Why Healthy Snacks are Needed in Elementary Schools
Teaching in elementary school has its unique circumstances. The children are very young and are leaning how to make choices. Many of those choices are for immediate gratification, especially involving food. Parents are very concerned about their progress in school, but don’t always see a link between what they eat and how they perform. Teachers are concerned that the students are attending to the lessons and making progress in understanding the content.
In several articles and podcasts from the Center for Disease Control, CDC, they say that academic achievement goes hand in hand with health. Not only eating healthy, but healthy physical activity. In NJ there is a state law that mandates 150 minutes of PE, or physical activity each week. Including PE, the bulk of that time comes from classroom time. Recess, unstructured activity, is a big part of our routine. We cover the physical element of health. Healthy eating is primarily on the shoulders of the parents. School lunches are available and try to work towards healthy lunches.
Healthy Snacks Fuel Your Body
Why is eating healthy so important? As cars need gas to move, we need food for our bodies to function properly. Eating the right foods allows our bodies to grow perform better. Eating healthy snacks instead of foods that are rich in sugar and fat inhibit our bodies from health.
Healthy snacks can also help you perform better in school. Children need to be able to concentrate on the learning. If they eat foods that are high in carbohydrates for breakfast, their bodies have begun to digest these foods, leaving the children hungry and unable to focus by the time they get to school. If we can learn how to eat properly, food will stay in their bodies longer, fueling them to focusing and health.
What Food is Good for My Body?
According to research done by Women’s and Children’s Health Network, our bodies need to have protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water, for it to function properly.
Proteins are important because it helps build your muscles, organs and glands. When you get hurt, it helps heal, as well. You can get proteins from eating meats, nuts, eggs, dairy products, including many plants.
Carbohydrates are sugars and starches. They give us energy for us to use as we move and grow. The carbohydrates are usually the sweets we eat. We need them, but if we have too much, then the carbohydrates make fat. We find carbohydrates in breads, pasta, fruits, potatoes and carrots.
Although fat is also something our bodies need, too much of it is not healthy. Fats help our body store energy to use later. Carbohydrates are used for now, but when the carbohydrates are used up, our bodies turn to the fat in our bodies for energy. Fat protects our organs in our bodies, helps keep our blood pressure steady, helps keep skin and hair healthy, and gives vitamins a place to stay in our bodies. We get fat from meats, cheese, eggs, and many other healthy foods. The problem with fat is that it is also in some of the unhealthy stuff we eat- potato chips, fried food, and biscuits.
Vitamins are found in almost all natural foods- grown from the earth. Our bodies need vitamins to help all of our organs function properly. Minerals accompany vitamins in natural foods.
Water is an essential part of our diets. Water helps all parts of our bodies work. When we don’t have enough water, we get sick.
Healthy Snacks – Edited
The following healthy snacks are listed so you know what our bodies need. Balance is the key word when snacking. Too much is not good, neither is too little. Eating 3 meals a day gives your body the essential needs for your body. Healthy snacks just help us fuel up between meals. I would like to suggest some healthy snacks that could substitute some of the more calorie-laden, fatty, and unhealthy carbohydrate foods.
- Apple Sandwich- two slices of apple with peanut butter and chocolate chips between
- Veggies with hummus
- Cucumber sandwiches- slice the cucumber length wise; place lunch meat on slice and roll up- like pinwheel sandwiches.
- Shish-ka-bobs- meat chunks, cheese, and fruit cubes on a skewer
- Waffle sandwiches- use waffles as bread and use anything inside
- Cottage cheese with fruit- canned pineapple, pears, peaches, etc.
- Cheese cut into shapes with cookie cutters
- Lettuce wraps- use lettuce as the bread and roll up meat, cheese, etc.
- Homemade Trail Mix- you can use almost anything snacky- pretzels, nuts, dry cereal, granola, candy (or not), raisins, craisins, dried fruit, crackers
- Make your own lunchables- much cheaper but still fun-
- Mini quiches- make them in cupcake tins, pop them out and keep in fridge
- Hard boiled eggs- maybe deviled eggs- or egg salad on crackers
- Rice Rolls- puffed rice- it is in stores- great snack
- Sweet Potato Fries- sweet treat
- Tortilla Pizzas- Place nachos on baking sheet, layer salsa and shredded cheddar on the nachos, and bake until cheese melts.
- Muffins- adding vegetables helps make them healthier
- Homemade potato chips- paper thin slices of potato, sea salt, layered on parchment paper, microwave for 5-6 min. Experiment with zucchini, squash, or carrots.
- Chocolate Banana Crepes- on flour tortillas, arrange banana slices and smash lightly, sprinkle chocolate chips over bananas, fry in pan with butter, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into fourths.
- Graham Crackers Top Its- spread a dollop of any flavored yogurt and slice bananas, apples, sprinkled with granola, chocolate chips, or anything else
- Tortillas- brush with melted butter, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture on top, bake for 8-10 min. Cut into fourths, use these sugary chips to dip into yogurt, mixed fruit salad, or anything else you want.
- Pretzel Dips- Pretzel rods dipped into peanut butter and then rolled into crushed nuts, granola, or yogurt. You could just use the yogurt instead of peanut butter.
Parenting.com– many healthy snack ideas from above came from this web site.
Health.com– many healthy snack ideas from above
I hope we can share a whole lot more recipes for healthy snacks. Add a comment- what are your healthy snacks?