September marks the return to routine. Back to school means back to making lunches, and with that comes a lot of decision making! Do you pack what is healthy for you and your family? Do you choose to include the treats your children are asking for? Is there a common ground everyone can agree on, snacks that are healthy and taste good? Bringing lunch and healthy snacks to work is a great way to maintain or lose weight, control blood sugars, blood pressure and cholesterol and, not to forget, save money.

While most packaged foods are high in sugar, fat and sodium there are some snacks that are not as bad as others. Of course, the best types of snacks are the ones you make yourself! But our fast-paced lives does always allow for time for home-made snacks.

To give you some inspiration, here is a list of healthy snacks to either buy in the store or make at home. Try our homemade carrot and zucchini muffin recipe, store them in the freezer and take them to work as a delicious snack.

Health-ier Snacks:

  • Mary’s Crackers – small crunchy crackers that are full of flax and sesame seeds. They taste great on their own or with some cheese slices, turkey or tuna
  • Veggie Sticks – Don’t be fooled, these are not actual vegetables. But if you are choosing a salt, crunchy snack for your kids or yourself, these are better than regular chips.
  • Crispy Peas – Again, don’t be fooled. These are not a peas, but they do have some fibre in them and are more nutritious than regular potato chips
  • Made Good Granola Bars – These new granola bars are lower in sugar and higher in fibre than regular granola bars. They are also come in packages of small clusters in flavours like banana chocolate chip which children love
  • Cheese strings – Pack these with an ice pack so they don’t get warm and mushy and children are more likely to eat them
  • Applesauce pouches – Make sure you choose unsweetened applesauce. Maybe it’s the way this apple sauce comes but children seem to like sucking the apple sauce right out of the pouches.
  • Homemade trail mix – Mixing together some dried cereals (Corn Bran, Oat squares, cheerios) with some raisins, nuts and a few chocolate chips makes for a healthier trail mix
  • Popcorn – Don’t forget about popcorn! Plain, lightly salted popcorn is a healthier snack that everyone enjoys. There are lots of brands out there like Skinny Pop that makes a great product. Pop your own popcorn for the healthiest option
  • Veggies with mini hummus or guacamole or yogurt tzatziki – Cut up carrots, cucumbers, celery, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower and fill small containers up with hummus or guacamole. You can even buy mini individual containers at some stores
  • President’s Choice Alphabet Pretzels – These pretzels are always such as hit with kids because not only are they eating a health-ier snack, they can practice the alphabet at the same time

Don’t forget your simple combinations: hard-boiled egg and a vegetable juice, rice crackers with peanut or almond butter, yogurt with some blueberries or a fruit with a glass of milk.

RECIPE: Carrot Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup safflower oil
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 large zucchini, grated
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1.   Preheat oven to 350.
  2.   Spray one or two mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
  3.   In a medium size bowl, mix dry ingredients together, except for chocolate chips.
  4.   In another medium-size bowl, mix oil, maple syrup, and eggs together.
  5.   Combine wet and dry ingredients.
  6.   Stir in grated carrot and zucchini.
  7.   Lightly stir in chocolate chips.
  8.   Fill muffin tin so each one is 3/4 full.
  9.   Bake 10 minutes. You can bake two mini muffin tins side by side at the same time.
  10.   Allow to cool before eating.

Muffins freeze extremely well once completely cool.
(Makes 48 mini muffins)

Nutritional Facts:
Calories (kcal) 48.5
Fat (g) 1.7
Saturated Fat (g) 0.8
Trans Fat (g) 0.0
Cholesterol (mg) 12.7
Sodium (mg) 45.3
Potassium (mg) 54.5
Carbohydrate (g) 7.2
Fibre (g) 0.8
Sugar (g) 2.2
Protein (g) 1.6

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