Fun and Healthy Classroom Snacks
Fun and Healthy Classroom Snacks

With the adoption of district-wide and local school wellness policies, more teachers than ever are including nutrition education as part of regular coursework and many have also adopted policies on what kinds of snacks and treats can be provided in the classroom. In fact, a study published in the  International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity  found that when schools adopt healthier nutrition practices, including healthier classroom celebrations, they achieve a 30 percent decrease in the amount of unhealthy foods and beverages consumed.

This movement toward healthier snacks does not mean the end of fun and enjoyment for the kids. If you're feeling challenged by the requirements for healthy snacks at your child's school, there's no reason to feel like fun has to be thrown out the window.

Whether you are sending a snack with your child to school or are the classroom mom charged with bringing a snack on a special occasion, try to include nutrient-rich foods from several food groups in your snacks. Fruit, string cheese, nut and seed butters and baked, whole-grain crackers are some great kid-friendly options. Try serving carrot, celery or even zucchini spears with hummus or a yogurt-based dip in individual cups. Presentation is half the battle, so if you offer the foods in an attractive way and with a fun attitude, you will be surprised to see children trying new foods and enjoying them.

Try this list of healthy food options as a place to start, then spend a few moments on Pinterest to find scores of fun, creative and exciting snacks that are also healthy. We went directly to some of our favorite family and nutrition bloggers to get their fun and healthy snack ideas.

Estela Schnelle, RD writes the blog Weekly Bite, which includes a section called Kiddie Lunch Box filled with healthy, kid-friendly recipes. Many of these recipes can be used as healthy classroom snacks.

    healthy snacks

 

(Above: Brown rice pudding, Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies and Banana Pudding, all from WeeklyBite.com)

We also love these 10 healthy snack combinations for kids, a post from the blog Raise Healthy Eaters by Registered Dietitian mom Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen.

healthy snackshealthy snacksTomato Pops with basil and cheese are another healthy snack submitted by CrunchaColor to help use up tomatoes from the school garden. You could also try making these with whole-grain pretzel sticks instead of wooden skewers.

After seeing similar snacks prepared with apples, marshmallow and caramel sauce on Pinterest, Meals Matter Mom Sara Floor Miller whipped up her own Apple Smile snacks using cut-up string cheese for teeth and fat-free yogurt, reduced-fat cream cheese or peanut butter for more nutrients per bite.

Blogger mom and Registered Dietitian Sally Kuzemchak with Real Mom Nutrition turns snack time into a teachable moment with Snack on a Rainbow. She uses different colors of fruits and vegetables to teach how foods help the body in different ways.

healthy snacksPut a toothpick into each piece of fruit and have students put one of each on their plates. Talk about how the fruits look, taste, and feel differently, then ask kids to vote on their favorite and graph the results.

Chopping and arranging the fruit does take time, but it's very rewarding to see the children get so much enjoyment out of eating it--and there's always a few kids in the class who discovers a new favorite fruit! You could even add cheese or a yogurt dip to represent additional food groups.

If elaborate snacks are not your thing, don't hesitate to keep it simple and easy with a snack of baby carrots and ranch dressing in paper cups washed down with chocolate milk.

Establishing healthy classroom guidelines and preparing nutrient-rich snacks for your child's classroom are proven ways parents and teachers can work together to promote healthy eating at school.