Next week I’ll have to opportunity to lead a 90-minute lesson & activity for 20-some 3rd & 4th graders, along with my co intern, Mary. We decided to focus the lesson on healthy snacking. First we’ll go over the basics– why is snacking good for you? What is My Plate? How can you incorporate MyPlate into your snacks? We will then make homemade tomato salsa with the kids and homemade whole wheat tortilla chips. This snack covers the vegetable and whole grain portions of MyPlate. While the chips are baking, we’ll move onto an activity where the kids will be in teams and reach into a bag with fruits & vegetables in it. The plan is they will have to guess the fruit or vegetable without looking at it, and whichever team gets the most correct, wins. We’ll then go over the fruits and vegetables together. Finally, I’d like to end the lesson with making fruit and cheese kabobs- another snack that incorporates the dairy and fruit portions of MyPlate. Kids will get to take the extra snacks home with them as well as the salsa and tortilla chip recipes.
We’ll also put together a brochure for parents to read that includes lists of healthy snack options, snack options to limit (aka: potato chips & candy bars), and an acronym for “snacks” — Smaller portions, Not in front of the TV, Am I really hungry?, Choose low-fat options from MyPlate, Kitchen is a good place to eat, and Sit down, slow down, savor, and enjoy. Hopefully the kids will learn the importance of including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy in their snack choices rather than high-fat/sugar/sodium, low-nutrient content snacks like Doritos, cookies, candy, and sugary drinks. An important point we’re going to include in the lesson is covering the issue of how to talk to your parents about keeping healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables around the house. If kids don’t tell their parents they would like to have apples and peanut butter (or celery and hummus) available in the house, then their parents may not always have those items on hand, and instead may continue to buy other snacks like sugary cereals instead.
On another note, here are some really fun ideas alternatives to the peanut butter and jelly standby. Many of these open-faced sandwiches would make for great snacks for kids if made on whole wheat bread. My personal favorites– the tuna salad (maybe with cucumbers instead of tomatoes), Laughing Cow light cheese with ham and grated carrot, and hummus and chopped peppers. What’s your favorite?