(NAPSA) - For as long as kids have been pleading for tasty treats in their school lunches, parents have been searching for ways to get them to eat more nutritious foods during meals and snack-time. Today, more parents are "raisin" their awareness, researching options and packing kids' lunches with wholesome treats kids love to eat.
A recent Snack Survey by Nestle Raisinets found that 80 percent of parents include fruit in their kids' lunches, but 50 percent of kids usually trade that item for candy, cookies or other treats. So, how can parents be sure they're giving their kids more nutritious snacks that they would rather eat than trade away? Following are some creative ideas for parents packing their kids' lunches:
Include dried fruits-such as apricots, pineapples, plums and raisins-they're easy to pack, can be eaten on-the-go, and can provide kids with a good source of iron, potassium, and vitamin A. Best of all, they're foods that kids already love to eat.
For chocolate-loving kids, parents can provide a better snack alternative, such as Nestle Raisinets; milk chocolate-covered raisins which have 30 percent less fat than other leading candy brands. Chocolate-covered raisins pass the most important test-kids love the taste and won't trade it on the school "blacktop" during lunchtime. In fact, according to the Snack Survey, Raisinets ranked No. 2 (second only to cookies) as a preferred snack kids won't trade.
Involve kids not only in shopping-using the opportunity to teach them about nutrition-but also in preparing their packed lunches. If kids help, they will take pride in their own creations and be less likely to trade their lunch items.
Incorporate low-fat ingredients into your kids' favorite dishes or create exciting new snacks. Cover a whole-wheat English muffin with a slice of low-fat cheese and some tomato sauce to create a healthy mini-pizza. Or, instead of a sandwich, stuff a whole-wheat pita with salad greens and grated cheese. Also, an unusual, fun treat is "ants on a log"-fill celery sticks with low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter, then dot with milk chocolate-covered raisins.
Dip it! Give kids pretzel sticks and bite-size pieces of raw vegetables to dip in low-fat yogurt or peanut butter.
Mix it! Another idea is to create a sweet treat kids can help parents prepare and that is sure to be a huge hit at lunchtime. A good example is the following Trail Mix recipe with milk chocolate-covered raisins, pretzels, marshmallows, and dried fruit teamed up to create a tasty take-along snack.
(Prep Time: 10 minutes)
2 cups Nestle Raisinets
2 cups small pretzel twists
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1 cup coarsely chopped dried apples
COMBINE Nestle Raisinets, pretzels, marshmallows, raisins, apricots and apples in large bowl.