DALLAS — Kids come home from school ready to snack.
Too often, that means they’ll start grabbing chips, soda or cookies — the kind of high-fat, high-sugar foods that can start them on the road to childhood obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes.
And that’s why it’s so important to get them in the habit of making healthy choices, experts say. With that goal in mind, high school students from Frisco Independent School District’s Culinary Arts Program in Frisco, Texas, took on a challenge from Medical City Heart in Dallas and the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association to come up with healthy treats that kids can prepare for themselves.
That means they also had to be safe, fast and easy for kids to prepare. So the young chefs had to ply their creativity without burners, ovens, food processors or sharp knives, while meeting one quarter of a child’s daily calcium or fiber requirements, using low saturated fat or protein, and staying under a 450-calorie limit for each snack.
The judges were fifth-graders from Shawnee Trail Elementary in Frisco, who were each given three coupons to put in front of the three snacks they liked best out of eight offered.
The teen chefs, resplendent in their white aprons and tall chef hats, demonstrated how to prepare their snacks and offered samplings under the watchful eyes of Jennifer Gause, executive chef and director of the culinary arts program. Afterward, the very satisfied fifth-graders confessed the tough part was choosing favorites. “They were all delicious!” said Ariel Benzvi, 11.
Recipes for the top three snacks are also available on www.medicalcityheart.com and in the free Medical City Heart book, “City Heart,” which was published in February 2009. Here, we showcase the top five.
1. FRUIT SHISH-K-BOBS
By Jordan Molder, 17, and Alessandra Bernd, 17
Recipe: Cut 1/3 small banana into small pieces. Cut the green leaves off the top of 3 strawberries. Take a skewer and stick the banana, strawberries and three grapes on it, alternating fruit. Put 2 teaspoons Nutella in a zip-top bag. Mash it around until it’s soft and push it all to one of the corners at the bottom. Once most of it is in a corner, take your scissors and cut a small piece of the corner so you can squeeze it out on the fruit.
Per Serving: Calories 113; fat 4 g (1 g sat); no cholesterol; sodium 6 mg; fiber 2 g; carbohydrates 20 g; protein 1 g
2. MOON PIE
By Amanda Schneider, 17, Teresa Medrano, 18 and Nataly Mora, 17
Recipe: Spread 1 tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter thinly enough just to cover half a slice of very thin bread. Spread just enough marshmallow crème thinly enough to cover the second half slice of bread. Cut a quarter of an extra-small banana into little circles and place on the marshmallow crème. Top with the slice of bread with peanut butter.
Per Serving: Calories 241; fat 9 g; no cholesterol; sodium 125 mg; fiber 3 g; carbohydrates 37 g; protein 6 g
3. Ants in a Boat
By Don Nichols, 17
Recipe: Take an apple slice (about 1/8 of an apple) and stand it up on its peel. Spread 1 teaspoon peanut butter on top. Put 4 raisins on top of the peanut butter.
Per Serving: Calories 47; fat 3 g (1 g sat); no cholesterol; sodium 25 mg; fiber 1 g; carbohydrates 5 g; protein 1 g
4. BEAR ESSENTIALS
By Everardo Zamarron, 18, and Alex Munoz, 17
Recipe: Use a bear cookie cutter to cut two bear shapes out of two slices of bread. Cut a bear shape out of a yellow pepper. Put the bear-shaped yellow pepper on one slice of bread. Drizzle honey on it. Put two banana slices on the yellow pepper. Put two squirts of honey on it. Cover with second bear-shaped slice. Put two dots of honey on the bear. Put a chocolate chip on each dot. Use a straw to cut out two banana circles for the eyes and attach with honey.
Per Serving: Calories 229; fat 5 g (3 g sat); sodium 176 mg; fiber 8 g; carbohydrates 46 g; protein 6 g
5. APPLE CINNAMON GRAHAM CRISP
By Kendall Reding, 17, Madison Pritchett, 18 and Brandon Teplansky, 16
Recipe: Mix 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl with a spoon. Spread half on top of two graham crackers. Use two more graham crackers to make two sandwiches. Spread the peanut butter-cinnamon mix on top of the sandwiches. Cut an apple in six slices and remove the seeds. Dip apples in 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Layer the apples on top of the spread and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Per Serving: Calories 203; fat 10 g sat; no cholesterol; sodium 171 mg; fiber 4 g; carbohydrates 25 g; protein 50 g