As much as we may not want to think about it, it’s that time of year again – back-to-school time! Yikes! This summer has gone way too fast for me. Nevertheless, ready or not, it’s time to prepare. You might think procuring school supplies or back-to-school shopping is hard, but for me, the hard part is coming up with appealing, healthy after-school snack ideas!
My kids are starving when they get home, so I like to offer something to hold them over until dinner time. Unfortunately, they get tired of the same old thing day after day, so I try to get creative. These are my tips for some easy but great after-school snacks:
Keep prepared supplies of their favorite proteins – If you know they love deli ham, then that’s easy, but it’s also easy to grill some extra chicken or add some extra beans when you’re preparing dinner one night too. This is the stepping off point for most snacks in our home.
Know what flavor profiles they always say yes to – Pizza and pasta are easy go-to's that my kids will always eat. Tacos and quesadillas are another way to spice things up, and my family loves Mexican food!
Keep plenty of fruits and veggies on hand that you know they like – Put those together with some hummus or peanut butter, and you have a tasty snack that will keep them going until dinner.
Don’t overdo carbs – Crackers, chips, and pretzels are okay in moderation, but kids really need protein for energy and for a longer-lasting feeling of being satisfied.
Sugary drinks aren’t needed – I offer water rather than soda or juice. If they’re completely opposed, try flavoring with fresh fruit or healthy drink mixes.
With these basic “building blocks,” putting together after-school snacks that I feel good about feeding my kids is a snap. Below are a list of ideas; but don’t forget to check out the recipe section of our website to jump-start your creativity:
Individual pizzas using whole wheat flat bread or even English Muffins as the crust. (Tip: our Calabrian Pepper & Sweet Tomato Fennel Spread makes a great pizza sauce!)
Quesadillas using whole wheat tortillas are always a big hit, and almost any protein goes great with cheese and salsa. Add beans for extra protein or make it vegetarian by omitting meat and using only beans. The possibilities are infinite.
Carrots and Celery with hummus or peanut butter.
A Kids Charcutier Platter is a fun change of pace for the kiddos. Put piles of the meats they like along with their favorite cheeses, fruits, veggies, pickles, etc. on a cheese board or other fun plate. Add something to dip in like ranch or Italian dressing and some whole wheat crackers and let them make their own tasty combinations.
We’d love to hear any ideas you have for snacks! Let us know in the comments.