5 Healthy (and Fun) After-School Snacks
By Sydney Hill
The kids walk through the door. They're hungry. Typical. Why not have a snack that makes both mom and child happy? These do not take a lot of time, and it will be a memorable tradition that they will be able to look back on and share.
1) Ladybug apples
Looking for some ideas, I asked my mother (as many of us probably do; they are an ultimate encyclopedia) what she had. She gave me this one and I fell in love with it.
Slice washed apples in half. Cut out the core. Place raisins on the backs of the apples using peanut butter. Stick two pretzels in the top of the apple and top each pretzel with a raisin. These make the antennae. What a healthy treat easy enough for parent or child to create!
2) Banana pops
I had a class of sixth-graders who were wary of this tasty treat at first. How could a healthy snack be cool? They took one bite and their pride melted away. They kept coming back and couldn't get enough.
Simply dip half a banana in yogurt (with a popsicle stick on one end) and freeze it. You can roll the banana in nuts or sprinkles for added variety. If you prefer, you can also cut the banana into bite-sized pieces and dip those. Once frozen, it's ready to eat. Simple and fun.
3) Ants on a log
This is a classic snack that never seems to get old. However, it's never bad to spice things up and change some ingredients. Use Craisins and have red ants on a log. Use cream cheese for ants on a snowy log. I'm sure you and the kids can get pretty creative on this one.
Wash celery and cut the stalks into three-inch pieces. Spread peanut butter in the crevice and line the top with raisins for ants.
4) Mystery Trail-mix (or smoothie)
Before school each day, have each child write on a slip of paper an ingredient to add to a trail mix (or smoothie). This works well with multiple children. You could have a list of things to choose from, rules of how healthy it needs to be, etc. but this would be up to you. At the end of the day, have a mixture of all the different requested items out in a bowl. Everyone's happy.
If there are not enough children for ingredients, you could have the child roll a die multiple times (with each number matching up to a specific ingredient). The result is the same. You have a mixed-up mystery masterpiece.
Some ideas for ingredients are pretzels, goldfish, dried fruit, flavored cereal, jerky pieces, nuts, and granola. Obviously, the possibilities are endless. This game would never get old. You could even add ingredients to go with the holidays (apricots and raisins for Halloween to get those orange and black colors).
5) Pearrot Talk
This snack is probably the easiest, yet the most memorable of all.
Have a bowl of pears washed and ready to eat, but tie a folded note onto the stem of each one, with the child's name on the front. The child will know which one is theirs (and if their name is on it, they are more likely to eat it), and they will have a thoughtful note written by you. It could talk about your love, how grateful you are for them, their great qualities, or how proud you are. You could ask questions and invite them to respond. This can create good quality one-on-one time. Who knew snacks could improve family memories?... And who knew pears could talk?
You may not always have time to prepare snacks like these, but even if you just have a bowl of fruit or vegetables washed and ready to eat, the kids will be more likely to eat them. They're looking for something quick and easy, and if there are some carrots sitting in a bowl or some apples sliced and ready to go, it's easier for them to eat those healthy foods.
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Apple-Ladybug-Treats/Detail.aspx Banana pop
http://hostedmedia.reimanpub.com/TOH/Images/Photos/37/exps26786_QC860871D31B.jpg Ants on a log
http://familytimesmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/med103954_0908_ant_log_l.jpg Trail Mix (separate ingredients)
http://keepyourdietreal.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/IMG_5076w.jpg Trail mix (mixed)