Sunday, May 15, 2011

Brainy Snacks for Your Little Einstein


I recently spent two wonderful hours with Ten children ages 5-12 and 6 adults making  6 healthy snacks  while learning about the nourishing brain ingredients of each snack. 

We learned that celery is a vasco-dialater and can help a headache and that iceberg lettuce actually has tryptophan in it and can help relax the hyperactivity some of us feel.  We made cheese balls rolled in nuts, shaved turkey with carrots slices and shredded cheese wrapped with iceberg lettuce, kabobs of fruit and cheese.

Important fiber and protein rich kid-friendly snacks to help feed their focus!  Several recipes were taken from Cabot's popular Healthy Kids Snacks recipe booklet.

We started out playing the Tray Game.  My father used to play that with us every friday night.  He would put 5 or more objects on a tray, give us seconds to view it and then cover it up and see how many items we could remember. We then celebrated with a milkshake .. with brain building raw egg hidden inside.  Egg yolk contains lecithin which enhances memory and concentration because it contains iron.  During our Brainy Snack fun time, we made a blue and green berry fruit smoothie and with blueberries and spinach - everyone wanted seconds.

We all jumped up to finish after tons of tasting to tap  10 parts of our body while naming super foods good for the brain (this helps remember what they are). Can you guess what some of them were?  Blueberries were one for the rich anti-oxidants and salmon and walnuts were some others for increasing the resiliency of brain matter.

Tips for Healthy Snacking

Give your kids a say. Offer comparable choices, such as regular or frozen yogurt, celery or carrots, whole-grain toast or whole grain crackers, apples or oranges. Better yet, recruit your children's help at the grocery store when you're selecting snacks or in the kitchen when you're assembling snacks.

Think outside the box. Offer something new, such as fresh pineapple, cranberries, red or yellow peppers, or roasted soy nuts. Slice a whole-wheat pita and serve with hummus.

Mix and Match. Serve baby carrots or other raw veggies with fat-free ranch dressing. Dip graham cracker sticks or fresh fruit in fat-free yogurt. Top celery, apples or bananas with peanut butter.

Have fun. Use a cookie cutter to make shapes out of low-fat cheese slices, whole-grain bread or tortillas. Eat diced fruit with chopsticks. give snacks funny names. try the classic "ants on a log" celery topped with peanut butter and raisins or make up your own.
Drinks count too. Offer your children plenty of water between meals. Liven it up with shaped ice cubes, a crazy straw or a squirt of lemon, cranberry or other fruit juice.

Find more tips at Mayo Clinic