By Kelly Zimmerhanzel, FoodCorps Service Member
Eating healthy can be hard, or at least, that’s what you may think. With new diets and superfoods appearing faster than I can keep track, it can seem impossible to keep up with what is “good for you” this week. When you look at the beautiful, complicated, and expensive health foods featured on Instagram, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and decide that you don’t have the time or money to eat healthy. But eating well doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, it’s so easy a second grader can do it.
This month, two of my second grade classes at Bowe and Lambert-Lavoie learned how to build a healthy snack. The formula is simple: combine a whole grain, protein, and fruit or vegetable. I used Life Lab’s Go, Grow, Glow framework to explain to the kids how each of these ingredients help our bodies in distinct ways. Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that help our bodies Go, meaning they give us long-lasting energy to do things like running, jumping, and dancing. Foods with protein help our bodies Grow tall and strong, because proteins are the building blocks of bone and muscle. Fruits and vegetables make our bodies literally Glow because they contain vitamins and minerals that keep us healthy, giving us clear skin, shiny hair, and bright eyes.
For the whole grain component, we used Triscuits because, unlike many other packaged crackers, which have preservatives and added sugars, Triscuts are made with just three simple ingredients: whole grain wheat, vegetable oil, and salt. For the protein, we used Vanilla Spice Sunflower Seed Butter from 88 Acres, a bakery located in Boston that makes locally-sourced, allergen-free foods. Sunflower seed butter is a great alternative for kids with peanut or almond allergies, and can be found at most grocery stores. For the fruit or vegetable component, we used bananas because they’re cheap and wholesome, with tons of potassium and B vitamins. The kids loved the snack, especially the bananas, much to my delight.
That’s it, three simple ingredients: a whole grain, protein, and fruit or vegetable, and you’ve made yourself a healthy snack. The best part is, you can get creative with whatever you have around the house. Have some yogurt? Toss in some granola and berries. A little cheddar cheese? Put it on a cracker with a slice of apple. The combinations are practically endless. So next time you or your kids want a snack, remember the Go, Glow, Grow method.
The ChicopeeFRESH team is a group of creative individuals who are working to feed Chicopee students healthy, local and FRESH foods each day.