Article written by Natalie Sehi (firstname.lastname@example.org), Nebraska Extension SNAP-Ed/EFNEP Educator
When you are on the go, eating healthy can be challenging. To help your family make healthier choices, offer a selection of healthy options and let children choose their favorites. By making their own wrap, sandwich, taco, pizza, trail mix or parfait, children are more likely to eat the healthy food.
Make whole grain granola recipe below to take on the go. It can be used as a trail mix, eaten with milk, or used to make a yogurt parfait. Yogurt parfaits are great for kids to make on their own for a snack, meal or as a dessert. They do not require an oven or microwave, and can be tailored to individual preferences by layering their favorite yogurt, fruits and crunchy toppings. Here are a few tips for making a yogurt parfait:
- Vary the yogurt types and flavors based on your family's preference. Choose plain or flavored, low-fat or non-fat yogurt with the goal of aligning with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans which recommends less than 10% of daily calories coming from added sugar.
- Offer 3-4 types of fruit, and let your children choose at least two. Fruit can be fresh, frozen, canned or dried.
- If you do not have granola, top the parfait with whole grain cereal or nuts instead.
- Granola may be hard for young children to chew. If serving a parfait to young children, consider laying only fruit and yogurt in a parfait, and/or choosing a whole grain cereal instead to avoid a choking hazard.
Crunchy Whole Grain Granola
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup 100% apple juice
2 ½ cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 cup cereal, crunchy nugget
3/4 cup dried fruit
1 cup almonds or sunflower seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
- Wash hands with soap and water. Combine brown sugar and apple juice in a large nonstick skillet. Cook over medium high heat three minutes, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the sugar mixture. Cook five minutes or until granola is lightly browned, stirring frequently. Cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container up to two weeks.
Makes 12 servings. Each serving contains 192 calories, 5 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 126 mg sodium, 36 g total carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 20 g sugars, 4 g protein.
- Let children help make granola by measuring the ingredients. Older children and youth can help stir the ingredients together on the stove. Be sure to watch them and teach them to carefully hold the handle of the pan when stirring. Once granola is cool, children can help transfer the granola to an airtight container and can help with cleaning up.
- To save money and reduce food waste, purchase the oatmeal, dried fruit and nuts/seeds, in smaller amounts from the bulk foods section of your local grocery store.
- Use sunflower or pumpkin seeds in place of nuts.
- Make with your favorite dried fruit. Dried cranberries, dried cherries, raisins, and dried apricots all work well.
Source of recipe: Nebraska Extension's Nutrition Education Program. Source of photos: Craig Chandler, Director of Photography, UNL Office of University Communications
- 2015-2020 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services.
- Yen Li Chu, Anna Farmer, Christina Fung, Stefan Kuhle, Kate E Storey, Paul J Veugelers. Involvement in home meal preparation is associated with food preference and self-efficacy among Canadian children. Public Health Nutrition, 2012; 1 DOI: 10.1017/S1368980012001218