
  • Fruit of any variety - melon or watermelon balls, pineapple slices, grapes, apricots

  • Muffins (variety, variety, variety - don't get stuck in a rut and dish up the same things over and over) - added bonus, they can be frozen
  • Banana bread or any breads that don't require butter or toppings
  • Granola bar
  • Granola - this is delicious, especially if you make your own this is especially delicious.
  • Protein on a stick (toothpick) - whatever you have: sausage, cold meats, fish sticks
  • Scones - these are like muffins - delicious with lots of potential variety and can be frozen
  • Sandwich squares or triangles - toasted, plain, oven baked - my children love garlic butter on toast, its a smelly affair but garlic keeps them healthy and its just so delicious
  • Leftovers - pizza, meatballs - just remember this is not lunch time, so don't let snack become the focus, this is just to keep them going 
  •  Rusks - these are great if you don't dry them out completely, if they are too dry you will have endless crumbs!


All of these snacks are based on a family with no sugar, wheat or allergy problems - however all of them can be adapted to suit your family. In terms of health benefits: opt for home made, it protects your family from all the extra colourants and preservatives and other can't-name-the-chemical-additives that they put in our food these days.

Why not leave a comment, I would love to hear what snacks you give your children which keeps them on the go.

Linking up with Raising Homemakers, Domestically Divine Tuesdays,Titus 2sday Link-Up,Living Well Wednesdays,Growing Home: Teach me Tuesdays, Proverbs 31 Thursdays,

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks David, good to have you here!

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  2. Great list...always need some "fresh" ideas :)

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  3. Thanks Kathy - funny thing is so do I. I know this is a fairly long list but I am always on the lookout for more.

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Go ahead, leave a comment! I would love to hear from you!