Wednesday, July 23, 2008

3, 2, 1 Snacktivate!

As I was transferring diaper bags the other day, I pulled out a not-so-fresh bag of raisins from the bottom of one bag, along with about five packets of fruit snacks and a couple of granola bars. I tossed the raisins, but kept the other snacks with me because one thing is certain when you're out and about; H will be hungry.

When we first moved here and H had his first dental exam, they commented on his beautiful teeth and asked if he had fruit snacks, fruit roll-ups or other sugary, sticky snacks. I smugly replied that I, of course, had not allowed my cherub to ingest such things. They encouraged me to continue the denial of dental disasters and said to keep up the good work.

Weeeeell, this was all before I had been an at-home mom for any significant period of time. After attending several play-dates and lunches, it was clear that fruit snacks would be a part of our life, as it was not one of the battles I would be choosing.

Having quick, relatively healthy and convenient snacks has become an essential to our on the go lifestyle, so I was excited when I received an email from MomCentral about Snacktivate, a new snacking initiative from Kellogg. They have teamed up with family life expert Deb Geigis Berry and Registered Dietitian Rachel Brandeis to create a snack time experience that is healthy and fun. The basis of the initiative is that snack time should be taken advantage of as a time to teach your kids a little about being in the kitchen, preparing food, and making healthier decisions, while having a good time and expressing creativity.

I received a package in the mail, containing two full-sized boxes of Frosted Mini Wheats (a cereal that my family buys in bulk at BJ's because it's one of our faves), along with a recipe for a variation of peanut butter cookies using crushed mini wheats along with the dry ingredients and a further variation to make them into a fun craft; Sassy Sun Pops. The goody bag also had a snack cup which has a folding spoon and a bottom portion that you put in the freezer so it will keep your milk cold and you can mix it all together at your destination. This would have been oh-so-useful when I was working and taking my breakfast to work with me. At the time, I usually just ate the mini wheats dry as I sucked down my Starbucks stand-by; a Triple Venti Non-Fat Latte while strapped to the phones and computer. But I digress...

On the website there are twelve recipes, all of which are also fun craft activities to do with your kids. Depending on the age of your child, their level of hands-on involvement will vary. The site also provides a listing of approximate tasks that kids can help with given their age range. For my own little knitty household, a one-butt kitchen and carpet in the eating area narrows how much of the messy stuff H gets to help with, but I let him do as much as possible.

Last night, while H was eating dinner, I mixed up a batch of the Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies. H was ecstatic because he got to use the flat side of the meat tenderizer to crumble the mini-wheats in a quart-sized freezer solution to not having to dirty the blender or food processor. It's amazing what ingenuity comes from laziness, and H got to have fun as well.

While the recipe that I prepared would definitely be considered a treat, it's more healthy than standard chocolate chip cookies, or even the regular peanut butter cookies that wouldn't have the added fiber from the Mini Wheats. I was afraid they were going to end up really dry, from the mini wheats, but they turned out to be really yummy! H and J both gave their seal of approval as well.

I encourage you to take a look at the Snacktivate Recipe site and try a couple of them out. It's obviously going to be heavy on brand-power, as the recipes all use at least one product from the Kellogg's family; they are the company that created the site, after all, but it certainly provides a great jumping-off point to begin a healthy and fun tradition for snack time in your family. Keep in mind that in addition to the create-'em yourself projects, Kellogg has a host of portable snacks.

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