Back to School Snacks made Cheesy
Posted by: Nita Sharda, Registered Dietitian, Carrots & Cake
Alas, autumn is here! If you’ve got little ones then you’re likely way past “back-to-school” mode and already on auto-pilot. While the excitement of getting back into a routine can be comforting, some of us struggle with sending good-for-you foods to school for our kids to eat (and enjoy!). To complicate things, it can be pretty tough to decipher what is truly nutritious when we’re bombarded with misinformation about food items (case in point: “real fruit” gummies…*rolls eyes*).
First things first: what is a snack? Snacks are foods or drinks that are eaten between meals. Although it can get a bad rep, snacking can and should be part of a healthy diet. Because a child’s body is still growing and developing, proper nutrition is of the utmost importance. In addition to planning healthy and well-balanced meals, we also want to provide our children with nourishing snacks that fuel their bodies with essential vitamins and nutrients. This way we offer kids the energy they need between meals to learn, be active, and do the things they love.
Most children need two to three healthy snacks each day in addition to regular meals. I often encourage clients to offer their children two to three food groups for snacks; this way we can do our best to ensure snacks contain protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.
How does cheese rank in as a snack option? For starters, it’s a source of high-quality protein (the stuff kids need for their growing muscles). It’s high in calcium, too. About 2 ounces of cheese can provide 40% to 50% of a person’s daily calcium needs. Cheese also contains other essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, phosphorous, and zinc.
How can you incorporate cheese into a well-rounded snack? Below are a few ideas to get you on your way to being a cheesy snack champion! Many of the ideas and suggestions feature a number of Bothwell Cheese products, but I’ve also included some of my other favourite cheese varieties.
Any variety of cheese, high fiber crackers and fresh cucumber.
A few slices of cheese or SqueaK’rs teamed up with grapes.
A sandwich made easy with whole wheat bread and a slice of cheese.
You can always use paneer too. New to paneer? It’s a traditional cheese typically used in Indian cuisine. The flavour is very mild and the texture is similar to Mozzarella.
Cottage Cheese paired with half an apple cut into chunks. Sprinkle with cinnamon and flax seeds for additional flavour and brain boosting nutrition.
Air popped popcorn topped with Smoked Parmesan and nutritional yeast.
Cheese Muffins – this is a great way to introduce savoury muffins to your family without loading up on processed meats. Use this recipe as a base and add whatever spices you fancy. I added 2 tsp each of garlic powder, basil and parsley!
The takeaway question: what are your go-to, tried-and-true, super-dooper awesome snacks? Share yours in the comment area below for your chance to win a $25 Visa Gift Card*. We would love to hear from you!
Peace, love, & cheese,
Carrots & Cake
*Contest entry deadline is midnight on Monday, October 19th. Good Luck!