I hope you’re enjoying and benefitting from our back-to-school week! The conversation over on Facebook has been fun too.
Today, we’re focusing on After-School Snacks!
The challenge with snacks is a real one – feeding your kiddos when they are hungry with a wholesome snack, that also leaves room for dinner! There are lots of ways to accomplish this, it just takes some simple foresight & planning.
How we make it happen:
- Create a snack basket/drawer
- We have a snack drawer where we keep our snack items. This drawer helps us know what kinds of good snack choices to make based on what’s available. Snacks are parsed out into serving sizes too, which helps portion control & cut down on crumbs when the snacks are consumed.
- Create a snack bin in the fridge
- Similarly, we have a snack bin in the fridge with pre-cut fruits and veggies, yogurt, cheese and more.
- Cook & prepare snacks with your kids on the weekend
- Preparing healthy snacks takes a little time to do, but engage your family in the process. You can make the snacks and have your kids help pack them. Or, if the kids are old enough, have them help you make the snacks.
Recipes for Success
1) Fruits & Veggies
Veggies and fruits are the best place to go for a snack because they are filled with vitamins and minerals. The challenge can be, making them appealing! Of course, you can do fresh fruits & veggies, or canned ones too, but here are some ideas to get you thinking outside the box when it comes to snacks.
Try dried fruit paired with a whole grain (we love pretzels & dried cherries, craisins and granola, dried pineapple and wheat thins). Serve applesauce with craisins & granola – tastes just like apple crisp! Or, broil some grapefruit. Yum.
Serve veggies pureed as a spread or dip. Enjoy homemade pickles, or steamed veggies alongside a yummy dip. How about a smoothie? Or, berry sauce with granola over yogurt? We also love chips – DIY apple chips, zucchini, kale and potato (or sweet potato) chips are always a hit.
We recommend: Fruit leather, Dried Fruit, Fruit Kabobs, Spinach Dip, Kale Chips, Green Bean Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Zucchini Chips, Crust-less Apple Pie, Cinnamon Apples, Broccomole Dip, Roasted Red Pepper Dip, Spinach Dip, Berry Parfait, Berry Smoothie, Spiced Country Applesauce & Zucchini Melts.
2) Whole Grains
Whole grains are healthy & filling. Swap the boxed variety with DIY options.
We Recommend: Popcorn, DIY Cheese Crackers, Herbed Butter Crackers, DIY Wheat Thins, Soft Pretzels, Honey Whole Wheat Bagels with cream cheese, Pumpkin Spice Bagels, Granola, Chex Mix, Whole Wheat Crackers, Ranch Crackers, Whole Wheat Toast with Cottage Cheese, or Jelly (or a peanut butter if allergies are not an issue).
Having protein after school is a great idea and can easily be added to snacks with whole grains and fruits. Cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and beans are easy ways to add protein without centering around meat.
We recommend: Hardboiled Eggs, Cottage Cheese, Cheese & Crackers or Pretzels, Yogurt, Black Bean Dip, Broccomole Dip, Lightened Up Texas Caviar, Zucchini Carrot & Black Bean Quesadillas, Deviled Eggs &
4) Healthy “Sweets”
Surely, we all love a sweet snack – try a snack that bring in a hint of sweetness, without being a dessert like a whole wheat quick bread of muffin, granola bar or healthy cookies.
We recommend: Trail Mix, Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars, Baked Apples, Soft-Baked Cherry Chocolate Oat Cookies, Apple Cinnamon Brown Rice Krispie Treats, Crunchy Granola Bars, Sugared Popcorn (or Honey Butter Popcorn – recipe soon!),
Continued: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars, Raspberry Dark Chocolate Oat Bars, Berry Banana Muffins, Blueberry Cornmeal Cookies, Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Orange Cranberry Muffins, Sweet Potato Dark Chocolate Chip Cranberry Bread, Oatmeal Cookie Muffins, Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins, & Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread.
4) Sweet Treats
Sometimes, you just want a sweet treat, more like a dessert. These still have the potential to be healthy, and certainly are healthier than the store-purchased variety. Think cold treats, like popsicles & frozen yogurt. Or, desserts that use fruits or veggies as their main ingredient – like a granola crisp, apple pockets or carrot bars.
You may also want to try a healthy cookie or dessert bar, for special occasions.
We recommend: Orange Pineapple Sherbet, Raspberry Fro-Yo, Berry Fro-Yo (no machine required!), Vanilla pudding, Apple Cinnamon Spice Ice Cream, Pumpkin Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Ice Cream, Black Bean Brownies, Healthy Oatmeal Cookies, Whole Wheat Pumpkin Gingersnaps, Apple Fruit Juice Cobbler, & Granola Crisp.
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Be sure to join us tomorrow for a special edition of Friday Favorite Finds – where you will get a chance to link up your favorite recipes for the school year. They can be lunch, breakfast, dinner or snack ideas – ones you have made, or one’s you have tried!
Saturday, we’ll conclude the series with weeknight dinners in a pinch.