The Healthy Side of Snacking at School

Kids are tempted to swap out their lovingly packed, healthy snacks for an ice cream sandwich or roll of Oreos every day at school. And as a parent or teacher, there’s not much you can do once the decision is swayed by a sweet tooth. The best way to ensure your carrot sticks aren’t ending up in the garbage bin is to send them off with a tasty treat they won’t want to get swap out for gooey sweets, but is still on the healthy side of snacking.

It’s true that grabbing a bag of greasy Lay’s takes less time than rinsing some grapes and putting them in a container, but children need the proper nutrition to maintain their energy and focus throughout a busy day of classes and after school activities. Make 2012 the year you snack healthier and more sustainably. First, start with a small investment in reusable snack containers. Decorate them and make sure your student knows these are not to be tossed in the trash. By eliminating snack packaging, you’re doing a huge part in reducing waste at schools. Participants in the Waste Free Snack Challenge during National Green Week know that snack trash adds up fast!

Now that you have some containers, try filling them with fruits, dips, crackers, and get creative! Need some inspiration? WebMD has a great page about the importance of snacking and 20 great snack ideas. For easy snacks that don’t require preparation but are still high in nutrients read this article from Parenting.com. Feeling bold? Parenting also offers up some delicious snack ideas that are good for the kids and for you to take to the office. Take a couple minutes and give them a try this week!

Take your commitment to sustainability a step further and try to use seasonal ingredients when concocting your next great snack or meal. Using seasonal and regional foods reduces the need for excess global transportation and the use of additional chemicals to keep produce fresh while in transport. Those strawberries you see in February must come from somewhere, right? Check out this blog entry to learn more about seasonal eating.

Good luck and happy snacking!

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About Green Education Foundation (GEF)

Mission Green Education Foundation (GEF), a non-profit organization, is committed to creating a sustainable future through education. Sustainability Education provides educators with the real-world applied learning models that connect science, technology, and math education with the broader human concerns of environmental, economic, and social systems. GEF provides curriculum and resources to K-12 students and teachers worldwide with the goal of challenging youth to think holistically and critically about global environmental concerns and solutions. Visit www.greeneducationfoundation.org to register for free and to gain full access to GEF’s comprehensive library of standards-based lessons and activities.
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