As the new school year inches closer and closer, a constant conundrum of providing snacks that provide optimal energy and are low in fat, salt and calories will need to be addressed.
Left to their own devices, students often choose the fastest option for a snack, meaning they grab a bag of chips or a cookie. While these snacks may be the fastest and tastiest option at the time, foods with empty calories don’t provide the nutrients growing bodies need, and if consumed consistently, can have a lasting impact on students’ learning abilities.
“Without proper fuel, the body can’t run its best,” Jenny Anttonen, a local nutritionist from Renovate Your Plate, said. “Our body requires a minimum amount of energy called the resting metabolic rate, this is solely to maintain our basic metabolic functions, let alone the additional energy our brain needs to learn and participate in school throughout the day.”
Anttonen suggests instead of packing chips or cookies, choose snacks that will help maximize student’s potential inside the classroom.
“I think a good routine is to prepare any breakfast, lunch, or snack items needed for the week ahead of time,” she said. “This can be a fun family activity and also provides convenience to choose the already prepared, healthy options.”
Other important factors to remember are simply covering basic food groups.
“The healthiest snacks can include a variety of foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and nut butters, milk and cheese,” Anttonen said. “These all provide unique health benefits. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide carbohydrates and dietary fiber that help the body stay fuller longer, while providing essential nutrients.”
Contact newsroom intern Joseph Thomas at 317-924-5143.