Duking it out with after-school snacks

by SARA on August 22, 2011

red delicious applesI woke up this morning feeling like Labor Day was just barreling toward me. Yikes. I’m definitely not ready to let go of watermelons and warm summer nights. Nevertheless, I’m a big believer in “preparedness,” so today I’m reminding myself of the incredible energy potential of early fall. When I hunker down and think about it, there really is something about the indian summers, the crisper nights, and the leaves a different color each day that makes anything feel possible. Every year I get that back-to-school itch to make lists and change things around–and I suppose even (still) grow up a little more.

On that note, I thought I’d use this post to give a shout-out to a piece I put together over at iVillage: “Which is Worse, Battle of the Afternoon Snacks.” Helping me out were nutritionists Stephanie Middleberg, Keri Glassman (The O2 Diet), and Melissa O’Shea, along with Dr. David Colbert (The High School Reuinion Diet).

Pairing kids’ snacks head to head confirmed a lot of information we can all pretty easily intuit: That what’s healthiest doesn’t just come down to fat and calories on the label (see Yopliat GoGurt vs Chobani Champions). Nor is it a matter of how many health-promoting ingredients are concentrated in a product (might I direct you to Edy’s All-Natural Antioxidant Fruit Bar versus Ciao Bella Sorbet Bar). These experts made the “hows” and “whys” of it all fascinating, though–and along the way, I even discovered a few new on-the-go indulgences to sink my teeth into.

This leads me to my question du jour: As somebody who hasn’t yet had kids, I feel like I’m constantly behind the curve on fun and creative snacks (homemade and store-bought). I’m putting it to you–what eats are you exciting about resurrecting (and trying!) for fall?

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{ 6 comments }

Lauren August 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I just found a great “Top 10 After School Snacks” posted by Snack Girl. I don’t have kids yet either, but all these snacks appeal to me!
http://www.snack-girl.com/

Nushin August 23, 2011 at 5:50 am

having spent the past month in switzerland, i’ve come across a whole assortment of new foods and snacks. my favorite thus far: birchermuesli. it’s healthy, delicious, has a great mix of textures, and can really be eaten any time of the day. i would imagine this could be a great after-school snack that’s nutritious, fun to eat, and tasty. i heard about this cool company that let’s you create your own custom-made muesli. don’t think they ship to the US yet, but here’s their site: http://uk.mymuesli.com/. it’s a simple concept though, so you can really make your own muesli mixes at home. that way you can add in the things you like and not include the ones you don’t. it’s worth a taste :) .

Jen August 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

At one point, my son was eating granola bars like nobody’s business so I decided that it was a little too much processed food. We do still buy the processed kind sometimes, and they make lower sugar versions that are a little better (or less bad, anyway). But at least some of the time, I try to make our own granola bars. There are lots of recipes online (Barefoot Contessa has a good one), and they are really adaptable to what you and your kids like – nuts, raisins, cranberries, dates, coconut flakes, whatever. You can also adjust the sugar/sweetener to taste so you’re not using more than you really need. My son also likes to help me cook, so he really got into it (and he’s only 5, we’ve been doing this for a while so it’s good for toddlers too). They make great after-school snacks. For the fall I like to make them with some pumpkin, although with the canned stuff you can make that all year round :)

SARA August 24, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Nice! Thank, Lauren. I love really this website, too. Never seen it before.

SARA August 24, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Thanks, Nushin. This is great! And you know, when I travel, I always love to go to grocery stores for that very reason–it’s so interesting to see what people are eating. Muesli, specifically, is a big winner for me. When I was a kid, my parents had Alpen muesli at home, never cereal, so it couldn’t be a more memory-fueled comfort food. …The make-your-own really does seem like an idea that would play well over here. I think there was a US company that did something similar with granola bars.

SARA August 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Jen, I’m now finding myself wanting to try making my own granola bar. Let me know if you (and your son) have an absolute favorite recipe or flavor combination right now. I’ll start with that. (And how lucky that you’ve got a granola addict in the house.)

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