HEALTHY COOK--LITTLE NIBBLES
By Holly Sheppard
Many parents panic when kids reach for a snack, but
as long as it's not a crayon and is
reasonably nutritious, there's no reason to. Children's
bodies work differently than
ours, and they often really need that energy boost.
Snacks shouldn't be the empty-calorie
kind, however, so forget potato chips and cookies. Kids
need energy- and fiber-filled
munchies, or "kid-friendly minimeals," as
Susan McQuillan, a registered dietician I
know, calls them.
Here are three simple recipes, all of which I tried
on my own nieces and nephew with
enormous success. (What Stephanie, Julianna and Rob
didn't eat, I gobbled up myself.)
If your kids are old enough to help themselves, keep
these treats (or quesadillas
ingredients) within easy reach in your fridge or freezer.
Filling: Mix 8 ounces each shredded low-fat Monterey
Jack cheese and zucchini (about 2
cups of each). Refrigerate, covered, up to 1 week.
For each quesadilla: Sandwich about 1/2 cup filling
between two 8-inch flour tortillas.
Heat in skillet 1 minute per side or until lightly browned.
Or microwave on high 45
seconds. Cut in wedges. Serve with salsa. Makes 8, six
In food processor or blender, process 16 ounces low-fat
cottage cheese, 1 well-drained
7-ounce jar roasted red peppers and 1 teaspoon dried
basil until smooth. Refrigerate next
to cut-up raw vegetables. Makes 2 cups.
In a food processor, process a 10-ounce box frozen strawberries
in light syrup, 1 cut-up
ripe banana and 3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt until
smooth. Spoon into 10 small
(5-ounce) paper cups. Process another 3/4 cup low-fat
vanilla yogurt and 1/4 cup frozen
orange-juice concentrate. Add to cups. Freeze 30 minutes
before sticking a pop stick in
each, then freeze until hard. Peel off paper cups before
serving. Makes 10.
There's a slew of new low-fat snacks on the market,
some of which are tasty and
definitely worth trying. But beware: Just because they
say they're low-fat doesn't make
them low in calories or particularly nutritious!
I love tortilla chips and Baked Tostitos with reduced-fat
have a great corn flavor and a
nice light, crisp texture. Try them with Guiltless Gourmet's
Mild Black Bean dip, a good
source for protein and fiber (the kids will love the
mild flavor). Quaker Butter Popped
Corn Cakes are a perfect base for a frosting of peanut
butter and a few slices of banana;
and kids will enjoy Sorrento's Stringsters: individually
wrapped portions of string
cheese. They're a good source of fun and calcium. Mr.
Phipps Pretzel Chips are delicious,
lightly salted pretzellike crackers--a much healthier
choice than a handful of potato