The Northern Michigan holidays are a busy and exciting time for kids. Help them refuel with good nutrition. These easy snack ideas by Connie Metcalf RD, a Sodexo Outpatient Dietitian at Munson Medical Center, are based off whole foods and kid-friendly. Connie says, “Choose foods from the fruit, vegetable, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and lean protein food groups to get the most nutrition.” Let’s plan ahead to prepare some yummy options.
Here are some simple Northern Michigan food & drink ideas to try in your own kitchen:
Santa Berries: Wash fresh strawberries and dry. Slice off the top, set flat on a tray, and top with a dollop of vanilla yogurt or light whip cream. Berries are high in fiber and vitamin C.
Grinch Poppers: Wash and dry green grapes and strawberries. Slice bottom of grape off so it will stand up. Stack the following on toothpick: grape, thin banana slice, half a strawberry for the hat, top with mini marshmallow.
Colorful Kabobs: Stack green olives, mini grape tomatoes and mozzarella cheese cubes on a frilly toothpick.
Graham Crackers: Spread with light cream cheese and top with colored sprinkles.
Clementine Oranges: Easy to peel and always a hit.
String Cheese Snowmen: Draw a face on plastic covered string cheese and tie a ribbon on for a scarf.
Apple Slices: Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and stevia.
Greek Yogurt: Freeze for 1 hour before serving. This provides a great source of calcium without any preparation.
Popcorn: Decorate clear plastic cups and fill with popcorn.
Colorful Trail Mix: Combine Cheerios, unsalted nuts, dried cherries and a small amount of red and green peanut M&M’s. These are a good source of fiber.
Whole Wheat Tortillas: Toast the tortilla and spread on a thin layer of pesto, diced sweet red pepper, and grated jack cheese. Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates which provide energy.
Mini Banana Muffins: Any leftovers are easy to freeze.
Whole Grain English Muffin Pizzas: Top muffin halves with pizza sauce, mushroom slices, and grated mozzarella. Melt in a toaster oven.
Turkey Jerky: An on-the-go protein snack.
Infused Water: Put frozen mango or pineapple chunks in a glass of water. Kids will hydrate well by drinking to get to the fruit at the bottom.
Adjust Baking Ingredients: Use half whole wheat flour and half unbleached flour. This will reduce sugar content by 25% and most recipes come out fine.
Stay Active: Plan to combine a healthy snack with a physical activity, such as serving fresh hot popcorn after sledding.
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