Healthy snacks for students!

Q:Hi there, my name is _______ and I’m aiming to work on my master’s in nutrition. I’m volunteering in Dallas for 2nd-6th aged children. Do you have any suggestions for healthy mexican snacks?

A:Hi _________! Yes, I do and let me say first; yay for working with kids (I taught for 4 years) and yay for pursing a career in nutrition. Put both of those passions together and we are doing our part to help save a generation of sick and unhealthy kids! As far as the snacks go, you will have to set aside some time to prep and prepare. I did this too when teaching. I wasn’t paid to do it but I believed opening my kids eyes to real and wholesome food instead of packaged and modified food was better than pay! I sense this same philosophy with you! Here are my suggestion and things that worked in my class….totally affordable and doable!

1)Tangy potatoes: Slice enough potatoes so everyone can have 2 slices…I am guessing 8-10 potatoes. Boil them till they soften but not to where they disintegrate. Cool them over night in the fridge. Take them to class along with lemon, mexican oregano, chili powder, and tabasco and let the kids add spices to their potatoes!

2)Homemade popcorn party!! Students love this and I use mine at home all the time. The popcorn maker is $30 bucks at Target. Use organic popcorn kernels you buy from the bulk section, 1 lb is about 3 or 4 bucks! You can also bring mexican oregano, garlic salt, onion powder, and limes as seasoning.

3) Chalupas!! Easy chalupas that is! Chips OR Tostadas (with the least amount of artificial ingredients: HEB has some that have 4 ingredients.) A few cans of refried beans, nutritional yeast (again found in the bulk section–so much cheaper when you buy bulk and buy about a 1/3 lb–this replaces cheese (has cheesy flavor, vitamins, and minerals) and introduces your students to something they never knew about), chopped cilantro and chopped mixed greens, diced onions, sliced cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, and salsa. Prep all of this so when you are with the kids, you have bowls with different ingredients and they can make their own tostada or nacho. The trick is getting them to make their tostada as colorful as possible!

4) Rice and beans. Put on big pots of homemade rice and homemade beans. Bring fresh spinach, cilantro, onions, and red cabbage to decorate their rice and beans with. Have them lay spinach at the bottom of the bowl. Tell them the spinach is going to do a magic trick when they put hot beans and rice on it. Have them taste the spinach before and after! Let there be a class discussion about what happens to the spinach and use the board to tally which students did the magic trick!!

5) Fruit salad: apples, mangos, and strawberries with chili powder and lime juice on the side!

I hope this is helpful!! Also look into this series of videos that have class activities and student tool kits! http://www.nourishlife.org/teach/curriculum/

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