It’s a scene that plays out in many houses each afternoon: The kids come home from school and they are starving. Not just merely hungry, but absolutely famished and they want something to eat this very instant.
While it is tempting to reach for cookies, chips or ice cream to satisfy their munchies, with just five minutes of preparation you can give your kids a snack that you can feel good about serving.
Here are five quick and healthy ideas that you, and more importantly, your hungry kids, will love:
1. Not Just for Hikes: Set up a Trail Mix Bar
Trail mix is a popular snack, but too often it seems like you get too many peanuts and not enough dried pineapple. Tim Lymberopoulos, owner and founder of Fooducopia.com, suggests setting up a trail mix bar in your kitchen and letting your kids make their own trail mix.
Put out granola, nuts, dried fruits, and a few dark chocolate-covered raisins in small bowls and give each child a small bag to make their own variety of trail mix. “The more involved they are in making it, the more they’ll want to eat it,” said Lymberopoulos.
2. Let Them Dip: Fruit and Veggie Dippers
While many kids may balk at eating their veggies, a tasty dip often helps change their minds. Set out some colorful cut vegetables, such as broccoli, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes and give each child a serving size of their favorite dip, such as low-fat ranch, or make your own healthy veggie dip. To make the snack even more fun, make up silly names for the veggies, such as referring to the broccoli as trees, the carrots as torpedoes and the tomatoes as fire balls.
For some reason, eating food on a stick is just a lot of fun for both adults and kids. Put some strawberries, mandarin oranges and pineapple chunks on a kebab skewer and voila, you have a fruit kebab. You can also add two or three mini marshmallows to the kebab for a small treat. Be sure to cut off the sharp ends of the skewer so no one gets hurt. Let older kids make their own kebabs for added fun.
4. Build It, and They Will Eat: Cheese Cube and Pretzel Houses
For future engineers or any child who spends hours with their Legos, cheese houses will be a huge hit. Set out pre-cut cheese cubes and pretzel sticks and show your child how to push the pretzel sticks into the cheese to build their own snack. For younger children, you may need to poke the holes in the cheese for them to make it easier to build. You can even give your child sliced cucumbers to turn their creations into cars, or add ham cubes for variety. Who says you can’t play with your food?
5. Keep on Rolling: Peanut Butter and Banana Roll-ups
Crystal Matthews Jennings with Bodybuilding.com suggests spreading natural peanut butter on a whole wheat pita or soft tortilla and then placing sliced bananas on top. Roll up the wrap and then slice it into bite-sized pieces for little hands to easily eat. “This snack contains a great balance of healthy carbohydrates and fats,” said Jennings.
For those extra-crazy days where you don’t even have five extra minutes after school, you can make these snacks ahead of time and pull them out when the kids set down their back packs. And you can rest easily knowing that they are munching on a healthy snack.
We know you moms have your own secret quick and healthy recipes. Share them with all of us in the comments section below!