Oh, what foods these morsels be.
After hours spent snowboarding, skiing, sledding, or just building a monster snowman, Scouts know their grumbling stomachs will be shouting, “Feed me!” But when it’s time for a snack, don’t load them up with junk food. Give them a healthy treat as well as a quick energy boost. Here are five snack choices that might surprise you. Think of them as “who knew?” foods. For example, who knew that some brands have shed jerky’s bad reputation and gone healthy and all natural? Who knew that the chocolate milk you loved as a kid works as a perfect after-workout drink? Read on and learn all about the new thinking that’ll keep your Scouts going strong.
Sure, many traditional versions are full of additives and fake flavors. But you’ll find a whole new line of jerkies out there—organic or all natural—made with lean beef. Look for the low-sodium (MSG, sodium nitrate) and chemical-free brands. Trader Joe’s offers beef, turkey, and bison jerky, and check out the nitrate-, hormone-, antibiotic-, and steroid-free products fromamericangrassfedbeef.com, or the buffalo, elk, beef, and even salmon samplers from garywest.com.
It’s the snack food highest in fiber and heart-protective antioxidants, according to a new study at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Plain popcorn has the least fat, but if you crave butter, choose a “light butter” variety (the full butter kind can have more fat than potato chips). For flavor and texture, our suggestions include Orville Redenbacher’s Light Butter or Act II Light Butter.
Toss that container of yogurt into the freezer before going out, and later on you’ll enjoy a cold, creamy snack that has more calcium, protein, and potassium than ice cream. Even if you think you don’t like yogurt, eating it frozen might change your mind. Use the blended varieties like Yoplait Whips (in a variety of flavors such as the new Chocolate Mousse Style), not the ones with fruit on the bottom.
Your Cub Scouts will love the taste, sure, but it’s not just for the younger guys anymore. Experts are calling chocolate milk “the new sports drink.” Why? One study at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., in 2009 found that drinking low-fat chocolate milk after a workout helps athletes’ muscles recover faster. The mix of high-quality protein, as well as minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, does the trick. Get your boys to chug down a glass of reduced-fat chocolate milk after an afternoon of wintry activities, or heat up a cup for an energy-boosting substitute for the more fattening hot cocoa. Everybody has a favorite brand.
Peanuts contain so much protein that the government puts them in the same category as meat on the USDA food pyramid. All that protein helps fight off hunger after exercise. Smear some PB on apple slices or whole-grain crackers for crunch, if you’re at home. For a day on the trail, get a couple of the reusable squeeze tubes available at outdoors stores like REI. Also, check out Smucker’s Natural or Skippy Natural because they don’t have hydrogenated oil.
WHAT ONE EXPERT SAYS
When figuring out a healthy snack, Detroit dietitian Bethany Thayer says to remember the Rule of Two: “Try to include two different food groups,” she says. For example: A bowl of cereal and milk, or cheese and a piece of fruit, or peanut butter on wheat bread.
Thayer, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says she’s also a big fan of chocolate milk for active guys. “Calcium is important for Scouts’ bones. We’re seeing lower levels of calcium in boys as well as girls, and chocolate milk is an easy, good-tasting way to add some to your diet.”