Among my conversations with fellow moms, especially those with school-going children, often we wonder about the snacks that we should pack for them to munch on while in school. Our opinions are always quite varied on what we should pack and what we should not. So with this regard, I decided to speak to a Nutritionist for some insights. I spoke to Santina Nyaga who is also a blogger and mom of 3 school-going children –Michelle, Jeremy and Emma.
Santina says that when packing snacks for the children, it is important to ensure you pack healthy and nutritious items. Ensure snacks come from either 2 or 3 of the four major food groups which are: Fruit and vegetables, cereals, bread, pasta and potatoes, milk and dairy and other animal and plant proteins like meat, fish, eggs, poultry and the different kind of beans. Here’s her sample snack plan:
Simple finger foods are the way to go for them. Children at this age have high nutritional needs but yet have small appetites. Here’s a daily plan for them:
10:00am- Fruit, plain yoghurt sweetened with honey or real fruit yoghurt
4:00pm- Grated apple pancakes, a glass of milk/milo
10:00am- Fruit salad of melon, mango, pineapple
4:00pm- Dinner rolls spread with peanut butter/kids favorite bread spread
10:00am- Homemade mandazis
4:00pm- Fruit, cheese tomato sandwich
10:00am- Orange, homemade popcorn
4:00pm- Fresh fruit juice/smoothie
10:00am- Tangerines, garlic bread sandwich
4:00pm- French toast with a glass of milk
For PRE-TEENS and TEENAGERS
As kids get older you have a wide variety of foods to choose from. It is also a great idea to involve them in making choices for school snacks. Some ideas of what to pack may include:
10:00am- Baked vegetable/chicken/meat samosas and fruit
After School Snack- Scotch eggs, milk/hot chocolate
10:00am- Homemade popcorn and fruit
After School Snack- Handful of nuts e.g. almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts
10:00am- Left-over chicken sandwich with tomatoes
After School Snack- Scotch eggs, fruit yoghurt
10:00am- Chapati rolls filled with a vegetable salad
After School Snack- French toast, hot milk/cocoa
10:00am- Sesame seed balls, tangerine/orange
After School Snack: Yoghurt with slices of fresh fruit
Other snacks that can be included: Mini pizzas slices of homemade fruit bread, veggie burgers, dried fruit, and fruit kebabs.
– Packing snacks for a toddler, a six-year-old and a pre- teen should mainly be guided by their growth needs.
– Toddlers and young kids below 11 years are at an age where they are very active, hence their energy and nutritional needs are greater than an adult’s. They have smaller appetites and need to snack more often teenagers.
– Between 11-18 years, the energy and protein needs required are 80% more than adults. They need more vitamin C intake during these growth spurt periods and if they are girls, make sure they have extra iron especially if they have started their periods. For boys, ensure they take in more calcium to help in bone development.
-If your kids do not like boiled sweet potatoes and arrow roots, try baking them. Another alternative would be to slice the boiled arrow roots or sweet potatoes then make a light batter of wheat flour or chick pea flour and eggs then shallow fry them.
-A lot of time for preparing these dishes can be saved if you make them ahead of time, items like mandazis, pizza dough, and bread dough freeze really well. Nuts like cashews, almonds, macadamia and peanuts can be made ahead of time and kept in air tight containers.”
Thanks Santina for sharing. So what do you think about this menu? What other healthy snacks would you recommend for school going children?
You May Also Like to Read: The Day My Daughter’s Teacher Told Me to ‘Watch out For Relatives, Especially Male Ones’?
featured image courtesy: mama azizi