Healthy snacks for back to school

Written by: Lusia Ortiz, FCS Intern

Back to school does not only involve meeting the teacher, shopping for clothes and school supplies, it also includes planning and making nutritious meals and snacks. With the new academic school year closely approaching, very little time may be set aside for this task. However, it’s important to take the time and plan healthy options for your kids to eat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research shows that people get full by the amount of food that they eat, not the number of calories that is being consumed. Calories can be cut down by lowering the amount of fat and increasing the amount of fiber-rich ingredients, such as vegetables or fruits. Taking the time to plan and make healthier options will help you avoid high-calorie and sugary choices.

Eating fewer calories doesn’t necessarily mean eating less food. It’s about making smart choices that are nutritious. For instance, homemade granola bars are a quick and nutritious snack that can be eaten on-the-go. They are a great source of many nutrients such as fiber and B vitamins. As kids are getting ready to go back to school, they can grab a homemade granola bar and pair it with any fruit for breakfast or have as an afterschool snack.

Homemade Granola Recipe
Courtesy of Lusia Ortiz

Ingredients: 
2 cups rolled oats 
1/2 cup honey 
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sliced almonds 
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preparation:

Place the oats in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, mix the honey, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Using a microwave, cook for about 30-60 seconds and stir. Next, pour the honey mixture over the oats; stir to coat. Add the almonds and chocolate chips and stir. Spread the mixture evenly into a baking dish. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting. Serve and enjoy.

This recipe requires no baking and makes minimal mess. The ingredients are common household items making it easy to prepare. It will take approximately 15 minutes to prepare the granola bars. It can be made over the weekend and left to refrigerate overnight so that it can be ready for Monday. It’s a simple recipe that your kids can participate in resulting in a nice family activity.

This homemade granola recipe is versatile. Ingredients can be added and/ or substituted. Feel free to add any kind of chopped nuts such as, pecans, peanuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts. If a nut allergy is present, the nuts can be substituted with any other ingredient of choice or completely removed. Other ingredients that may be included in the granola bar, but are not limited to, are shredded coconut, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, quinoa, and chia seeds.

It’s easy to forget about making healthier food choices due to the chaos and the stress that comes along with going back to school. Rest assure that this homemade granola will provide your kids with important nutrients and energy to get through the day.

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