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Healthy Now: Healthy Chex Mix a simple snack for the kids

It appears someone has picked the Craisins out of this healthy Chex Mix ... still, it is packed full of good stuff.

It appears someone has picked the Craisins out of this healthy Chex Mix ... still, it is packed full of good stuff.

A few weeks ago, TDRPD fitness club member Leslie Fansler, a third-grade teacher at Truckee Elementary, suggested we address healthy school snacks in one of our weekly columns.

Great idea! I’m sure if parents are tired of seeing their kids’ hands glow in the dark due to Cheetos dust, their teachers must be feeling a similar sentiment.

At the TDRPD Butterfly Preschool located on site at the rec’ center, the classroom snack platters are laden with healthy fare, so this seemed a good place to start our information gathering.

Their recommends: apples cut into very small wedges, cheese slices, pretzels, carrot sticks, Craisins as opposed to raisins (they’re sweeter), and hummus dip, to name a few endorsed items.

Of course, there are always the good old Cheerios and Goldfish standbys, but what about protein, so necessary to support growing bodies and brain function?

Your child would have to eat a cup of Cheerios — that means about half of what is on the floor of your car’s backseat — to get three grams of protein.

Curiously, the answer to the truly inviting healthy snack food came from the bridge club which meets weekly at the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District community rec’ center at 8924 Donner Pass Road.

They brought a bridge mix (of course) to our staff as a Christmas gift and it was not only out of this world, but nutritious to boot.

Basically it starts as your standard Chex mix, but is fortified with cashews, almonds, Craisins and more. In the old days we used to make this mix using butter, salt and sugar. That was before leggings became a wardrobe staple. Now we make it using olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning salt and a pinch of garlic powder.

So good it might turn up at the Community Swimming Pool snack bar this summer. Meanwhile, make up a huge batch for your household and send your children back to school ready and able with nutrition. Mrs. Fansler will be so happy.

Healthy Chex Mix Ingredients:

3 cups Corn Chex

3 cups Rice Chex

3 cups Wheat Chex

1 cup salted peanuts

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup Craisins

1/2 cashews (roasted or raw)

1 cup mini pretzels or pretzel sticks

4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees and coat two 15×10-inch baking pans with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl combine all except Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients, whisk together and then pour over cereal mixture.

Toss to coat and then pour onto baking pans. Spread out cereal/nut mixture in pans so it cooks through. Bake for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes. Cool completely and then store in airtight containers.

The Healthy Now column — formerly called “Healthy for the Holidays” — comes courtesy of Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District staff and members, celebrating health and fitness in the Sierra. For more information on how you can stay in shape during the winter months, visit tdrpd.org.