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After School Snacks

When students come home hungry, keep the learning going by teaching them about healthy eating habits.

Kelly, our Registered Dietitian, shows some simple snacks that will fill your kids up and keep them from added sugars, sodium, and preservatives.

Ants on a Log

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 celery stalks, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • Peanut Butter
  • Raisins
Instructions:
  1. Spread peanut butter over celery and place raisins on peanut butter.

Snail Snacks

Ingredients:
  • 1-2 celery stalks, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • Peanut Butter
  • 1 apple, sliced thinly
  • pretzels, broken into pieces
Instructions:
  1. Spread peanut butter over celery and press an apple slice into peanut butter.
  2. Place pretzel pieces at the end of the celery in the peanut butter, so they look like snail antennas.

Trail Mix

Ingredients:
  • 1 cups cereal
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup granola
  • 3/4 cup raisins
Instructions:
  1. Mix together and enjoy!
The best thing about this recipe is that it is completely customizable based on what you and your family like. This recipe contains 4 ingredients, but feel free to add multiple kinds of cereal or several dried fruits. If your child has a nut allergy or doesn’t like raisins, feel free to make the trail mix they will most enjoy by adding their favorite snacks.

Trail Mix Tips

Here’s a break down of different trail mix components and what each item will add to your snack. Happy mixing!

Nuts

  • Nuts are loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Whether they’re raw or roasted, go for unsalted, unsweetened nuts to keep sugar and sodium under control.
  • Our healthy favorites: Almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts. Higher-calorie macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, and pine nuts are also good options in moderation.

Seeds

  • Seeds provide many of the same nutritional benefits as nuts.
  • Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, or hemp seeds in trail mix for an extra boost of nutrients.

Dried Fruit

  • This sugary treat can easily become a danger, so pay attention to the ingredient list and serving sizes. In moderation, dried fruit can be a great source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.
  • Look for dried fruit options with as little added sugar and preservatives as possible. It’s also pretty easy to make your own dried fruit at home in the oven.
  • Our Favorites: Dried apples, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, raisins, banana chips, and pineapple chunks.

Grains

  • Add some complex carbohydrates to your custom blend for extra fiber, which boosts overall energy and helps to keep you full.
  • Choose whole grains whenever possible and avoid highly processed cereals that add unnecessary sugar and sodium.
  • Shredded wheat cereal, pretzels, whole-grain cereals like Cheerios or Chex, bran flakes, granola, toasted oats, puffed rice cereal, and air-popped popcorn can all add a little bit of crunch.

Sweets

  • Sometimes we all need a little something sweet to round out the mix. Just remember to add treat-like options sparingly. Add a sprinkling of M&Ms, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, or chocolate-covered nuts. Choose dark varieties for extra antioxidants.

Savory Extras

  • Once the building blocks are all set, adding spices is a great way to change up the flavor a bit. Season lightly with sea salt, curry, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or cayenne pepper.

Combinations

  • Simple and Sophisticated: Almonds, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips, sea salt, cinnamon.
  • Old-School GORP: Peanuts, raisins, M&Ms.
  • Tropical Mix: Cashews, Brazil nuts, dried mango, coconut flakes, banana chips.
  • Fall Flavors: Pecans, dried apples, maple granola, pumpkin seeds, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  • Savory Seeds: Almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper.
  • Beachy: Macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, dried pineapple, coconut flakes.
  • Nuts for Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, pecans, raisins.
  • Chocolate Lover: Hazelnuts, dried cranberries, chocolate-covered almonds, M&Ms, cacao nibs.
  • Monkey Munch: Banana chips, peanuts, almonds, dark chocolate chips, raisins, coconut flakes.
  • Movie Night: Popcorn, peanuts, M&Ms, dried cranberries.

Kids always come home from school with an appetite, so make sure they have healthy options to choose from to keep their minds and bodies in shape for this school year.

Jennings School District Food Pantry

We’re just a few weeks away from school being back in session for kids throughout the bi-state region. With that in mind, I thought it would be good to take a look at a program that we’re very proud of here at the Foodbank – the Jennings School District food pantry. The pantry directly impacts the issue of childhood hunger in an area that desperately needs it.

Kids under the age of 18 make up the largest percentage of those in need of food assistance from the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Here are some quick facts about the pantry:

Last school year, the Foodbank distributed 48,085 lbs through the school pantry in the Jennings School District. Of this, 36,990 was fresh produce (nearly 77 percent).

Any family with a child enrolled in the district is welcome to utilize this resource. Most have been referred through interaction with a school social worker, and Student Services has also distributed flyers throughout the district. The families have expressed to administration their gratitude regarding the comfort that find in knowing that they have an extremely accessible resource to help them feed their families.

The Jennings Educational Training School (JETS) students have taken ownership of the project, and their hard work and determination has been perhaps the most significant factor in the success of the agency. The pantry provided a sense of responsibility to students, and they are committed to the agency’s operations.

The distribution mechanism was designed by students, and they staff the agency during open hours. The client places an order with a student, who then relays the message to other students who fill the order. This is done in a way that allows the client privacy and dignity. After the order has been assembled, if needed, students are available to assist the client to their vehicle with their items. This method employs the “Client Choice” model of distribution, which the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s agency relations staff recognizes as a best practice.

JETS has forged a partnership with the Jackie Joyner Kersee Foundation to bring a Farmer’s Market to the Jennings Community during summer months. This program allows clients to receive fresh produce through redemption of their SNAP benefits, and allows more clients to have access to food through the food pantry. While this program is still in its infancy, the Jennings School District is demonstrating a commitment to providing supplemental food sources to needy families year-round.

Mr. Leon Hite is going to assume a leadership role and act as the liaison between the Foodbank and the school district. Mr. Hite is the head of security for the district, and will serve as a positive role model and leader for the students that volunteer with the program.