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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Healthy Snack Ideas for Your Family

As the health of family is related to our food habits, we can easily make changes in our eating habits for a healthier body and mind. May be we eat a balanced and nutritious food but 'small snacks' in between big meals can make a big difference if our choice is not healthy.

Plan and have ready-to-eat foods that fit into a healthy eating plan. This means plan snacks that help get the recommended daily amounts from each of the main food groups:
- Grains
- Vegetables
- Fruits
- Milk
- Meat and Beans Group

Snack ideas from the Fruit Group:

Most people need to eat more fruit, especially whole fruit or cut-up fruit. MyPyramid recommends whole fruit instead of fruit juice for most of your fruit choices. Whole or cut up fruit provides fiber in addition to the vitamins and minerals found in fruit juice.

Try these ideas:

* Fresh fruit available in the crisper in the refrigerator
- Grapes, kiwi, plums, peaches, pears, strawberries, or tangerines

* Fresh fruit available in a bowl on the table or counter
- Apples, bananas, nectarines, oranges, pears

* Fresh fruit already cut-up and available in the refrigerator
- Cantaloupe, mangos, or pineapple
- Always keep cut fruit in the refrigerator

* Single servings of fruit created at home and refrigerated in individual containers.
- This could be a mixture of fresh, dried, canned and/or frozen fruit.

* Single servings of fruit purchased in cans, cartons, or plastic containers.
- Applesauce, apple chunks, peaches, raisins, pineapple or mixed fruit

* Single servings of dried fruit, divided at home, or purchased in individual packages: Apples, apricots, peaches, raisins, or plums.

* Chilled fruit salad as a special treat. Have it waiting in the refrigerator!
Remember: always keep cut fruit refrigerated.

These are just a few of the many ideas that you can consider. Think about your budget, schedule and nutritional needs of your children to plan a snack idea. Remember, ideas for health wise snacks also include food choices that help get the daily-recommended amounts from the other major food groups as well. The main idea is to have available those foods that help your children to get the best nutrition.

By: Glenda Warren, Associate Professor, Foods and Nutrition/EFNEP

Source link: University of Florida/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences.

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