School is back in session, routines are in place, and my kid’s appetite seem to quadruple. I’ll be honest, I gave into the laziness of Summer and slacked in the ‘snacking’ department these past few months. Mostly because my kitchen was under a complete renovation, and not having a schedule that we needed to adhere to, I sort of let my kids eat whenever they wanted. While my kids are not in full-time school yet, my oldest attends Pre-K for 3 hours a day at our neighborhood Elementary school. He’s in the afternoon session, which is nice that I don’t have to take him to school early in the morning, but the time frame makes for a funky eating schedule. He’s home by 2:20pm, and is typically ‘starving’, at least in his words. I started by giving my kids fairly filling snacks, but realized quickly that this prevented them from eating good at dinner time, and then they’d be hungry again at bed time. Now I try providing snacks that satiate their hungry, but don’t keep them too full for dinner in a couple hours.
Like most kids, my kids love to help in the kitchen, and this usually adds more work for me, but if I can combine an activity and provide a meal at the same time, I’m all for it! Having kids help prepare their food is a great way for them to explore food, and get excited for what they are eating. Learning how to use different kitchen gadgets is also good for developing fine motor skills. My kids are under 5 years, so I supervise and assist them with food prepping, but if your kids are older, this is a great way for them to learn to be more independent in the kitchen.
To kick start our year of better snacking, I found some recipes that can help add some variety and fun to your after school snack game. These snacks are easy enough for kids to make either with a little or no help, depending on their age.
- Avocado Cream Cheese Sandwich– 3 Ingredients (Bread, Avocado, & Cream Cheese) Easy to make and the healthy Avocado fat helps keep kids full. I’ve also made a variation with hummus instead of cream cheese, equally delicious!
- English Muffin Pizza– 4 Ingredients (English Muffin, Jarred Pizza Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, & Mini Pepperoni) These are the perfect size pizza for an after school snack, and I love that 1 muffin makes 2 pizzas. Kids love making pizza, and you can swap out the topping for whatever protein or veggie you have on hand. I also make these in the toaster oven to avoid using the oven and heat up the house.
- Nutella Banana Bite– These are perfect for a sweet tooth craving, but still provide some nutritional value with fruit. You can also use peanut butter instead of Nutella to make it less sweet, but just as satisfying!
- Froyo Bites– 2 Ingredients (Vanilla Yogurt & fruit) Instead of sugary ice cream or popsicles, have your kids help make these easy froyo bites. My son loves strawberries, so we use them instead of raspberries, but any berry or soft fruit would work for this. These do require at least 6 hours of freezing, so be sure to make them ahead of time to enjoy after school. If you don’t have a mini ice mold, you can place the mixture in a piping bag and squeeze small disc onto parchment paper and freeze that way.
- Fruit Pizza Crackers– 3 Ingredients (Crackers, Cream Cheese, & Fruit) These can be customized with any fruit that your kids prefer. You could also substitute yogurt or peanut butter instead of cream cheese for the base. This is a fun dessert pizza to make with kids and they’ll love eating it too!
Time to get snacking! What are some of your favorite after school snacks?