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Dear Parents and Teachers, 


We all know children should not go for long hours without eating, most especially in school when they are forced to sit still and concentrate for long periods of time.  The problem is knowing what to feed them that won’t make their little bodies feel worse than a little hungry.  When thinking of what would be good as a quick bite, remember the following:



Natural sweetness like fruit is okay but it is still a sugar that can give them a drop in sugar levels if it is not backed up soon after with a more substantial food.  The best combo is fruit with a complex carbohydrate like multi grain bread, chips, cereal or crackers and also a fat to keep them full.  Adding a protein works too, like fruit and nuts.  If the snack is a half hour or so before lunch, then only fruit is okay for most kids.  If it is more than ½ and up to 1 hour, then add the carbohydrate or protein.  After 1 hour, you need to add fat to really help them stay satisfied and focused. 


Think that juice is also a fruit?  Please note that many drinks can add way too much sugar to their bloodstream, bringing down energy levels almost 20 minutes after drinking.   Even juice with no sugar added will make insulin and sugar sensitive kids* crash because shortly after squeezing or processing, all fresh juices break down into what the body perceives as simple sugars.


Milk may be okay for some children with no sensitivities, but water is best and if the snack is fun, sometimes it will suffice.  Have you ever thought of decaffeinated herb teas?  They can be sweetened with a little Stevia (natural sugar substitute found in any health food store) and some teas are flavored with fruit essences like orange or mango. Also they are filled with antioxidants. 


Water with Stevia and lemon juice can pass for lemonade.  Club soda with root beer flavored Stevia may also work.  (You can find Stevia in liquid drops in many flavors.)


Really push the water though, because the idea is to get them off the need for sweeteners.  It may help to remind your children they will be able to run faster and think smarter the more water they drink! 



Some Nutritious Snack Ideas for School


Fruit:  Apple, Orange, Tangerine, Nectarine, Plum, Peach, Banana





Dipping Bananas:  Leave the banana in the skin until ready to eat and have some rice cereal or granola in a baggie.  Kids take a bite out of the peeled banana then dip it into the bag of crispy cereal for the next bite.  Sounds gross, but as long as the kids don’t share this snack, it’s a lot of fun and completely safe!


Whole grain cereal:  Nothing with white sugar added!  If you need to add sugar, add blueberries for sweetness.  Go for the lowest sugar content you can find and most likely it will be in Whole foods, not your local grocer.


Vegetables cut up in fun shapes with dip:  It’s easy to make flowers out of cucumbers, stars out of carrots, and curly tops out of celery.  Have a contest to see who can come up with the most unusual shapes.  Learning about geometry?  Try having them cut into circles, triangles and squares.  Also great are string beans because it keeps them busy crunching.  Dips are not easy!  Make sure it is completely natural and MSG free.  Try the following if you get stuck:

            Yogurt (natural, no sugar added)

            Paul Newman’s Own salad dressings.  Take your pick.  They are all great.


Chips and Salsa and add Bean Dip or Chili for extra protein If you use the right chips (multi-grain, gluten free are best) that are made with only pure oils and tout an organic and all natural label, you will be giving them a nutritious alternative that can sustain them for over an hour.  The baked variety are great too, especially if you are adding bean dip.   Make sure the dips are without msg.  Check out this link for info on MSG.


Chips and Tuna or Egg Salad:  Use canola mayonnaise (has no MSG!) and for some sweetness add tomato.  Kids love to dip anything so be creative.  This can also be a fun lunch because some multi grain chips are more nutritious than regular breads.


Peanut Butter and Celery or Apples:  This may cause some issues in some schools, but it is soooo good for sustenance.  Use only natural peanut butter though.  You can ruin the nutritious aspect with additives like sugar.  Read labels!  Note:  Cashew and Almond butter are even better if kids will try it.  Whole foods has all three available to grind fresh at the flip of a switch.  Allow the kids to make their own and you guarantee they will try it.


Multi-Grain or Gluten-Free Bread and Butter:  Leave them separate until ready to eat.  Can’t get the kids to eat thick bread with lots of weird grains?  Try making the butter fresh in the classroom.   Students bring in the ingredients and a jar, then churn and shake till it’s butter.  Better believe they will eat anything that has their own homemade butter on it.  You may even be able to get them to eat spinach!  (Here is a link to homemade butter on Emeril Lagasse’s site)


Rice Crackers and Homemade Butter A great alternative to wheat. 


Trail mix Another fun project is to give each child an assignment to bring in a bag of something, and then mix it all      together for the entire class.  Here are some good ingredients to put in:

            Carob chips (using very little just for the effect)

            Raisins, dried fruits (no sulfur or sugar added!  Again, you don’t need much)

            Coconut shreds

            Nuts if allowed

            Gluten free or regular granola

            Whole grain cereal

            Rice cereal

            Seeds like sunflower and pumpkin


Popcorn It would be great if you could pop it in class!  Ask around for someone to donate an old popper they have lying around.  If everyone brings in a pound of kernels at the beginning of the semester, there would be enough for the entire year.  Use a little sea salt and all natural butter spray on top.  Also a good addition is an all natural powdered cheese.


Cheese and crackers Of course, all natural and no additives. 


Nuts and seeds:  If permitted to have nuts, the best are almonds, walnuts and believe it or nut, pistachios.  Only go for the natural kind and if they are roasted, it is best in peanut oil (unless there are allergic students) or safflower/sunflower oils.  No vegetable!


Baked Apples with Cinnamon:  Can be made the night before.  Peel and slice apples then place in thin layers in a baking pan, putting plenty of cinnamon in between.  Bake until soft or crunchy depending on how you like it.  For even more fun, add raspberries or blueberries in between layers.  Special Note:  Cinnamon naturally curbs sugar cravings so the more the better.


Homemade Applesauce:   The students will love to prepare this in class.  Peel, core and cut up apples, place in large pot with a small amount of water on the bottom.  Add plenty of cinnamon.  Bring to boil on stove then lower to simmer, stirring occasionally to break up apples.  When apples are soft, it is done.  You can leave on the stove with the heat off and cover on to continue cooking.  Special Tip:  Use many varieties of apples to ensure sweetness.  Best bet, have every student bring in one apple.  If you must use sugar, use some all natural brown sugar instead of white.


Lettuce SandwichesTry wrapping tuna, egg or chicken salad in lettuce instead of bread.


Hard-Boiled Eggs:  Yes they will be a little smelly, but they are a great snack all by themselves!


Rice Cakes Put anything from peanut/cashew/almond to regular butter on top.  Cinnamon rice cakes are especially good.  Ever tried smeared banana on a rice cake?  It’s delicious!


Have any fun snack ideas to share?  Please email me and it will be posted with your name and if you like, picture.  Best idea of the month wins a prize! 



*Sugar and insulin sensitive kids:  Without a glucose test, you cannot officially tell, but most children who have this issue will become tired, dehydrated, spacey, cranky and/or moody soon (about 20 minutes) after drinking most fruit juices.  Administer the Corey The Wacky Apple™ Food test, using any popular fruit drink to help determine whether this is a factor. 





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