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The Best Healthy Snacks for School-Age Kids

by Bridget Coila, studioD

School-age kids lead busy lives, so providing them with healthy snacks helps get extra nutrients in them while also fueling all their learning, growing and playtime. Just like regular meals, the best basis for a healthy snack revolves around whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein and low-fat dairy. You don't have to try to get all of their nutrients in during snack time, but between-meal treats are a great way to boost the overall vitamin and mineral intake of their day. Ultimately, the best healthy snacks for school-age kids are the ones that provide a little extra nutrition while also getting your children excited about snack time.

Whole Grain Goodness

Whole grains are the way to go when it comes to providing quick, healthy snacks with some crunch to them. A few slices of low-fat cheese or a thin coating of peanut butter go great with whole-grain crackers or a slice of whole-grain toast. If your kids prefer food they can dip, cut whole-wheat tortillas into triangles and toasting them in the oven before serving them with yogurt, salsa or ranch dressing. Even a bowl of whole-grain cereal can work as a snack for active kids, and it can be eaten breakfast-style in a bowl with milk or put into a plastic bag dry as an alternative to high-fat, high-sodium chips. Plain air-popped popcorn is another healthy, whole-grain snack that's ideal for school-age kids.

Protein Power

Protein fuels your child's growth and helps curb hunger, so snacks that give your child a protein boost not only help her thrive, they also help prevent raids on the cookie jar just before dinner. Chicken kabobs are an easy-to-make, protein-rich snack that are also fun for kids to eat. Simply thread chunks of chicken on a skewer, roast in the oven, and serve with peanut sauce or your child's favorite dressing as a dip. String cheese, bean quesadillas and peanut butter on a stick of celery are other high-protein options for your school-age child.

Sweet Snacks

When you're faced with a child who has a rampant sweet tooth, it can be tough to come up with snacks that satisfy your youngster but also provide good nutrition. The obvious solution is fruit, but there are other options out there beyond apples and oranges. Smoothies made with fat-free yogurt, skim milk and frozen berries provide plenty of calcium and other nutrients along with a sweet taste kids love. Or make fat-free pudding or a trail mix combining sweet dried fruit with nuts that provide heart-healthy fats.

Unusual Foods

School-age kids are typically more adventurous than younger children when it comes to food, especially if you can introduce tasty new treats that have a story attached. Serve an unusual fruit like dried cranberries, slices of dragonfruit or fresh mangoes, then give your child a short geography lesson about the place where the food grows or a few interesting facts about the fruit's history. Soy nuts, tamarind pods and homemade taro chips are other less-ordinary options that kids might enjoy.

About the Author

Bridget Coila specializes in health, nutrition, pregnancy, pet and parenting topics. Her articles have appeared in Oxygen, American Fitness and on various websites. Coila has a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati and more than 10 years of medical research experience.

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