Friday, August 6, 2010

Back-to-school snack tips and recipes, plus a giveaway!

It almost seems summer started only last week, and yet you read and hear "It's back to school," everywhere. In my case, my son starts preschool again in a little more than two weeks, so I need to think about starting school again -- and start preparing! My friends are already buying school supplies and shopping for school uniforms, and one has even asked about ideas for the lunchbox.

Whether in the lunchbox, part of a school snack time or after school, meals and snacks are a big part of going back to school to keep kids fueled through their day. Frito-Lay has some tips on how to prepare healthier snacks and pack a nutritional punch with your kids -- and they want to give away reusable food containers and an eco-friendly lunch bag (like the one below) along with some tasty SunChips and Tostitos!

Tip #1: Sneak In The Whole Grains

We all know whole grains are important, but how do you get kids to eat them when they’re used to white breads and pastas? It’s easy: Add it to their snacks! Frito-Lay has two great options your kids are bound to enjoy.

- SunChips multigrain snacks pack a whole grain punch with 18 grams of whole grains per serving. Portion out a serving into a reusable container for your kids’ lunch boxes or throw in a one-ounce bag for easy on-the-go snacking!

- Tostitos Scoops! tortilla chips are another great option. Made with just three simple ingredients -– corn, vegetable oil and salt -– they pack 8 grams of whole grains into each serving. Another great surprise about Tostitos Scoops!: A one-ounce serving contains less sodium than a slice of white bread!

Tip #2: Jazz Up Your Fruit

Fruit is always a go-to snack, but it’s not always the first choice for kids. Jazz up your fruit by making fun shapes!

- Cut apples into French-fry-style strips.

- Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes out of cantaloupe.

- Take a peach and scoop out little balls your kids can pop in their mouths.

- Peel some grapes and call them “slimy eyes” to add some appeal.

Tip #3: Dip It!

Oh, yeah! Boost the nutrition of snacks by pairing some of your kids’ favorite munchies with nutrient-packed dips.

- Make fruit even more appealing by pairing it with flavored non-fat Greek yogurt. Not only will your kids love dipping the fun shape of fruit, they’ll be getting calcium and protein in the snack as well.

- For chips, take the nutrient factor up a notch with healthier dipping choices such as Sabra hummus or fresh salsa. Just check out these recipes from registered dietitian and mom Deanna Segrave-Daly:

Mediterranean Dip

1 cup frozen corn, thawed
½ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste

Mix corn, chopped peppers and balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Baked Bean Dip

1 slice bacon (how about even turkey bacon?)
1 (15-ounce) can baked beans
1 tablespoon grape jelly

Cook bacon in large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon, crumble and set aside. Drain bacon grease, but do not wipe out pan. Add can of baked beans (including sauce). Bring to a boil. Stir in grape jelly and reduce heat. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half (about 5 minutes.) Mash beans with a fork or potato masher and allow liquid to be absorbed.

If you'd like a chance to win a reusable lunch bag and food containers from Frito-Lay, leave a comment to mention your favorite Frito-Lay product or your tips/ideas for school snacks and lunches. I'll randomly choose a winner Aug. 19.