T'is that time of the year when kids go back to school (and parents celebrate a little)! When they come dashing into the kitchen after a long day at school, here are some healthy snack ideas to keep the little ones properly fueled.
1. Baby carrot sticks with hummus dip
Baby carrots are a healthy combo with hummus. Whether it's store-bought or home made hummus, this snack is high in fiber and protein, low in fat. Everything a little body needs to grow strong!
2. Fruit kebabs
I love this easy way to serve fruit. It's colorful and easy for the little ones to eat too. Use thin wooden skewers to hold a variety of small or cut-up fruit like strawberries, melons, grapes, blueberries, and even cherry tomatoes. Your little ones will love this colorful, healthy snack.
3. English muffin pizza
This little snack packs a protein punch and allows you to sneak in some veggies as toppings. I like to keep a stash of English muffins in my freezer handy. Defrost them in the microwave (a few seconds should do the trick). Then, top them with a spoonful of marinara sauce, shredded cheese, ham and even diced broccoli or mushrooms - whatever you have on hand. They can be baked in a toaster oven or in a regular oven at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese melts. Best of all, your kids can help to assemble their own pizza.
4. Ricotta cheese cup
Instead of a regular yogurt cup, try making a ricotta cheese cup for a taste of Italy. Drizzle with local honey and top with fruit. Yum.
5. Fruit smoothie
Making your own fruit smoothie is fun! I use naturally sweet fruit like bananas and berries, and add extra protein, like yogurt or peanut butter. Finally, I use skim milk (or a non-dairy milk) as a base instead of ice cubes, for a thicker shake-like consistency. But feel free to make it to your taste. With ready-to-use bags of frozen fruit in my freezer - frozen mangoes, frozen blueberries and strawberries - this snack is a breeze to make!
6. Cottage cheese and fruit
As a lover of cottage cheese myself, I think it's vastly under-rated! It packs a protein punch and is creamy and delish! Not exciting enough for ya? Try jazzing it up with fruit or even cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper.
7. Ham roll-ups
Start with a warm flour tortilla (a few seconds in the microwave should do the trick). Layer on thin deli ham and sliced cheese. Roll and slice like a sushi roll. Easy-peasy!
8. Homemade trail mix
We all have our favorite bits and pieces in trail mix - some people like the roasted almonds while others prefer the raisins. Why not have your children make their own custom-blend trail mix that they can snack on whenever they want? A delicious trail mix has a balance of sweet and salty, chewy and crunchy. Try these healthy ingredients: dried fruit (eg. cranberries, raisins, apricots, cherries), roasted nuts (eg. pecans, walnuts, almonds), roasted seeds (eg. sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds). Finally, some dark chocolate chunks can add a welcomed touch of decadence and delight.
9. Apple nut dippers
Plain apple slices can be boring. But add a side of nut butter and the apple slices become yummy, protein-packed dippers! Better still, this snack is fast and easy. It can be prepped in 1 minute and 20 seconds flat - trust me, I've timed this.
10. Milk kefir
Sometimes, our children are just in too much of a hurry to sit down and eat. In that case, try a glass of milk kefir. Like yogurt, kefir is a healthful dairy product made from cultured milk. They are both good sources of protein and high in calcium, potassium and B-vitamins, while each offers a unique blend of beneficial gut bacteria.
Now that the kids are taken care of, it's time for you to kick back and relax. Check out our Tartly cocktails for a grown-up beverage you can enjoy... hopefully in peace!