The Mediterranean diet is healthier. Italians live longer then almost the entire rest of the world. Can we learn from them? I think so. In Italy caregivers including mothers, fathers, grandparents, babysitters, daycare and schools traditionally offer healthier alternatives to their children as snacks. Here are some more healthy snack ideas for your children. The next time your younger or older child asks for a snack, think of offering these:
1. A chunk of fresh parmigiana reggiana cheese
This cheese is not only tasty to the palate but good for you. It is full of calcium, has no preservatives, no additives, no colorings and is easy to wrap up and place in a backpack. Make sure you purchase one that is real parmigiano reggiano and not aged more then 24 months. I have found with my kids, the fresher it is, the more they like it.
2. Some fresh vegetables and olive oil dip (carrots, celery, tomatoes, radishes, fennel to name a few).
Wash vegetables well and cut in bite size pieces. Each child can have his/her own dipping cup with olive oil and/or bit of salt. Presentation with children is everything. Children love having their own dipping small cup. The smaller the cup the better. I use an espresso cup and each person gets his/her own.
3. A slice of home made with little sugar "ciambella" cake.
You can and should make this at home where you can judge how much sugar to use. You can store this cake for days and use it as a snack. I will provide the recipe in a future blog post.
4. A piece of crunchy focaccia (little or no sugar) in a variety of ways: plain, with cheese, with raisins and walnuts.
It makes a great healthy snack that children love. If you happen to visit a bakery in Italy in the early morning hours (before school starts) you will see cues of mothers, fathers, grandparents with their children waiting to get their focaccia for their child's school snack. You however can make this at home and store it for many days. I will provide the recipe in a future blog post.
5. Some pear slices with pecorino cheese wedge and honey.
My chlldren adore this snack and it is easy and healthy. Wash and peel pear. Cut in slices and place on serving plate. Alternate pear slices with pecorino cheese wedge. Sprinkle honey across top of both pear and cheese. You can use any favorite cheese you like. I also adorn the plate with crumbled walnuts.
Usually in Italy, children are given water and not juices, sport drinks or colas to accompany not only their snacks but also their meals. The rule of thumb is simple and healthy. Buon appetito.
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