Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fun and nutritious summer snacks for kids

By David Burton
University Extension

Snacks can be an important part of the diet for many children according to Tammy Roberts, a nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“It is hard for them to eat enough at just three meals to get all of the nutrients they need for the day. Planning snacks can help assure they get all of the nutrients they need,” said Roberts.

When choosing recipes for snacks, Roberts says it is important to let the children help with preparation in order to make them fun.

“One thing you can do to assure your children are getting healthy snacks is to make snack boxes that contain healthy choices,” said Roberts.

A refrigerator snack box could contain yogurt, pudding, juice boxes, grapes, vegetables and vegetable dip, or string cheese. Suggestions for the pantry snack box include pretzels, granola bars, bananas, apples, oranges.

Kids love to help prepare food. Here are some recipes you might want to try.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfaits

2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons skim milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup fat-free whipped topping, thawed
1 package instant chocolate pudding

1. Add two tablespoons milk to the peanut butter and stir until well blended. Stir in whipped topping and set aside.

2. Mix chocolate pudding with two cups of milk as per package instructions.

3. In clear cups or glasses layer pudding, peanut butter mixture and another layer of pudding.

4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter Balls

One-quarter cup peanut butter
One-quarter cup honey or lite pancake syrup
One-half cup nonfat dry milk
One-quarter cup quick oatmeal
Three-quarters cup crisp rice cereal (save one-half cup to crush)

1. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, honey, dry milk, oats and one-quarter cup of the rice cereal.

2. Shape into one-inch balls.

3. Put the remaining one-half cup of rice cereal in a large zip-type bag and crush.

4. Place the balls in the bag and shake until balls are covered with the cereal.

5. Store in covered container in the refrigerator.

For more information on nutrition issues, go online to http://extension.missouri.edu or contact Tammy Roberts at (417) 682-3579.

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