When your kids come home from school, chances are they’re hungry. With some students eating lunch as early as 10:30 a.m., it can be hard to find snacks with the right balance of filling and light so that it won’t spoil their dinner, all while trying to stay healthy.
Whether they go to an after school care, participate in a sport, or come straight home, they will need something to munch on. Since making these snacks might seem like just another thing to add to your list of things to do, you can get the kids involved and teach them how to make these 10 fun and easy snacks.
According to Baycare, packing your own snack is the best way to ensure that your kids are getting the nutrients they need in a snack. Teaching your kids portion control while you show them how to make their snacks is key. Use a baggie or container that they cannot over-fill so that when they do make their own snacks, they aren’t sneaking in a lot extra that can spoil their dinner.
Some great snacks that can help kids learn portion control are:
1. Dry roasted or raw nuts, or even wasabi peas. These can give kids the protein they are craving, and will give your kids something to munch on for a while. Get Zip-Lock bags in the size of your choice and teach your kids how to fill them.
2. Banana Chips. All you have to do is cut a banana into slices and bake on 200 degrees F until they are golden. They will harden at room temperature.
3. Trail Mix, like this one from Dr. Cesar Lara. Your kids can make this one themselves in their own baggies. Simply mix healthy cereal with walnuts and your child’s favorite dried fruit. You can serve it cold or bake it for a few minutes in the oven.
Figure Out Timing and Make a List
A lot of times, kids will be hungry and you will give them a small snack, like say, popcorn, without considering that dinner will be at 6:30 instead of 5 that evening. So try to make sure that you are giving your kids the right snack for the time of day. KidsHealth.org recommends making a chart or a list of dinner times and times your kids are getting home from school. They also recommend keeping instructions for making certain snacks on the chart, so that your child can look at the chart, figure out which snack is appropriate, and then make themselves the snack.
Some great snacks that kids can make to tide them over for longer than usual are:
4. A Whole Wheat Quesadilla. Simply get a whole wheat tortilla and sprinkle some cheese onto it. Microwave it for a few seconds, and top it with salsa. Older kids will love this because it is easy and fast to make.
5. Chicken Salad on Crackers. This one will involve a little bit more preparation, but it is great if you have chicken leftovers or even egg salad leftovers. Simply put the chicken salad on a whole wheat cracker and it will keep your kids from being hungry again before dinner time.
Some good light snacks for when your family will eat within an hour or so of your kids getting home from school are:
6. Frozen Grapes. All you have to do is put seedless grapes into the freezer. When they freeze, they will have the consistency of a Popsicle, so they are a great light and healthy snack.
7. Light popcorn. Popcorn, without butter and salt added, can be a healthy alternative to chips or other snacks that might have empty calories. Light or plain popcorn will give your kids something to munch on that will not fill them up too much.
Kids don’t like to have the same exact snack every day. So get creative. You can make snacks that are in the shapes of their favorite things, and letting them make their snacks into fun shapes can give your kids an activity and an outlet to be creative. Making creative and fun snacks doesn’t have to be hard either, it can be easier than making a sandwich.
Some fun creative and easy snacks are:
8. Cracker Spiders, like these from Dr. Cesar Lara. Simply take two crackers and attach them with peanut butter, and then attach pretzel stick legs in between the two crackers, the peanut butter will hold them in. Add raisins for eyes and you have a spider!
9. Racecar Apples. All you have to do is cut apples into wedges and use toothpicks to attach small round kiwi fruit or marshmallows for wheels.
10. Banana Butterflies. Cut a banana into two pieces and stick two small pretzels into either side. You can create eyes with raisins and add carrot strips as antennae.
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