Fill the long gap between lunch and dinner with these well rounded, tasty after-school snacks that will give kids all the energy they need for playing, studying, chores, and more!
Hummus With Pita Chips and Veggies
Store-bought hummus is a great option for a quick healthy snack. Serve it with pita chips (Stacy’s brand is my pick) or veggies (baby carrots, sliced cucumber, and snap peas work well) for protein and flavor without a ton of fat.
Peanut Butter and Greek Yogurt Dip w/ Apples
Who doesn’t love apples and peanut butter? Unfortunately, peanut butter, while high in protein, is also very fat and calorie-dense. Keep the protein – and the flavor – with this simple dip. Mix a small container (5 or 6 ounces) of vanilla Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt is thicker and has more protein than regular yogurt) with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Serve with apple slices (makes two servings).
English Muffin Pizzas
This snack is based on one that I loved to make for myself as a child. Simply toast the English muffins, and then sprinkle with a little shredded cheese and your favorite pizza toppings. Microwave just until the cheese is melted. My favorite combo? Cheddar cheese and sliced black olives!
Baked Corn Tortilla Chips and Salsa
Love tortilla chips but hate fried stuff? I came up with these chips when I was looking for a way around deep-fried, pre-packaged snacks, and found that I love them even more than the bagged variety!
To make them: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly brush corn tortillas on both sides with vegetable oil using a silicone pastry brush and sprinkle lightly with salt (optional, but highly recommended). Cut the tortillas into 6 or 8 wedges and arrange in one layer on a cookie sheet. Bake the tortillas wedges for 3-4 minutes, turn, and bake for about 2 minutes more. Watch them closely so they don’t get too brown. Serve right away or let them cool and store in a Ziploc bag for up to a week. Serve with your favorite jarred salsa, or make your own!
Mini Corndog Muffins
I found these delightful little treats at the site Iowa Girl Eats while searching for Super bowl snacks back in January. Let me tell you, these are even better than they look! The original recipe (view it here) calls for cornbread batter made from scratch, but I made a shortcut version using Jiffy mix! Simply prepare the cornbread mix according to the package directions and fill a mini muffin tin about half full. Cut your cooked hot dogs (Vegetarian? Use meatless dogs!) into 1-inch pieces and press a piece into each cup. Bake at 375 for 8-12 minutes. Serve. Receive compliments. Feign modesty. Enjoy with healthy ketchup.
Choosing healthy beverages for kids can be difficult. While water or milk (dairy or non-dairy) is best, they can get a little monotonous. Juice (even all-natural, 100% juice) is very high in sugar. And soda? Ugh. Don’t even get me started. That’s where juice spritzers come in. These natural juice and sparkling water blends are fizzy, flavorful, and typically contain less sugar than regular juice. Unfortunately, prepackaged versions can do some serious damage to your wallet. Make your own instead!
For one serving:
½ cup 100% juice (no juice cocktails!)
½ cup club soda or sparkling water
Combine the juice and club soda or sparkling water in a glass for a natural, fizzy drink with half the sugar of juice!
Recommended varieties: Welch’s 100% Grape Juice, Ocean Spray 100% Juice Cranberry, Ocean Spray 100% Juice Ruby Red Grapefruit, Tree Top 100% Apple Juice
Check out part 1 of my ‘Back to School’ series here, and tune in for part 3 tomorrow!