Text by Dr. Nina Radcliff
School’s out! And this means play dates and outings to the beach, museum, and zoo. While chips, cookies, and other processed foods are readily available (and conveniently packaged), they are oftentimes jam packed with sodium, fat, calories, and chemicals we cannot pronounce. My rule of thumb is if you cannot pronounce or spell it, you probably shouldn’t eat it! The alternative is to put on our creative thinking caps.
Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know about tried and true, quick, healthy snacks for the whole family:
Baked apple. Scoop the core out from the top of the apple, leaving a well. Do not cut all the way through. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of butter to the well, and consider adding some nuts, raisins, or granola oats to “take it up a notch.” Sprinkle with cinnamon. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until softened and serve warm.
Fruit and cheese kabobs. On wooden skewers, alternate halved strawberries, seedless grapes, and cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese cubes. Find cute shaped cookie cutters to create fun cheese designs. As a dip, consider vanilla yogurt or nonfat sour cream mixed with honey and cinnamon.
Frozen bananas. Peel small, ripe bananas, cut in half, and insert a wooden sheesh kabob stick a few inches through the middle. Then let the fun begin! Consider dipping into a caramel dip or melted, unsweetened chocolate and mixing broken walnut pieces. Then freeze.
Frozen grapes. Need I say more?
Honeyed Greek yogurt. Take a cup of Greek yogurt, add a sprinkle of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of honey. Oats and nuts bring truth to the term “the more the merrier.”
Spiced orange salad. Cut oranges and remove the peel. In a bowl, combine ¼ cup slivered almonds, 2 tablespoons of raisins, 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Pour over the oranges and serve.
Smoothies. Take a cup of Greek yogurt, ¼ cup of low fat or soy milk and then add the following to the blender:
-Ripe banana and frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries)
-Pumpkin puree (4 tablespoons) and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
-Banana and vanilla extract, powder, or bean to taste
Chocolate covered strawberries. For every 5 strawberries, melt 2 squares of unsweetened dark chocolate and let it dry. Place on a baking paper.
Banana chips. Slice bananas, dip in lemon juice and bake on 300 degrees until hardens.
Cinnamon graham cracker and peanut butter. Take two Graham crackers, spread 1 teaspoon of peanut butter, add a few slices of bananas, and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Hummus with carrots. Use baby carrots to dip into hummus.
Parmesan tomatoes. Slice 2 plum tomatoes and top with 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. For fun, consider baking to make the crispy.
Kale chips. Take a kale bunch, spread it onto a baking sheet (try to minimize overlap), sprinkle nutritional yeast (I promise this is yummy), and bake on 200-300 degrees until the kale becomes crispy.
Cheesy popcorn. Use an oil spritzer to spray a little olive oil and then sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese. Alternatively, consider sprinkling nutritional yeast to taste.
Edamame. After boiling, sprinkle sea salt to taste.
Sweet potato fries. Slice a lightbulb sized sweet potato, toss in 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
Turkey roll ups. Roll a slice of smoked turkey, place a toothpick through it, and serve with honey mustard on the side for dip.
Pumpkin seeds. Spread pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and spritz with olive oil, bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until brown. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Brussel sprouts. Steam brussel sprouts, cut in half, spritz with olive oil, and broil on high for 10-12 minutes, or until crisp. Season with kosher salt to taste. To really have some fun, consider adding Parmesan cheese before putting into the oven.
Apple sandwich. Slice an apple and get creative with what you put in between the layers: dried fruit or raisins, almond butter, peanut butter, granola oats.
I have personally experimented all of these with my daughter and her friends. The investment in time is an investment in her health. And the dividends are reaped with kisses, smiles, and love. Priceless.
Dr. Nina Radcliff is a syndicated medical columnist who also appears on the Fox News Channel and The Dr. Oz Show.
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Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.