Frugal, Nutritious Snacks for Children

by Cyndi Roberts

Lately, there has been a lot in the news concerning obesity in America. And not just in adults--our children are overweight, also.
It's not surprising, considering the advertising dollars that are spent each year aimed at persuading children that potato chips, candy bars and other "junk food" are good for them.

While we may not be able to change the world, we can change what is available to our children in our own homes.

Here are a few healthy alternatives to those fat and sugar laden "store-bought" snacks.

Please note that snacks and foods containing honey, nuts or popcorn are not recommended for children under 2 years of age.

Quick Nutritious Snacks for Kids
>Peanut Butter Balls
1/2 cup peanut butter 1/2 cup honey 1 cup toasted wheat germ 1 tablespoons powdered milk
Mix ingredients well, shape into balls. Roll in coconut if desired. Store in refrigerator.

>Popcorn is a great snack food. It is a good source of fiber and low in calories--until you add toppings. Don't add salt, but try sprinkling grated Parmesan or American cheese on top.
Zipper top bags of popcorn are handy for taking along on picnics and other outings.

>Honey "Cracker Jacks"
6 tablespoons honey 1/4 cup butter or margarine 6 cups popped popcorn 1 cup peanuts
Melt honey and butter in microwave until melted and blended. Let cool. Mix peanuts and popcorn; pour honey mixture over and stir till coated. Spread in single layer in shallow baking pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Stir several times during baking. Watch closely so it doesn't burn.
Store in airtight container.

>Apricot Nectar
Soak 1/2 cup dried apricots in 2 cups of pineapple juice for about 1 hour. Process in blender till smooth.

>Fruity Soda Drink
Combine equal amounts of carbonated water with fruit juice. Sweeten with honey, if desired.

>Banana Smoothie
1 1/4 cups milk 1 banana 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Process in blender till smooth. This is a good way to use up bananas.
With summer coming up, frozen snacks will be on our grocery lists. Why not try these alternatives?

>Homemade Frozen Pops
1 6-oz. can frozen juice concentrate, softened try orange, grape, or fruit punch 1 juice can water 2 containers of plain yogurt popsicle sticks and cups
Process in blender. Pour into cups and insert sticks. Freeze.
Small paper cups work pretty well as molds for these recipes.

>Make Your Own Pudding Pops
1 small pkg. instant pudding mix--any flavor 1 3/4 cup lowfat milk
Mix as directed on package. Once again, pour into molds and add sticks. Freeze.
These ideas should help feed those hungry kids on these warm spring and summer days!

Could it be a mistake that "STRESSSED" is "DESSERTS" spelled backwards? Cyndi Roberts is the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter "1 Frugal Friend 2 Another", bringing you practical, money-saving tips, recipes and ideas. Visit her online at
http://www.cynroberts.com to subscribe and receive the Free e-course, "Taming the Monster Grocery Bill."