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BOX: Healthy snack ideas:
Cheesy Vegetable Dip 1 cup reduced fat sour cream 1 cup low fat or fat free plain yogurt 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese 1 0.4-ounce package ranch salad dressing mix In medium bowl stir ingredients until well combined. Serve with assorted cut vegetables and whole grain crackers or float fish-shaped crackers on top and let kids “go fish” using celery sticks, fresh carrot chips or red pepper strips. Recipe by Kathy Belcher Munch Mix 2 cups whole grain check square cereal 2 cups honey-sweetened oat cereal 3 cups pretzel sticks ½ cup sunflower seed kernels 1 tablespoon butter 1 tablespoon canola oil 2 tablespoons water ¼ cup sugar ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ cup dried cranberries, raisins or dried cherries 2 1/3 cups or 10 ounces reduced-fat mozzarella and cheddar cheese cubes Mix cereals, pretzel sticks and sunflower seed kernels in a large bowl and set aside. Melt butter over medium heat. Stir in oil, water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasional. Remove from heat; stir in cinnamon and mix well. Pour over cereal mixture until coated. Spread into a baking pan and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Spread on wax paper and cool completely. Toss with dried berries and store in air tight container, toss in cheese cubes just before serving. Recipe provided by www.southeastdairy.org By BECCA OWSLEY email@example.com Keeping up with kids' nutrition can be difficult any time of the year, but it's especially challenging during the busy travel days of summer. The temptation of stopping for a quick burger and fries or a bag of chips and soda abounds, especially on long travel days with grumpy children. Kathy Belcher, program director with the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association in Louisville, had some helpful hints to get parents through those travel time snack attacks. A “kid’s survival snack bag” can provide just what your kids need on the road. Belcher suggests a bag containing pre-proportioned healthy foods such as graham crackers, whole grain crackers, baby carrots, string cheese, fruit, fat free chocolate milk or drinkable yogurt. These snacks also are good to have around the house in a basket on the counter or in the fridge, to have healthy snacks readily available for the kids. Almonds also are a healthy source of nutrition, but in moderation. Belcher suggests using an Altoids box to know the appropriate serving size for almonds. The amount that covers the bottom of the box is a serving. Parents should model healthy eating for their children, Belcher said. On travel snack breaks, children will not learn good eating habits if they are eating healthy while their parents are munching on super size fries. “Plan don’t ban” is a motto the Dairy Association uses to help parents help their kids snack smartly. Snacks, after all, are an important part of a child's diet, making up 600 calories of his or her diet, Belcher said. Instead of getting rid of snacks, parents should provide healthy options to help children meet their daily nutritional goals. Belcher offers these suggestions:
Lisa Smith a registered dietitian at Hardin Memorial Hospital, also stresses the importance of snacks in a child’s diet. Growing kids need nutrient-rich snacks, like fruit, which Smith calls “nature’s fast food." “When people think of snacks as candy, chips and sodas, they get a negative connotation,” she said. “They can be positive when using foods from the Food Pyramid.” Bringing a cooler along while traveling can offer a variety of snack options you know your kids will love as well as prevent the onset of hunger, which can lead to bad snack decisions. Belcher cautions consumers to read labels carefully on so-called healthy snacks. A 100-calorie cookie is still a cookie with limited nutritional value, Belcher said. Instead, choose nutrient-rich foods and look for something that offers the most nutrition with the fewest calories. And get the kids involved. If a child is involved in the preparation of the snack, they are more likely to choose it as a healthy alternative, Smith said. “The more fun you can make it and the more involved the kids are the more likely they are to eat it,” Smith said. Yogurt parfaits, fruit kabobs and trail mixes are snack ideas she has for busy families. “Parents need to be parents,” Belcher said, encouraging them not to cave in and to set limits to make sure the entire family is eating right. More information and recipes can be found at www.southeastdairy.org or www.3aday.org. Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.