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Make your own healthy school snacks

One of the most effective ways to encourage nutritious eating in children is for the whole family to make adjustments in their eating habits and the kinds of foods that fill the refrigerator and cabinets. Eating healthy isn’t just for back-to-school time!

A terrific resource for both kids and their parents is Get Kids in Action (www.getkidsinaction.org), a Web site developed by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Gatorade that is loaded with interactive tools designed to help kids read labels, learn healthy food habits and more. I highly recommend it.

And for those who want to make their own meals and snacks, here are two great lower-calorie recipes that you can prepare with your kids.

Homemade Lower-Sugar Peanut Butter
This peanut butter, created by celebrity chef Michel Nischan, contains 24 percent less carbohydrates and 65 percent less sugars as compared to a traditional store bought full-sugar peanut butter. It contains 185 calories per serving, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 1.2 grams of sugars and 16 grams of fat.

4 cups shelled roasted peanuts1 teaspoon sea salt1/4 cup Splenda sweetener1/3 cup grapeseed oil

Combine the peanuts, salt and Splenda in a food processor. Run until nuts are finely ground. Slowly add the grapeseed oil until smooth (or desired consistency).

Homemade Strawberry Jam This jam, created by another celebrity chef, Hans Rockenwagner, contains 70 percent fewer carbohydrates and 83 percent fewer sugars as compared to a traditional store-bought strawberry jam. It contains 10 calories per serving, 1 gram of sugar and zero fat.

1 1/2 pounds fresh strawberries2 cups Splenda sweetener4 tablespoons no-sugar pectin1 whole lime (juice and grated peel)

Hull strawberries and cut in half, place in a stainless steel saucepan. Combine Splenda and pectin in a small mixing bowl, add to strawberries and toss until coated. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat and simmer 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lime peel and juice. Chill, keep covered.

Phil Lempert is food editor of the “Today” show. He welcomes questions and comments, which can be sent to

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