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Live Well. Eat Well.

Snacks on the Go

This time of year finds families scrambling into the chaotic fall school sport schedules. In addition to making sure your young athletes have the necessary sport gear, it is also important that you make sure they are fueled up for their game or match. Many young athletes have nothing to eat from their 11:00 lunch time until after the game or practice. This leaves them hungry and not able to play up to their potential. How can you avoid the drive-through?

As with many stressful situations this can be handled with a little organization. Plan ahead. What can you pack that requires little prep and is still safe and nutritious? Instead of the standard granola bar—that may be nutrient void—or the bag of chips that most certainly is---try one of these suggestions.

Make your own snack mix of dried fruit, whole grain cereal, unsalted nuts and pretzels. Mix up a large batch and then put a serving (1/2 cup) into a snack bag. According to the USDA's children should have 1 ½ -2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily. An after school snack is the perfect opportunity to get more fruits and veggies into your child's diet. Fresh fruit requires no refrigeration and is the perfect energy source for a game or workout. You could also send cut up carrots and celery with some peanut butter for a protein packed energy boost. My favorite recipe, included at the end of this article, using the super food pumpkin, is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Just mix it up the night before, toss it into a lunch box with a stay cool pack along with some whole grain crackers, cut up fruit and or veggies and it will disappear! So, breathe deeply the crisp fall air, enjoy your children and tame the chaos with some simple steps toward good health.

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dip

-¾ cup canned pumpkin

-¾ cup peanut butter

-1-4 Tbsp. brown sugar, to taste

-1 tsp. vanilla

  1. 1. Mix peanut butter and brown sugar.
  2. 2. Add vanilla and stir.
  3. 3. Add pumpkin and stir until well blended.
  4. 4. Serve with graham crackers, bread, apple slices, celery sticks, etc.

Nutrition Facts (per 1 Tablespoon) - Calories50~ fat2.5g~ calories from fat20~ sodium25mg~ total carbohydrate7g~ fiber0g ~total 40 TBS

This post come from Mary Liz Wright, the Nutrition and Wellness Educator serving the counties of Clark, Crawford and Edgar. Wright's expertise is in food preservation, food safety, school gardens, school wellness, and communication/demonstration. Wright is the host of a series of cooking videos, "What's Cooking with Mary Liz Wright" featured on the U of I Extension website,, under the Youtube icon.