Power-Snacking Secrets for Youngsters

March 5, 2009 9:49:00 AM PST
Fewer than 2 out of 100 youngsters are eating the recommended three or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day, says nutritionist and author Connie Evers. At a time when approximately 25 million children ages 2-19 in the U.S -- or nearly one in three children -- are overweight, healthy snacking is more important than ever, she adds. From her first book, How to Teach Nutrition to Kids (24 Carrot Press) to her latest, a workbook for children, Nutrition Fun with Broc Roll (24 Carrot Press), Evers has been committed to creating a new nutrition culture for children. "Snacking is not a bad thing -- in fact, it's a good thing -- and it can actually help keep kids from overeating at mealtime," says Evers. "Unfortunately lunchboxes and snack bowls are too often overloaded with fat, sugar and salt and are missing fruit, vegetables and whole grains."

A registered dietician, Evers says we have to teach our children to "Power Snack." She shares her Power Snacking Secrets and nutrition steps parents should take for healthy snacking:

1. Offer Sweet Alternatives at Eye Level. Instead of unhealthy, sugary snacks offer, sweet fruits like Clementines and mandarins as a great way to get more fresh produce into kids diets. Make sure that you have fresh mandarins and other fruit on the kitchen counter to catch your child's eye when they come home from school.

2. Homework Helper. In the late afternoon (when kids are super hungry), set out a bowl of nuts like pistachios nearby the children as they work on their homework. Include foods such as easy-to-peel Cuties www.cutiescitrus.com, mini-sandwiches, and string cheese.

3. Eat a rainbow - Challenge your child to "eat a rainbow" of fruits and vegetables. When shopping with your child, make it a game to find produce that is red, green, blue/purple, orange, brown and white. When you get home, use the foods you purchased to prepare a colorful snack.

4. Cure those pre-dinner hungries. You can feed the 5 PM pre-dinner hungries with fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables. Kids will also eat more fruits and vegetables if they are presented alongside a dip. Adding a flavored yogurt as a natural dip for fresh fruit plate is a great way to cure the hungries and won't spoil a child's appetite for dinner.

5. Plan a snack adventure - Involve your child in snack planning, shopping for ingredients and simple food preparation activities. Partner with your child to devise a healthy snack list that includes foods from all five food groups. Create fun and cute recipes and don't forget to give your new creations a special name like Yocutola (Yogurt, Cuties Clementines and Granola).

About Nutrition Broc & Roll

This hands-on activity guide is full of activity sheets and recipes for teaching kids about nutrition and healthy living. This resource could be utilized by either educators or parents. The workbook encourages children to make their own healthy choices. It is divided into six chapters and each chapter inspires creativity and healthy living. The suggested grade level is available at the bottom of each page and spans throughout all of elementary school. Children will enjoy having options and fun activities to teach them about nutrition.

About Connie Evers

Connie Evers, MS, RD is a specialist in children's health and nutrition education and the author of How to Teach Nutrition to Kids, a book which is used in thousands of schools throughout the world as a framework for nutrition education. She is also the author of the activity book Nutrition Fun with Broc & Rolland the Disney children's book, Good for You! Nutrition Book and Games. Connie works as a nutrition consultant to schools, universities and USDA child nutrition programs throughout the nation, developing programs, writing materials and providing hands-on training to educators, health care professionals and parents.

She recently assisted in the development of "Every Body Eats," an interactive nutrition exhibit which is currently traveling to science museums across the U.S. She speaks frequently to local and national audiences and is a frequent guest on radio and television programs throughout the U.S. She is the editor of Feeding Kids Newsletter, an online publication available at http://nutritionforkids.com.

Connie takes a positive, fun approach to the more serious issues that affect children today, including obesity, eating disorders, poor eating habits and inactivity. Through her work with children parents, health professionals and educators, Connie strives to empower children of all ages to develop a zest for nutritious foods and an active lifestyle.