By: Susan Jackson, County Extension Agent, Family & Consumer Science
A well-chosen snack can boost energy and brainpower and be helpful in managing weight and health.
Many prepackaged foods, marketed as snack foods, may not fill the bill. Nutritionist generally favors fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and crackers, dairy foods and even leftovers over a majority of pre-packaged snack foods that often are high in sugar and fat and short on nutritional benefits.
Healthy snacks are typically nutrient dense, meaning that they offer concentrated nutritional benefits in relation to the calorie count.
Children need regularly planned snacks because their stomachs are small and they simply are not likely to eat enough at mealtime to carry them through to the next meal. A planned snack also can be helpful for adults, whose energy level may dip at mid-morning or afternoon.
When planned to complement meals, rather than replace them, such a snack typically takes the edge off the appetite and reduces the temptation to overeat at the next meal. Plan to choose snack foods from two food groups that complement each other, such as whole grain crackers and milk or fruit and cheese.
Children typically fall short in comparison to the United States Department of Agriculture’s dietary recommendations for calcium-rich dairy foods, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Since the same also is generally true for adults, choosing these foods as snack foods can boost overall nutrition and health
Popcorn is a healthy whole grain snack. The key is to watch portion size.
Here is Dalaina Shutte’s recipe for Cinnamon Candy Popcorn that won the Champion 4-H Foods Snack at the Harvey County Fair. Dalaina is a member of the Halstead 4-H Club.
Cinnamon Candy Popcorn
8 quarts popcorn, popped
1 cup butter, cubed
½ Cup light corn syrup
1 package of Red-Hot candies
Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside. In a large saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, and candies and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat. Bake at 2500 F for
1 hour stirring, every 15 minutes. ENJOY!