Eating well not only ensures the healthy growth and development of your girl’s body, but it also means that her brain stays sharp and strong throughout the day. Teach her to choose a lunch (whether bought at school or brought from home) that is balanced with whole grains, lean protein, and fresh fruit and vegetables. Scrap the sandwich and instead send sliced turkey, whole grain crackers, and cheese. Or make a protein plate of hard-boiled eggs and whole grain pita slices with peanut butter. Add fresh fruit and vegetables, and lunch is served!
These smart snacks will fuel your girl’s study power throughout the day. Start her day with these delicious Fruit & Granola Bars and welcome her home after school with a satisfying snack of Lemony Hummus and fresh veggies.
Hummus is a snap to make in a food processor. Try puréeing a roasted red pepper or drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes with the chickpeas for a tasty twist. Serve hummus with veggie sticks, pita chips, or mini pita breads.
Makes 6-8 servings
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup well-stirred
- tahini (sesame paste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Put the garlic, chickpeas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 6 tablespoons water in a food processor and cover. Process the mixture for 1 minute. Turn off the machine and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Replace the lid and purée again until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Add the tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice and blend for another minute. If the mixture is very thick, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, and process until well combined. Taste the hummus and blend in more salt if you think it needs it.
- Using the rubber spatula, scrape the hummus into a bowl. Serve right away or cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
fruit & granola bars
These granola bars taste way better than anything you can buy at the store. Substitute your favorite nuts and dried fruits for the ones listed below, but make sure the nuts you use are raw, not roasted or toasted, since they will cook in the oven.
Makes 16 bars
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking dish
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup raw whole almonds
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper, extending the paper up and over the sides on two sides. Butter the paper.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, combine the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Bake, stirring once or twice, just until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the currants and cranberries and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 3000F.
- In a small saucepan, combine the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Set the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is fully melted. Pour the mixture over the oat mixture and stir gently until evenly moistened. Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking dish and let cool slightly.
- Using dampened hands, press the mixture into an even layer. Bake until golden around the edges, about 20 minutes. Set the baking dish on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Using the parchment paper as handles, lift the granola out of the pan and place it directly on the rack. Let cool completely.
- Transfer the granola onto a cutting board. To cut the bars, make 3 evenly spaced lengthwise cuts and 3 evenly spaced crosswise cuts across the granola. Serve the bars right away or store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days.