(Family Features) - Hey Mom! What are your kids snacking on? Could be they're missing out on one of the key benefits of snacks - nutrition. One nutrition expert is calling for moms to makeover snack time with easy and nutritious ideas - and ones that kids will love.
"It's not just calorie content that matters, but the nutritional quality of the foods kids eat between meals," said Liz Weiss, MS, RD, mother of two boys ages 8 and 11 and co-author of The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers: Improving the Way Your Family Eats, One Meal at a Time!
"Kids between the ages of 6 and 13 snack nearly two and a half times a day," said Weiss, "so moms need to offer tasty and nutritious choices." Weiss encourages moms to introduce fruits and veggies that kids enjoy. She suggests swapping sugary and salty snacks for Clementines from Spain.
Even candy-craving kids love the sweet taste of clementines, which Mother Nature delivers in a just-right portion - small enough to fit a child's hand. Virtually seedless, clementines are portable, peel easily and are a good source of vitamin C, folate, fiber and potassium - all for 50 calories apiece. But kids love them because of their sweet and sunny taste.
Weiss offers some kid-tested snack makeover ideas:
- One clementine, peeled into sections
- Yogurt parfait: Layer low-fat yogurt with fruit sections and crunchy whole grain cereal.
- Citrusy Smoothie: Blend together two peeled and sectioned Clementines from Spain, 1 ripe banana, 1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt, 3/4 cup orange juice, 4 ice cubes and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
- South-of-the-Border Bagel Bites: Spread whole-grain bagel halves with low-fat refried beans and corn; top with shredded reduced-fat Cheddar; toast to melt cheese and heat beans through.
- Veggies and dip: Many kids prefer their veggies raw so serve bell pepper strips, baby carrots, and green beans with low-fat Ranch dressing or salsa.
- Ants-on-a-log: Fill celery stalks with 3 to 4 tablespoons peanut butter; top with dried blueberries or cranberries.
- Snack kabobs: Skewer sections of clementine onto wooden sticks; melt 2 tablespoons chocolate chips for dipping.
Peak season is now
Available November to March, most of the clementines you'll find in your local grocery come from Spain. Compared to domestic varieties, Clementines from Spain have bigger flavor, are juicier and have a thinner peel. You'll find them packaged in decorative five-pound wooden crates at the supermarket.