Summer is coming to an end and school will be starting before we know it. Are you ready to handle the after-school snack attack?
When kids come home from school, they want something good to eat and they want it now! Make sure your kids are getting a nutritious snack by making the healthy choice the easy choice. The following tips can help you create after-school snacks that your kids will be excited to come home and eat.
• Wash and pre-cut fruits and vegetables: Kids are more likely to grab ready-to-eat foods after school than to prepare something. If you have the watermelon cut and ready to go, it is more likely to be eaten for a snack than if the kids had to cut it on their own.
• Pre-portion snack foods: Use small Tupperware containers or plastic baggies to make your own 100-calorie snacks. You can label each bag with a child’s name. This makes a quick grab-and-go snack for busy families.
• Try pairing fresh fruit and vegetables with low-fat cheese. According to the Midwest Dairy Council, cheese may help children eat more fruits and vegetables when paired together! Plus, cheese provides our bodies with a high-quality protein as well as calcium and phosphorus.
• Keep fresh produce in a bowl on the counter instead of in the refrigerator or in a cabinet. If food is kept in sight, it is more likely to be eaten. Remember the phrase “out of sight, out of mind.” You can also have a spot in the refrigerator designated for snacks that need to be kept cold. That way your kids will always know to cheek that spot when looking for a snack.
• Try making a healthy snack like the ones below with your kids on a night you are not as busy, so it is ready for after school the following day. Kids are more likely to eat something (even something healthy) if they were able to help make it.
All you need:
3 firm, ripe medium bananas
12 craft sticks
Assorted coatings, such as chopped nuts, crushed graham crackers, shredded coconut, oats,
granola, dried fruit, crumbled cookies, candy sprinkles, etc.
Assorted spreads, such as yogurt, peanut butter, almond butter, melted dark chocolate, etc.
(if using dark chocolate melt 12 ounces chocolate with 1 tablespoon canola oil to create a hard shell when frozen)
All you do:
1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.
2. Peel bananas; cut each banana into four chunks. Insert a craft stick into each banana chunk. Set on prepared baking sheet. Freeze, uncovered, for 15 to 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile place each desired topping option in a separate shallow dish. Any desired spreads such a yogurt or chocolate that are runny should also be placed in a dish as well.
4. Remove banana pops from the freezer. Coat one banana at a time with desired spread using a knife or dipping the banana in runnier spreads. If desired, roll each coated banana in desired coating. Place banana pops back on baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour more.
5. Store banana pops in a freeze-proof container for up to 1 week. Before serving, place banana pops in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to soften before eating.
Modified from: Hy-Vee Seasons
Rainbow Fruit and Cheese Kabobs
All you need:
6 (8-inch or longer) plastic straws or skewers
6 oz. Monterey cheese, cut into 18 cubes
½ c. halved strawberries
½ c. ¾-inch-cubed cantaloupe
½ c. ¾-inch-cubed pineapple
1 kiwifruit, peeled and cut into 6 pieces
¼ c. blueberries
6 purple grapes
All you do:
1. Thread onto a straw or skewer a piece of cheese, a strawberry half, a cantaloupe cube, a pineapple cube, another piece of cheese, a piece of kiwi, 2 blueberries, a grape and another piece of cheese.
2. Repeat step 1 with remaining straws or skewers.