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SMART Snacking For the Back-to-School Snack Attack

  1. By Dawn Blocklinger, RD, LDN, Hy-Vee

    Anew school year will officially begin. Children, teachers, and parents alike are excited for the learning, challenges, and fun in the upcoming year. Learning is fueled by healthy meals and snacks. The SMART snacking tips below help parents teach kids healthy habits at a young age and sets them up to successfully care for themselves as adults.

    S: Structure
    Plan to make snacks a part of the daily routine. Set a specific snack time, plan the foods you will serve at snack and stick to it! When kids know and trust that a snack will be served at roughly the same time every afternoon, they are less likely to snack casually throughout the afternoon or make impulsive choices to satisfy their hunger.

    M: MyPlate
    According to MyPlate, fruits and veggies should make up half your plate at meals, but the same goal applies to snacks as well! Plan snacks that pair fruits or veggies with foods kids already like. Some ideas include:


  • String cheese + grapes
  • Hummus + baby carrots + whole grain crackers
  • Yogurt + sliced banana + granola
  • Zucchini Muffins + low-fat milk


A: Attitude
Kids need nutrition to fuel their growing bodies and minds. Teach kids that snacking helps provide the energy and nutrients their bodies need. Model this attitude for kids by caring for yourself with a healthy snack too!

R: Roles
Parents and kids each have important jobs at snack time. Parents decide what, when and where the snack will be. Kids choose if they will eat the snack and how much they will eat. Keeping these roles allows kids to try new foods, enjoy favorite foods and provides the energy and nutrients their bodies need.

T: Try It!
Gently encourage kids to try new foods by serving one at snack time. Pair new foods with a kid’s favorites (like a different cheese with a favorite cracker) and be patient. You may have to serve a new food a few times before kids will even try it, but persistence will pay off!

These tips are not just for kids; adults benefit from healthy snacking too. Kids who see their parents modeling SMART snacking habits are more likely to become SMART snackers themselves. What better time to start a new routine than with the start of school? Be SMART when making choices to satisfy your back-to-school snack attack.

For more information, contact Dawn Blocklinger, RD, LDN, John Deere Road Hy-Vee, Moline, IL  at 309-757-1085.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Zucchini Muffins
Makes: 24 servings

All You Need:
Hy-Vee nonstick cooking spray
1-½ cups Hy-Vee all-purpose flour
¾ cup almond flour
1 cup packed Hy-Vee brown sugar
¾ cup oat or wheat bran
3 tbsp. chia or flax seeds
2 tsp. Hy-Vee baking soda
1 tsp. Hy-Vee baking powder
1 tsp. Hy-Vee ground cinnamon
2 Hy-Vee large eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup buttermilk
¹/³ cup Hy-Vee cinnamon applesauce
2 tsp. Hy-Vee vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini, drained (about 2 medium)
Chopped Hy-Vee walnuts, optional

All You Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly coat mini muffin pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, oat bran, chia seeds, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon; set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, applesauce and vanilla. Stir in zucchini, mixing just until combined. Stir in flour mixture just until combined. Do not over-stir.
  4. Spoon 1 tbsp. or batter into each muffin cup. If desired, top with walnuts. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove muffins to a wire rack. Cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: 110 calories; 3 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g trans); 15 mg cholesterol; 150 mg sodium; 20 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 3 g protein.

Source: Hy-Vee 2014 Back-to-school Seasons