Memorial Day and family reunions go together like stars and strips. Generations gather and typically at some point during the dinner someone’s casual comment stirs emotions into a heated debate. So it was at our family dinner when my cousin commented on the difficulty of finding a variety of healthy snacks for her children to bring to school.

“So send unhealthy ones,” was one response to wave away the ensuing debate. But conscientious parents can’t. “The future of our American school children depends on what they nibble at school!” was the cry by some at our family’s dinner table. Childhood obesity is rising right here in our schools. Heart disease and diabetes stalk our little ones. In response, school boards are barring the door to empty calories. The era of birthday cupcakes is passed. Any snack a child brings to school must not exceed strict limits on sugar and fat. And, (the kicker)…the parents are required to supply this nutritious, daily snack for their children’s class. The mother of three at our reunion admitted stress over continually checking snack bag labels for sugar and fat content.

Concerned over her concern, the older generation at the dinner table said, “So don’t send snacks. We never had snacks in school. That’s the cause of obesity, -all that school snacking.”

“But the children need snacks during the day,” the younger generation defended. “They can’t think well if they’re hungry. Because of school lunch schedules, some classes don’t eat lunch until 12:30, so those children need a morning snack. The classes that have to eat lunch at 10:45 need an afternoon snack. We want them to learn and be healthy and nutritionists say it’s best to eat many small meals throughout the day!”

“Argh, we learned and we had three square meals a day,” continued the over-seventy crowd. Continue reading for the rest of the debate and an easy recipe for make-ahead, baked cheese snacks that kids can take to school.

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