(BPT) - As the school year begins, some parents may find that the most chaotic time of the day is around 3 p.m. when class is dismissed and the juggling act of homework, soccer practice and piano lessons begins. With so much going on, it's important to keep kids energized and focused by providing them with healthy snacks packed with key nutrients such as vitamins E, D, B12 and omega-3s.
'The key to making the most of snack time is having an arsenal of healthy foods in your house, which you can mix and match to create a variety of nutritious snacks,' says Registered Dietitian Tammy Lakatos Shames. 'For instance, I always stock my refrigerator with Eggland's Best eggs because they are a versatile ingredient and contain more nutrients than ordinary eggs, such as three times the amount of vitamin B12. Many picky eaters fall short of this important nutrient since it is only found in animal products.'
Tammy recommends the following tips for snacking success during the school year:
* Wholesome baked goods: If your kids have a sweet tooth, try serving them a baked good that includes wholesome veggies. Muffins are a portable snack that can be nutritionally enhanced with healthy, unexpected ingredients like carrots and zucchini. Carrots are a good source of vitamin C and zucchini is a good source of vitamin A, both will help build your child's immune system.
* Protein power: Protein can prevent peaks and valleys in your child's energy levels and is a great way to curb your child's hunger. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend children consume 13-34 grams of protein per day, depending on their age. Some great sources of lean protein include nuts, low sodium deli meats and eggs. Spread almond butter on apple slices to give your child an extra source of protein before soccer practice.
* Portion control: Today, kids are trending toward three snacks a day so it's important to keep snacks between 50 and 100 calories each. Egg Salad Stuffed Tomato Cradles are a great snack to serve before dinner and will help keep your kids focused during homework. Tammy recommends using fortified eggs like Eggland's Best because one large EB egg is just 60 calories. Plus, EB eggs contain double the omega-3s, which is a nutrient that has been linked to fighting everything from ADHD to asthma in kids.
Egg Salad Stuffed Tomato Cradles
4 Eggland's Best eggs, hard-cooked
1 1/2 tablespoon avocado
2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt, ideally organic
2 teaspoons dijonnaise
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Salt to taste, optional
4 tomatoes on the vine
Place avocado in a medium bowl with yogurt, dijonnaise and lemon juice and mash together with a fork. Mash until creamy throughout. Chop eggs and stir them gently in the yogurt mixture. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Set aside in refrigerator. Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Leaving a 1/2-inch shell, scoop out the pulp. (Reserve the pulp for adding to salads, topping sandwiches or adding to omelets.)