Get Smart About Snacking

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School bells are ringing, now is the time of  year  many families re-focus on healthier eating habits. Countless studies have shown the correlation between good nutrition and school performance, but smart eating isn't just about meals; it applies to snack time, too.

Nutrition is a leading consideration when it comes to kids' snacking, according to a survey* conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Mini Babybel cheese. As much as 60 percent of parents see teaching kids how to eat healthy as one of their most important roles when choosing a snack. Another leading factor in snack selection: supplementing meals with added nutrients.

Get an early start on better nutrition and save lunch and snack time with these lessons your kids will love to learn:

  • Say OK to vegging out. It may not be the type of "vegging" they have in mind, but keeping a wide array of vegetables on hand will encourage kids to nosh on more nutritious foods at lunch time. Whether it's slicing cucumber into fun shapes or serving traditional ants on a log, try amping up the fun with veggies for added kid appeal.
  • Turn up the hands-on fun. Show kids that it's OK to eat with your hands. Some of the most delicious and nutritious portable snacks come in hands-on packages. For example, little ones can delight in tugging on the signature pull tab of Mini Babybel's red-wax-wrapped packaging to reveal a delicious and nutritious treat. Individually portioned, it is easy to pack, making it a convenient option for family snack time and lunches, too.
  • Go in for the dunk. Score big with picky eaters or kids reluctant to try new foods by introducing snacks they can dunk. Fruits and veggies alike taste great when paired with low-fat yogurt-based dips. Try strawberries with a simple vanilla yogurt and experiment with flavors such as dill or southwest seasoning to make a zesty match for veggies. Other easy lunch options: hummus and guacamole, which you can make at home or buy already prepared.
  • Make a snack-time medley. Teach kids to appreciate the different flavors and textures nutritious foods offer by introducing some crunch with veggies, such as carrots or zucchini. Add a touch of sweetness with fresh melon or berries. Then round out the plate with a smooth, creamy cheese, such as one of Mini Babybel's 100 percent natural cheeses. "When I'm packing lunch or making a snack, I try and include fiber-rich carbohydrates and satiating protein," said Keri Gans, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of "The Small Change Diet." "Mini Babybel offers 4-6 grams of protein which will keep you and your little ones fuller longer, plus it makes lunch more delicious and fun to eat."
  • Set limits on sweets (and other junk food). It's simply not realistic to completely cut out sweet snacks and treats. In fact, most experts agree the occasional indulgence is perfectly OK. The trick is teaching kids about moderation. If you buy in bulk, portion out appropriate servings in a snack-size bag, or for items such as chips or cookies, save time with pre-packaged individual servings.

To find more delicious snacking and lunch time options the whole family can enjoy, visit