How to sneak nutritious food into school
quick and easy healthy snack ideas.
In the modern world 17% of children and adolescents are obese, that is a staggering 12.5 million young people. Obesity early in life puts these youth at incredibly high risk for developing heart disease, respiratory distress, and cardiovascular stress, all of which can be fatal.
Where can we begin to combat this disturbing trend? The answer to this question lies right inside of our own pantry's and the hall ways of our public schools. If any one of us were to go into our kitchens we would nearly undoubtedly see things such as pop tarts, pre packaged puddings, and store bought sweets, all of which are full of fat, sugar, and what I like to call "empty calories".
The solution is really quite simple and I believe that most parents may even find them very enjoyable. The key is to provide our youth with fresh homemade foods that are not only high in minerals and vitamins but also lack preservatives that all pre packaged foods contain. Now some many modern parents use the excuse that they "don't have the time" or the "don't know how" to cook for their families. Well to solve all of our time dilemmas there is two words: "Big Batches". Much simpler than many expect.
Tips and Tricks
All kids love sweet things don't they? So let us exploit this love using something such as homemade apple sauce. Apple sauce is incredibly simple to make and is a great way to satisfy your childs sweet tooth while at the same time having the peace of mind that they are getting all the benefits of eating their fruits.
To make applesauce we need:
-8 apples (peeled, cored, and chopped)
- 1 cup of water
-1/4 cup of sugar
- a touch of cinnamon
First peal all 8 apples and chop the "meat" if you will, off of the core. Place the apple chunks into a large pot and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes depending on the texture your child prefers. After the allotted time simply take a potato masher and give the entire mixture a quick mash to get rid of any unwanted chunks. This will make 8 servings, 1 for your child every day o the week and a bit to reward your hard work. Divide the mixture into 8 containers and store in the fridge. this recipe has far less sugar than the store-bought brands and I guarantee you that it will not be sold off at lunch time.
To replace those store bought cookies that your kids love so much I also have a quick and simple recipe that they are sure to love.
-3 tablespoons of butter
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
-1/4 cup of honey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
- pinch of salt
-1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 2 cups of rolled oats
- These are optional: raisins, cranberries, dates, chopped dried apricots, walnuts, etc...
1. Pre-heat Oven to 350 degrees F and spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray
2. Next mix the butter, brown sugar, honey and egg thoroughly
3. mix together all the dry ingredients and add to the wet. Also add any choices.
4. next cook for 12-16 minutes
This should make about 30-36 cookies. if you hide them and give your kids 2 per day then that is 2 weeks worth of healthy cookies! Not only will they be eating healthy they will also think you are an amazing cook!
You can do both of these recipes on a weekend in under an hour and a half and will also cut down on lunch prep time during those busy weekday mornings.
Some other tricks include:
- by buying "smart" bread
- finding out what their favorite fruit is and pack that daily
- using chicken or turkey in sandwiches and not ham or beef
- using light margarine or mayo
By using these tricks together you will be able to cut tens of thousands of calories per year from their diets without even letting them know. Again the key to ensuring the health and well-being of your family is well balanced and healthy home cooked snacks that help promote good eating habits that will last them a lifetime.