Hungry kids will grab the first thing they see when they walk in the front door. No matter if your student is a cute little 8 year-old, or a full-grown 20 year-old, when classes are over they always seem to be starving. To keep them from gravitating towards that bag of chips or box of cookies, it is important to have better snacks on hand.
There is a multi-million dollar industry that produces convenience foods aimed towards kids. Most of them are loaded with sugar and salt, but they are convenient…and cute, have nice packaging, and look fun to eat. Usually though, the best after-school snacks are the most basic; fruit, veggies, dairy, grains and a little protein.
Most fruits can be grabbed right out of the bowl or fridge and devoured as is. You can also prep fruits and veggies; if the fruit has to be cut ahead of time, it can be soaked in a bowl of water with either lemon juice or Fruit Fresh to keep the fruit from turning brown (it works wonders on apples, pears, bananas, peaches, etc.) then drained and placed in the fridge. Veggies can be sliced and diced ahead of time and placed in the fridge with a few ice cubes.
Yogurt, cheese, and milk are all easy snacks as well. And who says that cereal is only for breakfast? Granola is great eaten by the handful, in a bowl with milk, or as a parfait with yogurt. Crackers and cheese, sandwiches, and wraps are also filling and satisfying. Pepperidge Farm has a bread called Deli Flats and I like to use the honey wheat variety for peanut butter sandwiches.
Figuring that dinner will follow a few hours after snack time, I tried to keep these snacks small, quick and easy. You can use cookie cutters for an interesting twist, ranch dip or peanut butter to dress up celery and carrots, and small sticks to make fruit kebabs. The cookie cutters and kebab sticks are not necessary, but they do make food fun. Challenge your kids to come up with some fun and healthy snacks and they will be more willing to eat them. Enjoy
1. Cucumber hair, black seedless grape eyes
carrot nose and a big ranch dressing smile (make a slit in each cucumber ring so that you can easily link them)
2. Ritz crackers, co-jack and mozzarella cheese cut-outs
celery with peanut butter and cherry tomatoes
3. Pepperidge Farm Deli Flats with peanut butter
apple, banana, and black seedless grape kebabs
4. Cucumber flowers, baby carrot slices, Keebler Toasteds crackers
mozzarella cheese chunks and cherry tomato halves.