A nutritious snack can be a smart way to provide kids with the energy needed for busy days — and the right snack may also help them maintain a healthy weight.

“Choosing nutrient-rich snacks can be a great way to maintain energy between meals,” says Sherry Coleman Collins, registered dietitian.

For example, peanuts can provide a welcome alternative to sugar and nutrient-deficient snacks. Preliminary research ­suggests that peanuts may help people feel full, which may help moderate appetite. Peanuts are a nutrient-rich superfood. They contain the most protein of any nut at seven grams per serving, and have more antioxidants than broccoli or green tea. Peanut butter is a good source of vitamin E and an excellent source of niacin, an essential vitamin that converts food to energy, both of which are important for proper growth and development. Try this tasty recipe!

Get-Up-and-Go Peanut Crunch Bars

Ingredients

2 cups GoLean Cereal (or other high-fiber cereal)
4 oz. peanuts, dry roasted w/salt, all types
1⁄4 cup cranberries, sweetened, dried
1⁄4 cup blueberries, dried
1⁄3 cup honey, strained or extracted
1⁄4 cup peanut butter, smooth
1 Tbsp. brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp. peanut flour, defatted (optional)

Preparation

Prepare an 8” square dish by lightly spraying with nonstick spray or lining with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix cereal with peanuts, cranberries and blueberries and set aside. Stir together honey, peanut butter, brown sugar and peanut flour (if using) in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until the mixture is combined and pourable. All at once, add honey and peanut butter mixture to dry ingredients, stirring quickly to combine. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan, pressing into the pan with a silicone or lightly oiled spatula, and let cool completely. Once set up, turn out on a cutting board and cut into 12 equal-sized bars.

For more information, visit www.skinnyonnuts.com.

*Recipe and image courtesy of NAPS.*